A note on Lightning Source/Ingram Digital:  I contacted both of them through separate contact methods to see what they charged for fees, just for digital.

The same woman sent me the same files, saying, “This information must have been crossed in email.  I am sending to you again.”

One of the files said, “See Attachment A for fees,” then attached an Attachment A that referred to DRM and supported formats, so I can’t report on fees yet.  Apparently, it’s either free to submit an ebook to LSI or there’s a fee for it, but until I get Attachment A, no real answers there.

Each title may be subject to a Title Setup Fee as detailed in Attachment A tothe Agreement – Services and Fees Schedule…Setup charges, if any, are billed per submission, not per title. All renditions submitted with the initial setupare covered under the setup fee. Each rendition or revision submitted after the initial setup will be subjectto an additional setup fee.

Besides the Agreement (no attachment A), ebook manuals, w9 form, and a list of retailers, I got what looks like an FAQ:

  • Do I need an ISBN for my Ebook? Yes, the publisher is responsible for purchasing their own ISBN (www.isbn.org/) For titles distributed in both POD and electronic formats, ebooks require their own unique ISBN.  You may use the same ISBN across multiple eBook formats of the same title or you may assign individual ISBNs for each format of the same title.  If your title will be available in both eBook and POD formats, please setup the POD title prior to submitting the eBook edition.
  • Ebook Pricing The retail price and wholesale discount is determined by you, the publisher (but cannot be lower than 25%). The industry standard discount is 55%. ***Really?  For an ebook?  I thought 30% was pretty standard for ebooks, 40-45% for POD.  This leaves 37.5% royalties on ebooks.***
    • LSI will deduct seven and one-half percent (7.5%) of Net Sales to publishers as a Fulfillment Fee. (see Section 5.2 Wholesale Compensation of the attached agreement)
  • Files ready to submit? All submissions must come ready for downloading.  You will  also need a marketing image in the form of a .jpg file.  This should  be on the front cover only and 510 x 680 pixels in size (RGB color  space). The files need to be unencrypted with no protection or security settings. Please refer to our eBook Operations Manual for additional  information pertaining to eBook  formats.
    • Lightning Source accepts four formats for title information and pre-converted ebook files on our website, through your LSI account:
    • .pdf (for the Adobe Reader)
    • .lit (for MS Reader)
    • .pdb (for Palm Reader)
    • EPUB 1.0.5
  • If there are no  problems with your files – It  takes approximately 1 to 2 business days to process your title  submission.
  • The publisher is  responsible for approving the proof.   You will receive an email from pubproof@lightningsource.com<mailto:pubproof@lightningsource.com> containing a proof of your title.  You have the  option to approve or reject the proof as well as an opportunity to indicate  comments or request  revisions.
  • The proof approval  stage also begins the process to view your title for downloading.  Please allow  1 to 2 business weeks  from the day of the proof’s approval for  your title to appear on our retail partners sites.
  • A revision fee of $25 will apply for revisions to the file after the file has been approved for sale by you. The charge only applies if you change the file at a later time.
  • When a consumer/retailer purchases your ebook, they are given access to a link (provided by Lightning Source/Ingram Content Group) to your title, which they can then download.

The list of retailers:

  • EBDL Retail Partners (March 4, 2011)
  • BookSense / American Booksellers Association (ABA)
  • BooksonBoard
  • Cokesbury.com
  • Computer Manuals Ltd.
  • Diesel eBooks (Tools of the Shade, LLC)
  • eBookMall
  • Fictionwise
  • Lybrary.com
  • Powells
  • Publisher Services Inc.
  • Textbooks.com (MBS)
  • Payloadz.comEDigitalMediaStore.com/Audiobooks.com (audio & e-book)
  • eCampus.com
  • eBookShop (South Africa)
  • CyberRead
  • BOL.com
  • Direct Ebooks (Ireland)
  • All Romance eBooks (romance books only)
  • All Romance eBooks / Omni Lit (all books)
  • Lulu.com
  • eBook Pie
  • Entourage Systems
  • Wizpac Txtr.com (Germany)
  • Campus eBooks (Denmark)
  • The Book Depository (UK)
  • DittoBook
  • Team Research / Astak
  • TookBook (Croatia)
  • Bookshop Krisostomus (Estonia)
  • Kalahari.net (South Africa)
  • Advantage Media Group (Australia)
  • eCommSource (Ireland)
  • Kobo Books (Canada) (also powers Borders.com)
  • Saraiva e Siciliano (Brazil)
  • Fishpond (New Zealand / Australia)
  • AudiobooksDirect (Australia – audio only)
  • For-Side.com (Japan)
  • MP Publishing (UK)
  • DMC / The Copia
  • EC Media International / The Wink Store (India)
  • The PocketBook USA
  • DEA (Italy)
  • Tradebit (Germany)
  • Infibeam (India)
  • Page Foundry
  • Best Price Wholesale
  • Feedbooks (France)
  • BeamItDown Software
  • Suomalainenkk (Finland)
  • SBS Special Book Services (Brazil)
  • Asia Books (Thailand)
  • TreeFreeMobile
  • Wiltronic / iView
  • Booksygen (France)

As you can see, Ingram Digital/LSI will get you into a lot of markets – many of which (Lulu.com) are mainly distributors, not retailers.  It doesn’t look like they get any more of a cut than is already removed from your wholesale price, though.

On the one hand, a lot of markets (at least, on paper); on the other hand, a lot more work and expense:  you have to buy your own ISBNs, you have to provide preformatted files, the requirements for cover images are exact rather than somewhat flexible, if you make any changes post-approval (such as to update your list of books you’re marketing), it’s a $25 charge, plus the mysterious fee/no fee for setup.  Also, they want you to set up your POD before you do your ebook; if you’re not doing PODs yet (like me), this may or may not be an issue.  I didn’t see anything in the agreement saying this must be so…but I’d wait for the fee schedule, eh?