Aug 8 2010
One digital book byte before bedtime. My Bookstore and More, the bookstore portion of Samhain, will be closing toward the end of the year. Readers will still be able to purchase Samhain books from the Samhain site but MBaM will no longer be offering other publishers’ books. I’ve asked what will happen to readers previous purchases and will update as soon as I have news. A quick look at Ellora’s Cave shows that it, too, stopped selling other publishers’ books on their shopping site.
I’m not sure what future implications this has. Samhain had expended some amount of money to launch a new webfront and back end shopping cart just a few months ago. It may be smarter to sell only its own authors’ works at its connected store, pushing its own brand of stories. It may also mean that if selling third party works isn’t profitable for relatively big name publishers like Samhain and Ellora’s Cave that it might not be profitable for small independent booksellers.
Independent booksellers are supposed to be saved by Google Editions which will allow them to sell digital content hosted by Google Editions. The reseller will get a single digit profit, I believe. But if major centers of reader traffic like Samhain and EC, both companies which generate a few million in revenue each year, don’t find it profitable, will these small digital bookseller resale zones be profitable?
UPDATE: From C Brashear, owner and CEO of Samhain:
MBaM is being purchased by Samhain. The URL will be rerouted to samhainpublishing.com and Samhain will assume the store’s shopping cart software. It will be reskinned to reflect Samhain’s branding. The customers of MBaM will continue to enjoy their Bookshelf and have access to all prior purchases at anytime they want. After the switch, new purchases will only be for Samhain titles, but those books from other publishers bought under MBaM name will still be available to the purchaser for downloading.
As to why, poor MBaM has been the neglected child while Samhain gets all the attention. Rather than let it limp along, Samhain is buying it and repurposing the software. Less administrative work, not running two payrolls and benefits packages, maintaining two sites as well as many other duplicated efforts are the main reasons behind my decision, not to mention I just don’t want to design and build our own ereader–yet. ;) We just aren’t being as effective or efficient splitting our attention between the two companies. I’d been chewing on the idea for the last year and finally stopped dithering and announced it to the staff a couple months ago and to the authors last month. The feedback has been very positive.