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06/14/2017

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About

Founded in 2011, BookBaby has grown to become the nation’s leading self-publishing company. We’re dedicated to making your journey from writer to published author as easy as possible. From first-timers to veterans, novelists to photographers, we’ve helped many thousands prove that it doesn’t take a traditional publishing deal to bring ...

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Publicist
Ben Michaels
812 339 1195 x 204

Hands-on Technology: How BookBaby Harnesses the Human Factor to Transform Self-Publishing and Books in the Digital Era

When BookBaby CEO Steven Spatz steps out of his suburban Philadelphia office, he’s only a short walk from where the company’s books print down the hall. “I get to see the beautiful books rolling off the line, every day,” he smiles. “It’s amazing.”

This is BookBaby’s ethos in a nutshell: stay close to the real-life processes and people who make books, be they dedicated writers, experienced staff, or the presses that turn out the self-publishing powerhouse’s thousands of on-demand titles. In a market many view as contracting, BookBaby saw 80% growth last year (2016), with this year promising similar results.

“People from all walks of life put their heart and souls into these projects, and our commitment has to reflect that,” says Spatz. “We want people to be able to make their books better, to give them bigger audiences if that’s what they want. We feel a lot of pressure because of that, but it’s wonderful. We strive to be the white hats, in a field that hasn’t always been adequately customer driven.”

The company’s success is bolstered by a shifting market, away from the strict, closed world of traditional publishing, into a freer, more inclusive--and much larger--universe of independent authors. This new publishing paradigm is poorly reflected in legacy measures: “Many independent books don’t even have an ISBN, the old school way sales are tracked,” explains Spatz. “Lots of titles are missed, and lots of authors’ work is flying under the radar.”

Self-publishing used to be seen as a consolation prize, the path a writer chose when they had no other option, an act of vanity, not a valid career direction. Now, “For many authors, self-publishing is their first choice. They want the control,” Spatz notes. “They want to craft the cover, pick the font, run the marketing. They want to play around with different genres and approaches, take some chances creatively. They’re thinking like entrepreneurs, and they’re keeping their earnings.”

The line between traditional and self-publishing paths are blurring, as recent success stories like The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep or 50 Shades of Grey attest. “Traditional publishers are increasingly risk averse and want to see an author’s track record,” Spatz says. “Authors want to get their work out there faster than traditional publishers can manage, but may want eventually to switch to partnership with an established publisher.”

Authors, be they seasoned writers or newbies, hold the reins, but BookBaby helps them guide the team from start to finish. It’s a remarkably hands-on process for a company that got its start distributing books digitally seven years ago. “At BookBaby, customer service is really more of a conversation of authors talking to authors. Many of our staffers have either published their own books or are working on a project. They know the ups and downs, the challenges. It’s easy to relate to the customers.”

The company has built its services based on authors’ needs into a full-stack approach from manuscript to printed (and sold) book. Recent new features and offerings include education-oriented marketing tools and consulting, eBook distribution that includes Amazon KDP Select promotions, and the Independent Authors Conference to be held November 3-5 in Philadelphia. (Registration details here)

At any point in the book creation and distribution process, “You can pick up the phone and talk to us,” says Spatz. “You’re talking to real human beings, who’ve guided every kind of book you can think of. Our people are invaluable and set us apart.”

The focus on people in an increasingly digital production, distribution, and sales environment has been part of the company since it sprang from its Portland, OR-based sister company, CD Baby, and moved to Philadelphia.

“We decided printed books needed to be the backbone of our product line. Our companies had been printing materials in the Philadelphia area for decades, like CD liners, packaging, on-disc printing,” notes Spatz. “Printing was in our blood, but we needed to control the quality, to go where the expertise is.” The answer was to move where the presses were and to hire experienced people to run them.

“We want to be the most robust, friendliest one-stop-shop for authors of all kinds, whether they are creating a family history or memoir, or crafting the next important piece of literary fiction,” Spatz says.


About BookBaby

Founded in 2011, BookBaby has grown to become the nation’s leading self-publishing company. We’re dedicated to making your journey from writer to published author as easy as possible. From first-timers to veterans, novelists to photographers, we’ve helped many thousands prove that it doesn’t take a traditional publishing deal to bring a dream to life. You can do it yourself—and BookBaby has the friendly customer service, knowledgeable publishing specialists, and quality book products and services you need to get the job done.

Founder/CEO: Steven Spatz is a writer, marketer, and the President of BookBaby, the nation’s leading eBook and printed book distributor.

www.bookbaby.com