Friday, September 11, 2009

Lightning Source to royalties to authors

When DashBook introduced importing sales reports, we received a lot of praise from our customers. Book publishers still are a large percentage of our customer base, and when a publisher can't justify printing thousands of copies of a title, they turn to print on demand (POD). This may be for the initial printing of a book or it may be a fallback to keep a book from becoming "out of print" when its popularity wanes.

Why do so many book publishers choose Lightning Source (LS) for their POD? This is very simple. Because LS is owned by Ingram, all books carried by LS are placed in Ingram's book listings. This means that all booksellers who use Ingram (that'd be every one in the U.S.A., plus) is able to see the LS book in the catalogue and order it. That would be fine for anyone expecting the readers to request a book from a bookstore, but it won't put a book on their bookshelf. No bookstore is large enough to carry every published book. Well...

then there is Amazon. While Amazon does not warehouse all of the books it sells, it does maintain a database of every book that it could sell. So to follow the thread, this means that all books in LS are listed in Amazon's database and are searchable and purchasable from Not only are the books listed, but Amazon keeps ratings and comments about each book, so if the authors or readers wish to comment on a POD book carried by LS, they can do so on Amazon - the largest seller of books in the world. (nope, I'm not gong to bother researching the veracity of Amazon's success)

So, now that many book publishers are using Lightning Source, they receive a nice report showing them their sales. Here's where we get back to Dashbook. Publishers generally need to pay authors and other contributors a percentage of the sales of books. The royalty contracts describing the conditions and amounts can vary quite a bit, and can become unwieldy to track without specialized software like DashBook. Within DashBook, a publisher can describe these royalty arrangements so that subsequent sales transactions will generate royalties accrued to each royalty recipient.

Now that DashBook has a built-in ability to import LS sales reports and perform a currency conversion (LS - U.S., LS - U.K., etc.), we save a lot of typing, which greatly reduces time and errors. In fact, when a publisher has a large list of book sales to import, this can save hours. When you add that savings on top of the time saved in actually performing the royalty calculations, publishers just can't afford not to use a great tool like DashBook.

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