After my first go round with BookBaby I got a lot of comments and discussions, so here we are back again looking more closely.
For those of you who didn't read the first article, BookBaby is a new option on the market for self publishers. Basically, they're a one stop location to get your book into the hands of a decent number of stores. Smashwords does this as well. For BookBaby you pay up front. For Smashwords you pay a percentage of each sale.
After my first overview, I had come to the conclusion that BookBaby was a legitimate way for an author who sells enough books (defined as enough to cover the cost of your set up fee) to make money. And, while that conclusion is still true, a deeper look at the numbers shows that any author who takes this route has to sell A LOT of books at one store.
With BookBaby you get 100% of your royalties. With Smashwords they take 10% (or 15% if you are selling on their site). With BookBaby you pay $99.00 (on sale now, usually $149.00) for them to take your .doc and turn it into an ebook. Smashwords does it for free, and then gets paid based on what you sell. With that sort of model, if you sell enough books, you'll do better on BookBaby then you will on Smashwords. Which is where I left it last time. Unfortunately that's more truthy than true.
Let's get deeper into the numbers (These numbers represent how much of the cover price of your novel you get to keep):
On the iBookstore:
Barnes and Noble:
It's not that BookBaby is secretly keeping some of the cash. It just hasn't managed to negotiate as good a deal with it's distributors as Smashwords has. So, as it was pointed out to me, and I'll now point out to you, you've got to sell a lot of books, on the iBookstore, to make more money with BookBaby than you would with Smashwords. Is it possible? Sure. Is it likely? No, not really.
One other advantage in BookBaby's court, they will upload to Amazon for you. Smashwords currently has the options listed, but apparently that option doesn't actually do anything. If you do Amazon with BookBaby, you get exactly the same deal you would if you went straight to Amazon. And while uploading to Amazon is nice, if you have the skills to upload your document to BookBaby, you've got the skills to upload it on Amazon for yourself and save $99.00.
Now, let me add a little more shine to Smashwords. A: Smashwords has it's own sales platform as well as distribution channels. B: Free coupons. You can do them on Smashwords and they are great for publicity and getting copies of your book to reviewers. C: Smashwords distributes to Diesel and Kobo on top of everywhere BookBaby does except Amazon.
So, until BookBaby manages to negotiate some better royalty rates with it's non-iBookstore distributors, I'd suggest sticking with Smashwords.