Bookseller Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) announced today that it has acquired a 49 percent stake in iUniverse.com, a company which bills itself as the largest Internet publishing portal.
iUniverse.com aims to empower out-of-print writers and new writers with publishing services that they are unable to get from traditional publishers.
The acquisition is Barnes & Noble’s first major investment in a book publishing venture.
Starting November 22nd, more than 500 Barnes & Noble stores will feature in-store displays, books and other materials about iUniverse.com.
“We’re serving notice that the rules in publishing have changed,” said Richard Tam, founder and CEO of iUniverse.com. “The current way of publishing ignores millions of talented new writers and the millions of books that are out-of-print. We now have the capacity to publish 2,000 titles a month, and by next year, we’ll publish tens of thousands of titles, making us one of the world’s largest publishers.”
Writers Get Publishing Services, Marketing Information
The companies say that new writers can use iUniverse.com to have their book published within 30 days and earn higher royalties than they would receive from other publishers. In addition to publishing services, iUniverse.com offers authors information about marketing their books, creating press releases, setting up public appearances and getting their book reviewed.
iUniverse.com says it can also ensure that books by authors who use its services will never go out of print.
“This investment is about giving authors with small voices the loudspeakers they need to get their works published and distributed throughout the world,” said Steve Riggio, vice chairman of Barnes & Noble. “Just as Barnes & Noble has put books in the hands of more readers, iUniverse.com will allow more authors to publish and distribute their work and make the phrase ‘out-of-print’ obsolete.”
How It Works
Authors can send two copies of an out-of-print book, or a copy of their manuscript in a standard word-processing file to iUniverse.com. New manuscripts can also be submitted online. After a few weeks, the books submitted will be viewable online and printed on demand. Publishing fees start at $99 (US$) for new manuscripts, while authors of certain out-of-print titles will not be charged a fee.
iUniverse.com provides distribution into every single bookselling channel available, including both brick-and-mortar stores and online retailers. Authors have the option to make their books available for free viewing online and for sale via electronic downloads.
For electronic books, authors will earn a 50 percent royalty. Books published by iUniverse.com will be prominently featured on barnesandnoble.com.
iUniverse.com also has deals with the Authors Guild, Writer’s Digest, Ingram Books and Kinko’s.