Hugh Howey
Hugh Howey

Bestselling author of Wool and other books. Currently sailing around the world.

Barbara Freethy and Ingram Join Forces

This is some seriously awesome news. Bigger than a print-only publishing deal if you ask me. Barbara Freethy, who is likely the top-selling modern self-published author around, is working with Ingram to have her books distributed to major retailers.

She retains the rights. Ingram makes their wholesale fee. Barbara keeps the rest. Bookstores get more great content. Readers have access to one of today’s hottest selling authors. Everyone wins.

Kudos to Ingram for putting this together. This removes one of the last few barriers for self-published authors, and that’s print distribution to brick and mortar stores. For other bestselling self-published authors, it’ll mean another option other than selling off all rights to a work, since publishers have been loathe to sign more print-only deals. And it should help bookstores, who didn’t have access to some of the bestselling works around (Barbara has written 19 New York Times bestsellers, including titles that hit #1 on the list!)

Congratulations, Barbara! Couldn’t have happened to a nicer or more hardworking person. Check out Barbara’s website here to learn more about her works.

16 replies to “Barbara Freethy and Ingram Join Forces”

This is seriously awesome! The Big 5 really are just letting themselves become irrelevant at this point. I respect that they’re finally TRYING to innovate a little and change but it might be too little, too late.

Hugh,
Could you clarify if this is Ingram/Lightning Source you’re referring to, or Ingram Spark, which treats smaller indie publishers like me differently when it comes to contract arrangements. I would have much preferred to self-publish with Ingram/Lightning Source, but they refused me because this was my first novel, forcing me into Ingram Spark. Costs there were higher than for CreateSpace, where I ultimately went instead.

May be worth following the numbers and availability to see how this is received and treated by the stores.

Talk about “disintermediation”! This direct deal by an author with a print distributor eliminates any lingering need to seek a publisher in order to get a print edition in the bookstores.

And it vaults Ingram/Lightning Source into a potential down-the-road position regarding print/bookstore distribution that Amazon/KDP/Createspace holds regarding online ebook/print distribution. Both distribution arrangements cut agents and publishers out of the loop as mediators between authors and readers.

I wonder if this is Ingram’s long-term game plan. It will be interesting to see if Ingram starts cutting similar deals with other hot-selling indies, offering them terms and royalty arrangements that publishers can’t touch. If so, it can afford to be selective, approaching already-bestselling indies who have already acquired a large fan base via ebooks.

Down the road, Ingram and Amazon could effectively carve the book market in two. They can offer indie authors direct access to both bookstores and online markets, respectively, then any remaining rationale for seeking agents and publishers evaporates. Publishers won’t like it as they watch their established authors jump ship and go indie to seek much higher royalties and better terms. But what could they do? Ingram is indispensable to getting their works into bookstores, just as Amazon is indispensable to their tapping the online and ereader market. They can’t survive without these two powerhouse distributors.

But the distributors can. And that prospect should have Manhattan publishers shaking in their padded leather office chairs.

Hi Hugh, this is very exciting news. Even if opportunities at the moment will be limited to those best selling of the indie authors, it represents a further development that will surely offer amazing opportunities for writers to connect with readers.

I am a successful self-published author in the UK who took a traditional publishing deal, mainly because of the ability to get my books in store. However my experiences over the past twelve months have been sobering to say the least – I would never again sign a traditional deal. And I thank my lucky stars that I still hold my rights in North America, where I continue to publish successfully. So, this development, offering the hope of another way, is a welcome one.

Paul

Paul, you might want to go over to Dean Wesley Smith’s blog and read up on what he has to say about publishing myths.
Indie books get into bookstores without needing a special deal with Ingrams. There was a big change — a year and a half ago now I think — and bookstores can order any books they like through the catalogue. And they do.
I’ve read lots of comments from lightly-selling authors that they found – to their surprise – their indie-pubbed book carried in different indie bookstores, without any promotion on their part at all.

I’m not sure I understand. Ingram Publishing Services is open to all publishers willing to pay. Perhaps I’m missing what they’ve offered her that they don’t offer all publishers. I also worry because to get into stores the way she’s going, she has to allow for steep discounts and for returns. No sales force in the world is going to compel bookstores to stock books without offering those two terms. Narrow margins, and returns can cripple small publishers. I hope that doesn’t happen here, but I’ll be following, hoping things just take off for her!

Wishing everyone involved the best of luck!

Step one… Howey keeps his ebook rights and sells only printed rights. Makes history.
Step two, Ingram puts books in stores, author keeps rights. More history.
Step three, top selling authors realize that if Amazon sells half of their books already, and 80% of their ebooks, and Amazon will pay them triple to five times more than their publishers do, then thay can make more money on Amazon right now.
Step four, the big 5 go bankrupt.

Let’s look at numbers, say S. King sells a million paper books, he gets 20%? Amazon is selling half of these anyway. If he sells through Amazon instead, he can price the books to earn 45%, so even though he sells half the number, he makes 33% more profit. Let’s say he sells a million ebooks, he gets 20%, but Amazon which is selling 80% of them anyway gives him 70%, he makes 5 times as much…. Add in Ingram getting books into real stores, or createspcae doing it, and the big 5 fade away.
If the top authors sold only through createspace, there is no way you can tell me bookstores won’t carry them, bookstores that don’t carry what people want will fail.

I’m not surprised by this at all. It’s only the next logical step in the industry and business of writing.

Dissatisfied with the quality I had seen in POD books, I decided if I was going to print, I wanted to do it with an actual printer, not someone using an industrial-sized laser printer. (The trick is to do a search for “Book MANUFACTURERS” and not for “Book Printers.”) (And, yes, I’m well aware that the technology has changed and POD shops now are using large-scale inkjet printers to do their printing, resulting in a better product.)

In my conversation with my printer, it came out that they could see the writing on the wall: either stick with only 5 big customers (used to be 6) or diversify and go with thousands of customers. To wit: self-publishing writers. They now give the same pricing deals to self-publishing writers that they give to the big boys.

So, it only strikes me as obvious that Ingram would start extending services to the more successful self-published writers before long. I would suspect that in the near future, that service will be extended to mid-listers as well. It makes good business sense, as all it takes is one Big-5 company to say they want new terms or else and you lose 20% of your business. Better to start spreading out business offerings to more business partners before that happens.

Hi there! This article couldn’t be written any better! Reading through
this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept talking about this.
I most certainly will send this article to him.
Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thank you for
sharing!

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