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Ellora’s Cave Exploring Possible e-Tailer Service

I read on Emily Veinglory’s blog today that there was a rumor that Ellora’s Cave is offering to serve as a distributor/etailer for other ePublishers. According to Patty Marks, CEO of Ellora’s Cave:

This is a potential business venture being considered by Jasmine- Jade Enterprises. When there are details to announce, we’ll do so. The hosting of other publishers’ titles would be non-exclusive – those publishers would continue to sell their books through their own website and any other channels they want (such as All Romance eBooks or Fictionwise, for example).

This is mostly a win for EC. It takes advantage of its existing readership and the brand it’s built up since 2001. It gets a royalty of 40%.   At that rate it’s possible that this royalty, since it’s pure profit, is more than what EC makes from selling one of its own books.

Possible downsides for EC is that there are some epublishers with poor editing and/or poor covers. There is some danger of EC’s own brand being diluted by the product of other epublishers. In weighing the difference, though, it seems like it’s a good risk for EC.

For readers, this can be a good thing because there is a more centralized location for purchasing ebooks as long as readers remember that these are not EC books but books from other publishers (which can be both a plus and a minus for readers). EC allows for payment via Paypal which I like.

As an EC author, however, now you are competing not only against your fellow EC authors but also with other authors. I’ve heard that EC authors are unhappy about this. EC ebooks are not sold through any other online merchant such as Fictionwise, BooksonBoard, All Romance eBooks or even Kindle. I would gather that part of the reason you sign on to EC is to get an exclusive shot at its broad and established readership.   Now other publishers are going to get to sell their wares from an EC branded site but the EC authors books aren’t exposed to readerships at say Fictionwise or All Romance eBooks.

I’m not sure if EC is going to open/launch a new bookstore front or sell the books straight from the EC site itself. Those details were not forthcoming nor is there any date I was given as to when readers could expect to see other publishers books on EC’s site. Ultimately, the question is whether EC is positioning itself to be a major etailer of erotic romance and romance books to compete with All Romance eBooks, Fictionwise.com and BooksonBoard and if so, what that means for the epublishing industry. Vertical integration is a smart business choice and I can hardly fault EC for going that route.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

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