Ebook Collections is a fully-branded ebook fulfilment platform that enables publishers, large and small, to sell their ebooks direct to schools, companies and institutional libraries with just a few mouse-clicks.
The platform was created by the team that built the institutional ebook sales powerhouse, EBL, and the global e-retail portal, eBooks.com.
It’s easy and stable, and impressively adaptable.
If you don’t have your own institutional sales platform,
well, now you do.
If you have an institutional sales platform,
Ebook Collections can supplement it with some cool things that your platform doesn’t do.
No technical “integration” required. None.
We, eBooks.com, already have your ebooks – processed, optimised and ingested – stored securely in a technology stack that’s uniquely designed for supplying ebooks to libraries. You’ve been working with us for years. You know that we know what we’re doing. You can just start using Ebook Collections today.
It’s a white label platform, hosted 100% by us, with your logo, colours and messaging. There’s nothing to spend in setting this up. We don’t need to deal with a developer on your end; there’s nothing for your developer to do but sit back and watch, slack-jawed while Ebook Collections does its magic.
How it works
Ebook Collections is a simple interface that enables a publisher to:
- assemble a group of related ebook titles into a collection, and
- set the price and usage permissions
Then you can start selling the collection. We do everything else.
- No hidden costs
- No setup fees
- No maintenance fees
- No minimum spend
- No charge for feature requests
- Just a weenie little transaction fee
- No lock-in. Cancel on a moment’s notice
- No development timeline. It’s ready now
- No project risk. It works beautifully
- Perfect for selling a course text to a library
- Perfect for sales to consortia
- Sell ebooks for permanent ownership or expiring subscription
- Read online plus download-the-ebook options
- Road test it. request a demo
So, for example, you might create a collection comprising all your aviation titles, or perhaps your entire first half output, and then add them to your sales agents’ product range. Your reps will then be able to sell your “Aviation” collection or “Summer Catalog” collection.
A great thing about Ebook Collections is catching opportunities. In addition to assembling a body of collections that are ready for sale, you can quickly – really quickly – respond to changes in the market or a fleeting opportunity.
This process is so simple that, in practice, almost half of the collections that are sold through the system are bespoke collections that were created in a few minutes for a specific customer.
If you get a call from a library who wants all your ebooks on cosmology, or a bank wanting a collection of ebooks about, say, social responsibility, then your answer is simple: “Yes. No problem. We have one of those. I’ll call you back in ten minutes.” That’s all the time it takes to assemble a collection, name it and price it.
If you want to, you can then make that collection available as a new product to your sales team. But at a minimum you just sold a product to a customer that didn’t exist 10 minutes ago.
A collection can comprise just one or two titles, or your entire list, and anything in between
Textbooks: an unexpected feature
The versatility of the system means that publishers have been experimenting. It turns out that Ebook Collections is a perfect platform to sell course textbooks to an institutional library, securely. So we see a lot of “collections” being sold that consist of a single textbook, at a premium price.
Ebook Collections is a thin, transparent layer of technology that sits between you, the publisher, and your institutional customer. We provide you with a flexible platform, and then get out of your way.
We are keen for you to know as much as possible about adoption and usage of your titles, to enable you to calibrate your publishing, pricing and marketing efforts. As this business grows we’ll give you more and more insights into how, why, when and where your ebooks are succeeding.
Pricing structure that dreams are made of
Ebook Collections is so good, and so, so cheap that you are now forever relieved of the stress, the risks and expense of creating and maintaining your own platform. The more you use the system, the cheaper and better it gets.
The platform is improving all the time, with an exciting development program informed by suggestions from publishers, librarians and users.
- Free up your day: Empower your reps.
Ebook Collections will soon include a pricing policy dashboard that enables a top-level administrator in your organisation to set default pricing and access parameters. Once you’ve done that, you can enable a wider range of colleagues and partners in the field to create and sell collections of your ebooks, close textbook deals, etc. without constantly referring to you – and without the risk of them doing something uneconomic. Set it and (almost) forget it.
- Deep-dive data
The system already includes usage analytics, but we’re creating an analytics dashboard that will give you much more granular insights into how, when and where your ebooks are being used. Here’s your chance to drive that development: We think we know what you’d like, but just tell us what would be good, and we’ll build it in.
Book a demo
If you’d like to learn more or book a demo, just contact your account manager or ping us or email us here: firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re all ears.
Ebook Collections Q&A
How is Ebook Collections different from EBL and eBooks.com?
Ebook Collections is a fulfilment platform for publishers; it’s not in itself a sales outreach platform. It enables you, the publisher, to create products (collections of related titles) which you can then sell to institutional libraries, firms, schools or other organisations.
With this service (unlike EBL or eBooks.com), we’re not acting as a downstream aggregator or wholesaler, but instead as a platform provider. That role is made a lot easier by the fact that we already host the ebooks published by thousands of publishers, and the underlying technology infrastructure was designed specifically for distributing ebooks to institutions.
What does this platform consist of?
- Your (the publisher’s) management interface, where you can set policies, fetch reports, assemble a collection, set up new institutional customers, allocate collections to customers, and so on.
