The not altogether unexpected failure of the US-based distributor Pronoun dealt competitor aggregators an unexpected windfall this month
StreetLib and PublishDrive both rushed to produce migration tools that could with virtually one click transfer an author’s Pronoun files across and get them up and running again.
Both PublishDrive and StreetLib offer Amazon and Google Play as options – something absent from the distribution portfolio of either Smashwords or Draft2Digital at the time.
But in the most remarkable of coincidences Draft2Digital had quietly been beavering away at a deal with Amazon for much of this year and it all came to fruition the day after Pronoun closed.
And now Draft2Digital is having to deal with the rush. They’ve just released the following statement:
When we planned our announcement that we were adding Amazon as a new sales channel, we knew we would get a lot of attention. What we had not anticipated, however, was that Pronoun would announce its closure less than 24 hours prior to our announcement. As a result, we’ve seen a very large spike in incoming books for Amazon’s Kindle platform.
Because of this spike, we are just a bit behind on support tickets and other items. However, we’re Draft2Digital, and that means we have a plan.
The majority of our system is automated, and we are built to scale up with the addition of new authors and new books, for conversions, distribution, and other processes. We’ve built our system to ensure that your books get to sales channels as quickly as possible. With an increase of thirty-times our usual intake of new books, however, there’s bound to be some lag.
That’s why we wanted you to know that we are actively scanning through high-priority items and ensuring any support issues are dealt with as quickly as possible. We’re working hard to accommodate all the new users and new books that are coming in, and we will continue to offer the same high-level support we always have.
We wanted to assure you that any slowdowns in the process are temporary, as we welcome a growing community of new-to-us authors and books. We greatly appreciate your patience, as the system adjusts to the increased load. We anticipate that everything will level out very soon.
I asked Draft2Digital CEO Kris Austin about the chances of seeing GooglePlay as an option at D2D but he advised “for now, we have nothing official to announce on that front.”
Which puts us back in the bizarre pre-Pronoun position where there is no American free-to-upload aggregator offering Google Play. (PublishDrive and StreetLib while both now with US offices, are respectively based in Hungary and Italy). For the record US-based Bookbaby also offers Google Play, but that is a pay-up-front service.
No word yet from StreetLib or PublishDrive on the level of response they are seeing since Pronoun’s announcement, but given they so quickly put together import tools I would imagine both are doing well. You can read about their respective import tools here for StreetLib and here for PublishDrive.
As Nate Hoffelder reported at The Digital Reader a few days ago, Google Play, having closed their self-pub portal a couple of years ago, does appear to be letting selected indie authors open Google Play upload accounts.
Authors moving to Draft2Digital from Pronoun should bear in mind that they can also still use PublishDrive and / or StreetLib for Google Play and for the many other outlets those two distributors offer.
For balance, Smashwords also offers a range of ebook outlets, some of which are not available through Draft2Digital, PublishDrive or StreetLib.
While speculation continues about just why Pronoun was closed by Macmillan (theories ranging from losing too much money, to abusing their relationship with Amazon by offering better payouts than Amazon, to having completed a rights grab of indie author data) there’s one clear lesson here:
Putting all our eggs in one basket is rarely a good idea, while spreading our distribution across a range of options not only gives us better reach and potentially better returns, but makes for a healthy, competitive marketplace.
Full disclosure: The New Publishing Standard is published by Antonio Tombolini Editore. Tombolini also happens to be StreetLib’s CEO.