Wham BAM! Books-A-Million serves up Espresso-fuelled self-publishing deal

Books-A-Million, the second-biggest bookstore chain in the US, is offering self-published authors preferred placement in their stores if they use its new BAM print publishing packages.

The new service will feature print-on-demand books using the Espresso Book Machine. The first-ever full-color self-publishing EBM machines will launch this November in the Books-A-Million store in South Portland, Maine and the Brookwood Village Books-A-Million store in Birmingham, Alabama.

Terrance G Finley, CEO of Books-A-Million, says, “Our customers will be able to print their self-published works or any user-generated content, photo books, recipes, etc, in a matter of minutes and pick it up in our store.”

Mary Gallagher, senior vice-president of merchandising at Books-A-Million. says, “It is our hope that many of the new books found on the shelves at BAM! will be printed and bound by this cutting-edge printing equipment.”

EBM books are priced according to length, and the Espresso Book Machine can print any book between 5 ins x 5 ins and 8 ins x10 ins, 50 to 600 pages.

The EBM is an integrated, automated book-making machine that prints, binds, and trims high quality paperback books with four-color covers. It can print, bind, and trim a 300-page book from a digital file in about seven minutes.

Trained EBM staff can help with file preparation and book design and handle the technical aspects of publishing. Authors publishing through the EBM can share their works through the international EBM sales channel.

BAM! Publishing offers a wide range of publishing packages and services which are provided in partnership with Fast Pencil and look to be better value than Fast Pencil’s own range of publishing packages.

The BAM! Marketplace option costs:

  • $129 for a print version or an ebook version
  • $179 for a print and ebook version

This means readers can order your print or ebook online through the BAM! Publishing Marketplace and through BooksAMillion.com. Your printed book can be purchased through any Espresso Book Machine location worldwide. All sales are tracked and royalties generated will be passed on to you.

The Wide Distribution option costs:

  • $279 for a print version or an ebook version
  • $329 for a print and ebook version

This allows you to reach an even wider audience, by permanently adding your book to BooksAMillion.com, to the BAM! Publishing DIY Marketplace, and to the EBM database, and distributing it through the Ingram Digital Network for three years. Your book will be available on major retail sites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks and dozens of others.

The Masterpiece option costs $349 but offers preferred placement in Books-A-Million stores, plus in-depth file review, deluxe cover design, copyright page, ISBN and title registration in Books-in-Print.

There’s also a DIY option to use the BAM cloud-based self-publishing platform to write, edit, and collaborate on personal projects or make your book available for sale on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and more.

However, the print costs are high at $7 per book plus $0.03 per page (color interior pages are $0.25 per page). For example, a 100-page book = $7.00 + $.03 (100) = $10.

There is no additional cost for ebook downloads, as ebooks are included in the publication cost.

The EBM has been around for 10 years but the cost of printing has always been a drawback to its widespread take-up. However, there might be a new age of print on demand starting to dawn as lower-cost rival machines are starting to emerge, with one from Ricoh on display at the recent Paris Book Fair. If the costs can be brought down they could offer bookstores a huge business opportunity.