iUniverse Announces Bookseller Discount Program

Posted on May 30, 2003

iUniverse, a provider of ebook and print-on-demand (POD) publishing services, has announced its Bookseller Discount Program for authors that publish books through the iUniverse Premier Program. With the discount program authors can choose to offer book wholesalers discounts of up to 50 percent off the retail price of their books. This allows book stores to purchase and sell the books at margins similar to traditionally published titles, making the books much more attractive to retailers.

To make the deeper discounts possible, authors elect to receive a lower royalty rate for each book sold, and iUniverse makes an investment in the author by reducing its profit margin on the books. Author Dave Distel, who published his true crime mystery, The Sweater Letter, through iUniverse, said that offering books at competitive, industry standard discount rates is an important choice for authors.

"Books that are available in stores have a better opportunity for commercial success," Distel says, "and this is another example of iUniverse working with authors to make it happen. The sales volume generated by a quality title more than makes up for the lower royalties. It's great that iUniverse is investing in the program by lowering its margins as well."

According to Kimra Hawley, president and CEO of iUniverse, the higher printing costs of print-on-demand books have historically meant leaner discounts for booksellers, which discouraged some from ordering or stocking print-on-demand books.

The new discount program at iUniverse also addresses a universal complaint by POD authors -- that their books are priced too high in online bookstores like Amazon.com. The price of a POD book depends on the publisher, but POD books are typically listed at $15 and up in online bookstores. POD books are not usually discounted by online booksellers; this new program will provide authors more control over the final selling price of their books.

Lately, iUniverse has been adding services that help authors with reviews, exposure and sales. In addition to the new Book Discount program, iUniverse recently launched the Star Program and Editorial Review Program. iUniverse publishes more than 5,000 new titles per year and partners with author organizations, including the Authors Guild, ASJA, and the Mystery Writers of America. The company's major investors include Warburg Pincus and Barnes & Noble.