We’re going to run a promo for Dover Beach on BookBub June 28th. BookBub appears to be the 800-pound gorilla of online ebook advertising. And it has raised a bunch of venture capital to get even bigger.
The startup is nearing 3 million members, drives more than 1 million e-book sales every month and generates revenue in the “seven figures” from commissions on sales and fees paid by publishers and authors to be included in the newsletter. What makes all that even more impressive is BookBub has been bootstrapped — until now.
BookBub announced Thursday that it has raised a $3.8 million Series A round of funding from NextView Ventures, Founder Collective and others. Much of the funding is intended to help the startup ramp up its staff of 20, build out the web experience and develop for mobile and eventually expand internationally. But part of the funding is also intended to help BookBub expand from ebook deals to ebook discovery.
The economics of this for an author or publisher are pretty interesting, and a bit scary. Bookbub charges based on genre and sale price. Dover Beach will be priced at $0.99 and slotted as science fiction. The cost for the placement is $240, which is about an order of magnitude more than other ebook discovery sites such as eReader News Today (where will also be running a Dover Beach promotion at about the same time). The 35% ebook royalty on $0.99 books means that we’ll have to sell around a thousand copies to break even. (Of course, the calculations are a bit different for a series book like Dover Beach, since the hope is that some percentage of Dover Beach readers will go on to read its very fine sequel, The Distance Beacons.)
BookBub claims their SF mailing list contains 400,000 names, so if just half a percent of those folks buy the book, I’ll be doing fine. My publisher says some promos they’ve done with BookBub haven paid off, although my friends Jeff Carver and Craig Shaw Gardner did really well with their BookBub promotions. So we’ll see.
My publisher is actually a bit worried that BookBub will become so successful that they’ll crowd out the competition a la Amazon. What’s so special about it? I’m not entirely sure. It has a very clean interface compared to eReader News Today — no ads for JetBlue or Audible Com. That counts for something. They seem to have a smattering of mainstream books (today they’re offering Katherine Hepburn’s autobiography), but mainly they offer high-end indie books of the sort you see at other ebook sites, and the deals are pretty much the same. So I’m a bit baffled.
I let you know how we do.