Dymocks to change the face of self publishing?

Dymocks, a major Australian book retailer, has made an announcement that could change the face of self publishing in Australia.

In October, they will launch ‘D Publishing’, a new web-based book publishing service that will enable authors to take control of the professional creation, publishing and distribution of both printed books and eBooks.

D Publishing will offer four services:

  1. Create My Book: authors will have access to web-based tools to turn their manuscript into a publishable book.
  2. Improve My Book: editors and graphic designers will help authors to refine their manuscripts; Dymock’s Booklovers Club will be available to give feedback on drafts.
  3. Print My Book: authors will have access to print-on-demand services for personal or public distribution.
  4. Publish and Distribute My Book: books will be available for sale through Dymocks stores and other retailers (with an ISBN, barcode and publishing imprint) as well asΒ print-on-demand versions.

When my workmate Joseph brought this to my attention this afternoon, my mind began to race with possibilities. As an aspiring Australian author seriously considering self publishing, this was very interesting news for me. But it’s a bit early to be jumping up and down with excitement, in my opinion.

Here’s what I think:

  • As a prominent Australian book retailer, Dymocks could offer a lot more credibility and exposure for a book than smaller self publishers.
  • D Publishing will manage customer orders including printing and distribution – which would give the author more time to concentrate on marketing the book or writing their next one.
  • If the book was selected to appear in Dymocks stores, this would negate one of the biggest downfalls of self publishing – limited distribution channels of print copies.

Sounds awesome, right? On the surface, absolutely. But I have a lot of questions that Dymock’s announcement doesn’t answer. And until I know these answers, I won’t know how appealing this offer really is to me. My questions are:

  • How much will these different options cost me?
  • What cut of sales will Dymocks take?
  • Can I still sell paper books internationally through Amazon and other websites or will rights be restricted to Dymocks’ website? They say books will be available through other retailers, but is that at Dymocks’ discretion or mine?
  • What about e-books? Can I make it available on Kindle and other devices or will rights be restricted to a Dymocks e-reader device?
  • If my paper books are chosen to be available in Dymocks retail stores, will they be shelved with other books in my genre or tucked away on a ‘self published’ shelf? (a separate shelf is better than nothing, but obviously it would be better for my book to be in the Young Adult section).

What do you think?

Is this momentous news for aspiring authors or just another self-publishing option entering the market? For my international readers, have any of the bricks-and-mortar book retailers in your country taken this approach? If so, have they been successful (both for the retailer and the authors)? Are there other questions that I’ve missed?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this!

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36 Comments

Filed under Dymocks, Publishing, Self publishing, Writing

36 responses to “Dymocks to change the face of self publishing?

  1. Interesting to see whether they put in any quality control services and whether their agreement to publish is dependant on you using their editing and other services. Look forward to seeing how it pans out! May even be interesting part time work opportunities.

  2. Oh wow, this is kind of revolutionary and very exciting. I’d like answers to your questions as well. I’m totally looking into this when I move back to Aus.

  3. I would be cautious before deciding it’s momentous news. It’s certainly very interesting, but your questions are important and valid, and until you know the answers, you won’t know how excited to get! I like Ian’s idea of potential work – I hadn’t thought of that. I don’t know of a retailer who does that in the US, but Andrea Brown, a VERY well-respected children’s literary agency, has a new program on offer from one of their agents which is kind of a cross between self and traditional publishing. The author maintains control of pretty much everything, the agent does a lot of the specialty work, and there’s some kind of payment deal – 15-20% I think. I’m sorry I can’t exactly remember the details. I’ll see if I can find a link for you πŸ™‚

    • Yep, couldn’t agree more, Susanna. It’s easy to get carried away with these things, but until we know the answers to those crucial questions of costs and rights, it’s best to quell any over-enthusiasm (which I admit I’m prone towards!). Andrea Brown’s offering sounds very interesting too. I’d definitely be interested in more info. πŸ™‚

  4. T.F.Walsh

    I was reading about this today as well, and had the exact same questions… I wanted to know if the book could be sold on Amazon and how will the editing services work… and cost. They are sweetening the deal to 10 aussie writers who can get their book published through them for free… but what happens after that… I’m with you.. I want to see what happens first before approaching:)

  5. This is an interesting post, Cally, and raises some good questions about self-publishing and that of your distributor/publisher Dymocks.

    I live in Canada and haven’t researched self-publishing to any great extent. Although I have had a few friends, that have written non-fiction books, self-publish. Overall, their experiences have been good. Here we have a few options for those services. And of course, our proximity the USA is influential. Here’s the link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/seller-account/mm-summary-page.html?topic=200260520.

