As I promised yesterday, today I bring you the latest silliness from iUniverse. You’re actually very lucky, because I have not one, but two bits of silliness to share with you today. Ready?
Silliness #1: Incorrect Genre Classification
This one is probably a clerical error, but it’s a very silly, uniquely iUniverse error. Imminent Danger is a YA sci-fi book. That’s not a particularly difficult genre to remember, right? And yet, the vast majority of online retailers do not have it listed as YA sci-fi. It’s either children’s lit, or fantasy, or … God, I don’t even know.
This is a direct result of iUniverse mis-reporting the genre when they initially sent out my book back in January. As I find these incorrect genres, I send iUniverse a note asking them to fix it. And they’re happy to do it … with a 6-8 week processing time for the changes to take effect. Really? 6-8 weeks? I’m fairly confident that if I had direct control over my book, I could just pop onto the Amazon site, change the genre setting, and have it resolved within ten minutes.
So silliness #1 is iUniverse failing to submit my book under the correct genre, and then taking forever and a day to fix it. Sigh.
Update March 4, 2013: I just got a call from iUniverse, asking if my genre classification issue had been resolved. I explained the situation, and the lady was very helpful. She said that she would look into the problem and make sure that all the retailers have the correct genre information. So yay to iUniverse for following through!
Silliness #2: Overpriced Author-Discounted Books
When you publish a book, you want physical copies in hand to be able to hawk to passersby. iUniverse offers authors special discounts on buying books, which is basically the list price minus your author royalties, with a higher percentage off the list price based on how many copies you buy at a time. That last sentence probably made no sense. Here’s the table I whipped up to figure out how much my hardcover books will cost, per unit, purchased from iUniverse:
I wanted about 50 hardcover to start off with. 50 hardcover, as you can see, works out to $20.77 per unit. Bear with me.
Chapters.Indigo.ca recently put out a 10% discount coupon for their site. The hardcover of Imminent Danger is listed at $23.72 — $22.53 with my member discount card. ((Note that the book cover is still not shown on this site — this will also take 6-8 weeks for iUniverse to “fix”)).
Now, I get approximately $3 per hardcover sold in royalties. So. 50 books from iUniverse at $20.77 + shipping = $1181.19. 50 books from Chapters.Indigo.ca at $22.53 (plus 10% discount), minus ~150 for royalties I’ll get back, plus free shipping, plus tax = ~$995 (give or take).
That’s about $200 in savings by ordering books from Chapters.Indigo.ca instead of the company that’s producing the darn things.
Plus there’s the weird side effect that those sales will actually count towards Imminent Danger’s sales ranking on Chapters.Indigo.ca. Not what I intended, but … I guess a higher ranking isn’t something to complain about, right?
Now, to be fair, I did contact iUniverse to see if my calculations were correct, because I couldn’t believe that such a thing would be possible. The very nice gentleman I spoke with ran through the calculations with me, and concluded that, yes, it would be cheaper to buy them from a third-party source. He offered to give me a slightly higher discount, but with the cost of shipping, Chapters.Indigo.ca still worked out as being cheaper.
Silly, iUniverse. Very silly.
The only reason I can think they wouldn’t bend over backward to convince authors to buy directly from them is if they make the same amount of money off each book regardless of where the book is bought from. That seems like a strange business plan to me — buying direct from the source should always be cheaper, shouldn’t it? And it is cheaper if, as you’ll see in the above chart, you buy 250+ books. But who has that kind of money? I certainly don’t.
In conclusion …
iUniverse continues to be delightfully silly. I’m not too miffed with them, because I don’t think the incorrectly filed genre is going to hurt me too much over the next few weeks (hopefully), and I did find a way around their bizarre pricing scheme. I’ve actually started to really enjoy seeing what silliness they come up with next.
The next step in fulfilling my contract is getting my book into a local Chapters store for 8 weeks. I’m sure there’ll be lots of silliness involved with that. Stay tuned!
Unrelated video of the day:
Get ready for the crazy.
In Japan, there is a pop star named Hatsune Miku who is entirely computer generated — voice, appearance, everything. And she’s insanely popular. Here’s the wikipedia page on her. Here’s a video of her live, in concert … despite her not actually being alive. I believe holograms are involved.
Your dealings with iUniverse are giving me a headache. I can only imagine how it’s making you feel. Persevere! Pretty soon you’ll be a NYT bestselling author (or whatever) and all this will be an amusing anecdote. 🙂