AudioTim 30a: Robin Sullivan of Ridan Publishing on Amazon and IPG

The title of this episode could go on for a few more lines, but the current debate between Amazon and IPG is what led to our discussion. While some of you may be burnt out on this discussion, most of our discussion isn’t really on Amazon vs. IPG, but why this matters to you as a reader, writer, and publisher. Robin has done some revolutionary marketing strategies over at Ridan Publishing, and part of our discussion is how she is adapting to the changing market. We discuss KDP Select, Amazon’s Prime service that allows people to borrow one book a month from the lending library of ebooks, with two advantages Robin sees to this program, as well as how these aren’t really advantages to her. Part of why I got Robin on was to discuss if she thought Amazon would turn this dispute with IPG into an eventual profit margin of 70% going to Amazon instead of the current 70% to self publishers. Check the 35 minute mark for your quick answer.

I will release the second episode of this interview tomorrow, (AudioTim 30b:…on Amazon and future of ebooks), where we discuss more on the future of publishing in relation to the anti-trust lawsuit against the ibook store, which may get rid of the agency model of pricing ebooks. While some have feared that the IPG issue is what my flip the profit margins in Amazon’s favor, Robin thinks this lawsuit and the potential loss of the agency model may really be the harbinger of that change.

Subscribe to iTunes (here). I would love an honest review if you’ve listened to the past few episodes. You can also catch the podcast on RSS, Stitcher, and SoundCloud. You can easily check out the complete list of back episodes on my Podcast Page, along with a promo from my interview with her and her husband, Michael Sullivan, on Episode 16.

Music is brought to you by Daddy Scrabble’s “Lorda Mercy” from

For other podcasts on this subject:

Adventures in SciFi Publishing: Episode 163 Zack Ricks and Scott Roche; Episode 166 Is Amazon Your Daddy
The Shared Desk: Episode 13 Amazon, Authors, and Armageddon…at a Discount!

Conversation Timeline:

1:00 What is IPG?
2:00 Why small presses use IPG
5:00 Why Robin is considering moving from Print on Demand to print runs and bookstore presence using a distributor like IPG (though not if it means giving up ebook rights)
6:30 Why IPG does ebooks and why publishing houses use that service.
7:50 Is there a separate contract between ebooks and print w/ distributors (turns into convo on exclusivity)
10:00 Why this issue with IPG concerns her: never good when a stream of distribution is cut off, especially when their Select program is showing cost of business with Amazon is exclusivity.
15:40 In what ways (contract or KDP) can Amazon exercise exclusivity?
17:00 Two advantages of KDP: 1) Lending library; 2) 5 days out of 90 to make your book free –includes how these are not really that great as far as advantages
27:00 Advantages of not publishing with big 6 as it pertains to distributing ebooks worldwide
28:00 As Amazon tightens grip on IPG, they could with others
30:15 Why you still want to sell directly, instead of giving up exclusivity to Amazon
Compares Walmart to Amazon in re: low price margins, and how Amazon will demand higher cuts
32:00 Gives history on Amazon using Create Space versus Lightning Source to make books out of stock (ex. Nathan Lowell) and therefore manipulated people into using Create Space and the more advantageous margins for Amazon
35:00 Big question: Do you see Amazon taking 70%?

About Timothy C. Ward

Timothy C. Ward is a former executive producer and Hugo Nominee of Adventures in SciFi Publishing. He has been broke and lost on the other side of the world and now dreams of greater adventures from his keyboard in Des Moines, Iowa. This summer, he released his second Sand Divers book, Scavenger: A.I., where two parents use an ancient technology to fight a reproducing A.I. while trying to resurrect their deceased infant, and a new series that begins with Godsknife: Revolt, an apocalyptic battle for godhood in the rift between Iowa and the Abyss. Sign up for his newsletter for news, sales, giveaways and more:

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