    Non-fiction is often supported by business. One friend the at comes to mind is a personal trainer who has written a memoir about her health journey and I know several freelancer who’ve published books on the process for other freelancers.

    There are a few examples of self-published novels that have done well and then gone mainstream: Eragon (YA) and Still Alice by Lisa Genova. So clearly, it’s possible. And when all else fails – to me that’s the key – it’s a way of getting your book out there.

    For my novel I don’t plan to self-publish. Rather, I will pursue the traditional route via an agent. I realize it’s fiercely competitive but I believe writing (and re-writing, rewriting) a good book, a great query letter and persistently pursuing an agent who represents my genre is still the best route for fiction.

    • Thanks for your reply, Deborah.

      More and more people seem to be turning to self publishing these days and it’s becoming less of the ‘last resort’ option it has been in the past. It’s not right for everyone, but it’s definitely something to consider. You get a lot more control of the product and a lot more of the profits per unit sold. Obviously distribution is one of the major drawbacks of self publishing, which this offer by Dymocks may very well eradicate. Time will tell! πŸ™‚

  6. Will check out the website for this service. Working on my first novel and don’t know much about the agent and publisher world.

  7. It’s going to be interesting to see how many other retailers start to do this as time marches on.

  8. Sounds great, thanks for the post about this.

    Very interesting,

    Sarah

  9. Amazon, through their CreateSpace imprint, does sell POD books to book retailers. Or, at least, they can. However, my experience with book stores, at this point, is that they won’t touch self-published works and refuse to deal with Amazon. So, although there is the potential for books coming out through CreateSpace to make it into brick-and-mortar stores, it doesn’t happen. Also, Amazon looks at CreateSpace and Kindle as two totally separate entities, and the author can do whatever they want with both or either. The author may also offer up their book through the Nook or whatever else because Amazon doesn’t hold any of the rights. That’s the question you really need answered: is Dymocks planning to retain any of the rights on your work? If they are, it’s really not self-publishing. If they are not, you should be free to put your work out on the Kindle or wherever. The percentage that Dymocks is offering sort of makes me question what their intent is there.
    Just as a side note: CreateSpace can be totally free for the author. They do offer paid services, but you don’t have to use them. If Dymocks is requiring that you use their paid services to get your book out, they’re offering a bad deal.
    I had one other thing, but I got interrupted by my kids, and I’ve forgotten what it was. I’ll pop back later if I remember.

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Andrew. I agree with you entirely. Fingers crossed this deal is as good as it sounds, but my gut tells me it isn’t – maybe my gut is too cyncial.

      You’re absolutely right that the key question is about rights. I’ll keep you posted about what I hear!

  10. I have no idea what a Dymocks is but they sound kinda like a Barnes and Noble. If they put your books in their stores I think that this sounds extremely awesome. If they don’t feature your books in their stores, then I don’t see what the advantage is beyond any of the other online places doing this same thing. It’s that offer to have retail space in their stores that puts this over-the-top…it’d be as tempting to accept as if Barnes and Noble here in the U.S. offered to do the same thing. I mean…if you can get into a Barnes and Noble without being traditionally Big Six published here in the states…what truly would be the point of ever pursuing traditional publishing that way?

    • Yep, you’re correct, Michael. Dymocks is pretty much the Australian version of Barnes and Noble. I agree – the main thing that makes this offer interesting is the potential to have your books appear in stores. If that is a legitimate part of the deal (and it’s not ridiculously exorbitant), it will be a very attractive offer.

  11. Michael: Exactly! That was something along the lines of the thing I forgot. Part of it, at least. B&N could probably strike a big blow against Amazon if they started offering something like that.

  12. This industry is so crazy. The days of big 6 ruling the world is coming to an end. It will be interesting to see how all this plays out. Thanks for sharing this.

  13. So interesting to see how different entities are wrestling with the future of books . . .

  14. Great post. And your questions were even greater. All good points and things that would have to be answered before really considering that route

  15. Very exciting for you “Down Unders.” This revolution in the publishing business is hard to keep up with. Let us know what happens next.

  16. You’ve raised some very important questions.
    As far as I know there is no option like this in South Africa (please someone let me know if there is and I’ve missed it!).

  17. That is really interesting. Who’d have thought that a bookstore would be publishing. Keep us posted on what happens!

  18. I recently published my novel The Grass Is Always Browner in partnership with a publisher (see blog grassisbrowner.wordpress.com). There seem to be three areas of service: manuscript preparation, printing, marketing and selling.If Dymock’s aim to compete in all areas, I wonder what marketing services they will supply? For me, advice about quickly setting up and orchestrating blogs, Facebook and Twitter was most wanted, as I prefer to spend my time writing. Is there anyone who would share their experience of how they have rolled a big snowball of hits on a sales machine?

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