Where should an author in South Africa sell their book from?
Should be a simple answer right?
Most large local bookstore chains frown on self-publishing authors knocking on their doors, attempting to crowd their already busy shelves. Tired of walking the street and smiling at anyone resembling a small bookstore owner it makes sense that authors are now looking online for access to new readers. Let’s take a look at the online options for our resilient Saffer author looking to spread their literary wings.
Are you an author who has one of those fancy eBook thingys? Why not sell your shiny new eBook on Amazon using the Amazon KDP platform for self-publishing authors?
An Author Website
Perhaps you have your own professional author website? This website helps you with the heavy lifting of attracting readers, enticing them to place orders for your books. A author website is a strong option for those of you wanting to launch a career as a fulltime author.
[YouTube Education: Find a clearer explanation selling books from your website.]
What happens however if you are an author without a website? What happens if those Utopian shelves of Amazon remain but a distant dream?
How about something a little more local.
Below is a written interview I had with industry expert Aziza Baradien from printondemand.co.za
The written interview focusses on how an ordinary author like you can get your paperback book sold from South Africa’s largest online retailer. TakeAlot.
Ready? Let’s go.
PS. Please leave a comment at end of the article to let me know if this helped you? 🥺🙏
Q: Give a short description of your business?
A: Print on Demand has been in existence for 7 years and is arguably the biggest technology digital printing company in Africa. Our focus being digital and inkjet print from 1 copy up to 2500 +, and providing client access to global markets. We also offer a variety of services including layout, design, indoor and outdoor branding.
Q: Are you the only business offering authors a link to the TakeAlot platform or are there others?
A: We are the only business offering Takealot with an on demand module, meaning that the titles are always in print and no more wasted time on shipping and expensive import costs. We are also partnered internationally with Lightning Source Ingram and through them we have access to a global network, including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Gardners, Book Depository, to name a few.
Q: How long does on average will it take to get my physical book listed on TakeAlot? (Once you receive my application and files.)
A: The process can be completed within in 5 -7 days. (Depending on how long client takes to sign the contract.)
Q: Will you accept and list titles from authors outside South Africa?
A: Yes, we have many international clients who have signed up with us to service the local SA market
Mind the Gate
Q: Can authors approach you directly to publish a book on TakeAlot?
Q: Does it matter if the author is self-published or traditionally published?
A: We have certain agreements with some publishers that if client has published with them, we will refer back to them. (Client must hold copyright in order for us to assist.)
Q: Do you accept any genre of book for listing on TakeAlot?
A: Yes, subject to title not containing content that may be considered blasphemy.
Q: Does that mean you will list my hardcore erotica vampire fiction trilogy?
A: Yes, this would fall under fiction, however our partners reserve the right to reject a title should it not meet their requirement. Thus far we have not had any such rejections
Q: Can you publish my hardcover book to TakeAlot too?
A: Locally we only upload paperback.
Q: Likewise Coffee-Table books or other image-heavy publications an option?
Q: Aside from my paperback, can you publish my eBook to the TakeAlot platform too?
Q: Will TakeAlot accept Audiobooks?
A: Takealot only accepts paperback however we are partnered with various other audiobook platforms
What Should an Author Have Ready?
Q: Does my book need an ISBN to be listed on TakeAlot?
A: Yes, each format must have its own ISBN
[Note from Dave: Need South African ISBN assistance?]
Q: What (book) files should an author looking to have a paperback listed on TakeAlot have ready?
A: Both cover and text must be supplied as print ready pdf’s, single page format, with 3 to 5 mm bleed.
Q: What metadata (info about the book) should an author have ready?
A: Title, ISBN, Author Name, Genre as per BISAC codes, Description, Publisher information if applicable, publish date, copyright date; keywords
Q: Do you have a specification guide for the cover and interior measurements or quality?
A: We can supply a template for design once we have print specifications
Q: Will my book interior exported from MS Word be accepted?
We would then need to refer to our design department to first quote for updating the layout and design from within Word.
Questions of Quality
Q: Does your company have any (pre-flight) checks to ensure the book interior and cover files I share are acceptable?
A: Yes, we have an automated workflow system built that will pre-flight and check artwork.
Q: If my book files are not up to standard – can you fix/ correct/ update them?
A: Yes we can, our inhouse design team will engage with client to quote on updating the files.
Q: Do the books ordered from TakeAlot, that are printed by you go through a QC process before being delivered to a customer?
A: Yes, each book gets checked by the QC department before being handed to Takealot
Q: Before my book is published live on TakeAlot do I receive a copy to approve?
A: An electronic proof will be supplied, printed proof can be supplied at an additional cost
Q: Are your printing machines able to handle special cover finishes such as UV Varnish or Foiling?
A: We offer lamination, UV varnish and spot UV
Q: For the books ordered from TakeAlot – What are the typical paper quality you would print? (GSM of the Cover and interior paper for example)
A: 80gsm Bond, 74gsm Creamy, 230gsm Cover Board
Q: What is the process (and costs) if I need to update my book interior or cover listed on TakeAlot?
A: It will costs R 250 excl vat per file. ie: R500 excl vat if both cover and text must be updated
Let’s Talk Royalties
Q: What is the percentages that an author will get paid on average from a sale of a paperback?
A: The royalties are not % based. This is determined by the selling price and print cost
Q: Who else gets a cut?
A: Takealot, based on selling price
Q: Can you give a royalty breakdown example on a book sold from TakeAlot @ R250
A: This depends on the print specifications of the book.
Royalty Example: 100 pages, B&W interior, A5, matt lamination. Royalty would be R 113.36 (already includes TakeAlots cut.)
Q: How often are authors paid their royalties?
Q: How often do authors receive sales reports?
Q: What is the process to cancel or remove my book from TakeAlot?
A: Written confirmation
Q: Is there any exclusivity clause if my book is listed by you on TakeAlot?
Q: How long is the contract between us binding for?
A: Client can cancel at any time but there will be no refunds if cancelled before 1 year has passed
Next Steps for an Author?
Q: What is the first step for an author looking to get their book listed on TakeAlot?
A: Contact us
Q: Who is the best contact person for the author at your company for the TakeAlot book listing process?
A: Email us (Bo1@printondemand.co.za)
Q: Do you have an online application form or downloadable application forms for authors upfront?
A: We are developing our own online system. We are in testing phase and will launch within the next two months.
Dave’s Thoughts on TakeAlot being a viable distribution option for authors?
Authors writing from our neck of the woods need all the distribution options they can to get. No single platform should be considered enough, rather an author looking to make an impact should consider publishing widely to maximise visibility.
- This means having your books on Amazon
- As well as other leading online outlets to satisfy the hungry international market
- TakeAlot can then provide the author an option for local readers who want to order physical books.
Does TakeAlot have it’s issues? Hell yeah it does. I often cannot find an author’s books even when searching for their name together with the book title. Or the lack of author profile on the platform.
However, every platform will have its strengths and weaknesses. TakeAlot simply provides our authors with an avenue to reach local readers. With relatively low barriers to entry, why not give it a go?