- The customer’s interface, where your customers (librarians mostly) can view and buy the collections that you have on offer, manage their settings, get usage reports, etc.
- The patron’s portal, which contains each user’s bookshelf, online reader app, search capabilities, etc.
Can we have our own logo, branding, etc?
Yes. The system displays your colours, messaging, logos and branding everywhere. It is an elegant white label solution. No other brand is visible to your customers or their patrons.
Can we enable a free trial for potential institutional customers?
Yes. That’s built in to your dashboard. You can easily define the length of the trial, set usage rules, extend or cancel the trial, etc.
Are there any special metadata requirements?
No. You don’t need to make changes to your metadata upload. Everything we need for ECs is there already in what you supply for eBooks.com.
There are some titles that I’d like to offer through Ebook Collections but not through eBooks.com. How do I arrange that?
If there are some titles that you don’t actually want to sell direct to consumers through eBooks.com, you can easily arrange it so that some of the titles you upload are tagged “Ebook Services Only.” That will prevent them from appearing on our retail portal, and they’ll only be visible within the Ebook Collections platform. Our production team will advise you on that when the time comes.
What’s the process? How do we get set up?
Contact us and we’ll get you up and running.
- Online demo
- Free trial
- Sign agreement
- You’re off!
It is very simple for you to start using the system because a) we already have your ebooks and metadata and, b) everything is hosted by us – so there is no software development or technical integration required by you.
How does eBooks.com charge for this?
We charge a simple revenue share, which gets better the more volume you put through. The fee starts at 15% of gross revenue and scales down to 5% for high volume. If you enable patrons to download ebooks (in addition to reading in their browser) there may be additional, minimal DRM fees from Adobe, which we pass on at cost.
How will Ebook Collections promote our titles?
Hmm… that’s not how this works.
ECs isn’t primarily a marketing channel. Not at present, anyway. It is not a place where librarians are offered materials from a variety of publishers.
ECs is a white label fulfilment solution for publishers, rather than a marketing channel. It’s designed to do two things:
- enable a publisher to create a marketable collection of ebooks, and
- provide the interfaces and technology for librarians and patrons to manage and use the collection of ebooks.
The step that typically sits between 1. and 2. above – finding customers and selling the collections – is in the publishers’ hands.
What devices can these ebooks be read on?
Almost anything except the standard Kindle. We support iOS, Android, MacOS, Windows, Kindle Fire… The same as eBooks.com and other ebook vendors.
Many readers, especially students and professionals, prefer to read borrowed ebooks in our browser-based online reader. This makes the process simpler for users and has the added benefit of avoiding Adobe DRM fees.
What business models does ECs support?
The three main ways publishers use Ebook Collections are:
- Create some core collections that highlight your output, and then give them to your sales team to sell in to institutions. Typically this would be subject-based collections, like “Life Sciences” or Language & Linguistics”, but publishers can get inventive with this.
- Create a collection of titles in response to a request of a customer. In this case, after the transaction, you can choose whether or not to add the collection to your product range.
- Sell a core textbook to a library at a premium price.
Can we control DRM and sales models?
Absolutely. The system gives you multiple options, many of which can be set once, as default settings. They can be modified on a case by case basis when you’re setting up a deal.
- Slightly more than half of the collections sold are sold on a permanent ownership basis, and the remainder are sold as recurring subscriptions.
- You control the pricing of your collections, and we provide a calculator (based on list prices) to help with this.
- DRM is in your hands — whether ebooks can be printed, etc.
What kind of organisation is this platform suitable for?
You can sell bundles of your ebooks to:
- Post-secondary institutions, universities & colleges
- Public libraries
- Government departments and agencies
- Healthcare organisations
How should we price a collection?
We ran some analytics on recent activity on Ebook Collections, and here are the results. The percentages shown below are the average discount that publishers apply, depending on the type of collection. When you create a collection, the ECs system calculates the total price of all the titles in a collection (the collection’s gross value). Then you, the publisher, can apply a discount to that gross sum. That gives you the actual price that you’ll put on the collection. Remember, you can sell collections to a library as either:
- An outright sale (perpetual ownership), or
- A recurring subscription.
Recent Output (Perpetual Sales) 14.2% discount
Many publishers create collections called something like “Winter 2018 Collection”, comprising their entire output for, say, the last 6 months, or the last year.
Subject-Based (Subscriptions) 77.9% discount
Typically subscriptions renew annually (though you can customise that). They comprise all the key titles in a specific subject area. You can add new titles to subscriptions as they are released.
Subject-Based (Perpetual Sale) 23.8% discount
You can sell a collection of your historic output in a specific category, and then sell the library regular “top-ups” of your subsequent output in that category.
Archive Collections (Perpetual) 29.4% discount
Archive collections can be very large, sometimes comprising the publisher’s entire historic output. The theme that emerges is:
- For a subscription, you might charge a quarter or fifth of the sum of all the retail prices in the collection (the gross value).
- For perpetual ownership, consider charging 70% to 85% of the gross.