BookRix is a self-publishing and ebook distribution platform and book community that you may not have heard about. It’s been around since 2008 and its operational stats are quite impressive. It has 500,000 registered users worldwide, 140,000 ebooks are published on its system and it reportedly clocks1,000,000 ebook reads and downloads monthly.
Bookrix which was established, and is headquartered in Munich Germany, has developed a U.S. book community that is accessible to writers and readers worldwide.
Last week the company announced that, starting in October, they will no longer charge for their ebook-distribution-services, allowing authors to publish ebooks for free via BookRix and distribute them to all major eBook stores, including the Amazon Kindle Store, Apple iBookstores, Thalia, Kobo, Barnes & Noble (the Nook) and other online retailers and devices.
“Authors and their ebooks need free and uncomplicated access to all the important online shops, to co-create a free ebook market,” says Gunnar Siewert, BookRix CEO and cofounder. “We want the authors´ books and not their money.”
Up until last week’s announcement, BookRix had been offering three publishing packages, including a free basic that makes ebooks available to the site’s community of readers only, and two other packages that offered worldwide distribution for a fee. BookRix says as of October they will be “reimbursing all authors who previously paid for ebook publication with the company.”
Writers can upload their books to the platform, set their own prices and sell them to BookRix members or to the general public through the various distribution channels and online retailers. BookRix takes care of the distribution and account management. Writers get 55% royalties for books sold directly on the Bookrix site and 43% for those sold via other channels. The site is equipped with a royalty calculator that shows you what you get for each sale depending on the price you set. You can also see what Bookrix is taking per sale.
The size of its operations, in terms of the membership, its reading and download rates and the quantity of books published through its platform, puts BookRix on par with the likes of Smashwords, Bookbaby and Wattpad, and makes it the latest kid on the self-publishing block to watch.
But quite apart from its technological capabilities, it’s the entrepreneurial drive of the site’s creators and their single-minded focus on creating promotional and networking opportunities for BokRix writers through their innovative use of social media that is arguably most striking.
To begin with, authors and readers in the BookRix community network with each other and discuss, review and recommend books. They also have access to the site’s SocialBook© social media application, an online social-media collaborative writing tool that’s operable on Facebook, Twitter and the BookRix site.
Through a collaborative deal with the social reading network Readmill, BookRix ebooks can be transferred from the site to the Readmill reading app, thereby giving you the ability to read them with an iPad.
The BookRix team have also launched an online radio show on Blog Talk Radio where they interview writers from the BookRix community and give them the opportunity to tell the world about their books and their writing experiences. If the show catches on and gains popularity, it could prove to be a publicity bonanza for the participating authors.
Furthermore, BookRix straddles the Atlantic with footholds in the US and Germany. This means they’re well placed to capitalize early on Europe’s nascent ebook market when it starts to take off in earnest. For now, ebook adoption in Europe is slower that in the US.
Meanwhile, they’re not sitting on their laurels. Last year they attended Book Expo America where they showcased the BookRix platform and presented on the topic “Free the Author in You.” Presently they’re gearing up for the International Book Fair in Frankfurt, Germany scheduled for October this year.
Social Media & PR Manager, BookRix US, Genevieve Ovenell says that in in its efforts to simplify the publishing process and create new opportunities for writers, BookRix is keen to encourage literary and cultural diversity. .
“Despite our company being established and headquartered in Germany, we’re consistently making efforts to diversify our authors and readership while expanding our brand to broaden the scope of our audience. Ideally, we want BookRix to be a household name across the globe,” said Ovenell.
Asked if Bookrix could work for a book that requires targeted marketing to connect with readers most likely to be interested in the work – e.g. a Jamaican writer trying to reach the Caribbean Diaspora in North America and the UK – Ovenell said: “Definitely. BookRix is an ever expanding social hub and we empower our authors by providing them with a thriving online community equipped with a unique social network platform to optimize their visibility. We encourage our authors to utilize our features along with other social media outlets to maximize their online presence, market their ebooks and build dedicated fans.”
In June 2012 BookRix launched the BookRix Young Writer of the Year Award, an annual competition targeted at youths 12 – 21 years of age from all nationalities. It offers cash prizes valued at $800. Its aim, says BookRix, is to “garner more interest from our youth worldwide.” The site has a listing of several other free writing contests and competitions and encourages BookRix authors to take advantage of them.
Considering that one of their goals is to become “one the largest international book communities of its time,” targeting the youths and working to bring them into the fold is not a bad strategy.
Check out BookRix on Facebook.