PublishDrive ditches royalty-share model in shift to tiered subscription pricing for ebook distribution

Ebook distributor PublishDrive has moved its business model from taking a 10% slice of royalties to a four-tier subscription pricing that’s clearly aimed at positioning the firm at the high end of the market.

The company introduced the option of paying a monthly flat rate of $100 a month in October 2018 with authors keeping 100% of their net receipts from retailers, but at the time it still offered the choice of a 10% royalty payment. PD said it attracted a record 700 authors as new customers in the month after introducing its $100 option.

The flat-fee subscription is likely to have attracted more experienced authors with a backlist of ebooks earning over $1,000 a month, which is the point at which it paid to pick the $100 fee choice rather than pay 10% on each sale.

Now PublishDrive has axed the royalty-share option for new customers and is featuring four levels of flat-rate pricing with authors keeping 100% of net royalties.

However, customers who already have royalty-share accounts can continue on that basis or move to a subscription. Once you move to a subscription you can’t go back to royalty-share.

The new subscription options are:

  • Free: This is for one title only, so is largely useless to most self-publishing authors.
  • Standard: $19.99 for up to five titles.
  • Pro: $99.99 for up to 50 titles.
  • Publisher: For indie publishers and pro authors, unlimited titles. However, you have to ask for a quote for this service, so it’s difficult to say just what price you could be looking at here.

I would imagine the first two pricing options are largely irrelevant to most self-publishing authors and the 50-title cap on the Pro tier is going to be too low for many of the more prolific indie publishers.

It really looks like PublishDrive has moved to focus on the top end of the self-publishing market and has realised it needed to shift from its $100 flat fee which was probably looking like a bargain to some publishers.

Whether it’s for you is a matter that only you and your spreadsheet can figure out and only then after getting an individual quote, which also begs the question of whether everyone with similar numbers of titles and/or sales will be getting comparable deals. If the pricing suits your particular publishing business then it could be a great move.

There are, of course, other ebook distributors who still offer royalty-share options — notably Draft2digital, StreetLib, and Smashwords.

PublishDrive picks up 700 new authors since introducing ‘100% royalties’ for $100 monthly fee

PublishDrive offers $100 monthly flat-fee option for ebook distribution