Byliner acquired by Vook. Existing authors to get big royalty bump
Earlier this year, I wrote about my experiences with Byliner, the ebook publishing house that had fallen on hard times. As a Byliner author, I've been trying for the past few months to find out what the hell is going on with my book.
A few minutes ago, I -- and presumably everyone else published by Byliner -- got an answer. The company, including their backlist, has been acquired by Vook.
I'm still digging into the exact terms of the deal, but as far as I can tell, Vook is more of a publishing platform than a publisher. That likely means they won't be paying even the kind of modest advances that Byliner paid. But it also means that authors will receive an increased royalty of 85% of net receipts, up from Byliner's previous 50%. That's definitely a good thing for authors like me who have already done all the work for their Byliner book and are now just merrily banking royalty checks every few weeks.
I'll keep digging, but in the meantime here's the email from Vook CEO, Josh Brody...
Dear Byliner Authors & Partners,Today we are announcing that Vook has acquired Byliner. We wanted to share the good news with you first before issuing a press release. As the CEO of Vook, I also wanted to explain what the acquisition means for the future of Byliner and Vook.Vook was founded in 2009 on the cusp of a digital revolution in book publishing. Since then, ebooks have become a significant and permanent fixture of the marketplace. All digital revolutions are characterized by the speed and rapacity by which they upend analog models, and ebooks are no exception. As this happens, traditional structures get reorganized – in this case the structure between author, publisher, and reader – and opportunities emerge for new business models, services, and most importantly, creative endeavors.Vook’s publishing platform powers the world’s leading media companies and brands including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fast Company, and Thought Catalog. We create and distribute beautiful ebooks to Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Google, and Kobo, across 192 territories worldwide. Tracking 4 million+ books and billions of data points in the marketplace, our analytics power the marketing of the world’s largest publishers and media companies. We use this data to make informed decisions that drive real results for our publishing partners – pricing their books, getting them into Amazon’s Top 100 Lists, and getting them to show up in more search results.Acquiring Byliner is our first step towards taking everything we’ve learned from powering large brands’ publishing programs, and using it to directly empower authors to publish faster, market smarter, and keep more creative and financial control of their work.Byliner has established a boutique literary brand that stands out in an increasingly crowded marketplace. As Vook’s first in-house imprint, Byliner will continue to acquire and publish short-fiction and non-fiction by award-winning authors. Byliner authors will soon get access to Vook’s new set of tools and services, expanding distribution and marketing opportunities for their titles.As our first step towards giving authors what we believe they deserve from their publisher, we will be increasing your royalty rates across the board to 85% of net revenues. In the coming days, our team will be reaching out to you to answer any questions – and make sure you’re set up to receive your royalties without any delay.In the spirit of ultimate transparency, something we believe is still lacking in the book industry, we’ve included a question and answer section below.Welcome to Vook.Thanks,JoshQuestions & AnswersQ: Will Vook pursue Byliner’s subscription program?A: No. Vook is focused on publishing and promoting books to successful online retailers and maximizing the value of sales through those channels.Q: What are Vook’s royalty rates?A: At Vook, you keep 85% of your net royalties. There are no out of pocket costs and no hidden fees.Q: Will my books remain on sale in the ebook marketplaces?A: Yes. Your books are currently up for sale and will continue to be for sale without interruption.Q: Does Vook want to publish new titles I may have?A: Yes! Vook is very interested in continuing to publish new work from Byliner authors, either under the Byliner imprint, or under your own name. If you have any immediate ideas, please contact our Publisher, Matthew Cavnar, at [redacted]@vook.comQ: What about my backlist content that I have licensed to Byliner?A: Vook will be talking with authors and agents in the coming weeks about ways we can maximize the value of your work. If you’re curious to talk to us right away, you can reach out to Matthew at [redacted]@vook.comQ: Is there any way for me to track the sales and performance of my book with Vook?A: Yes! We’re currently customizing our enterprise tracking tools for Byliner authors. Vook will be contacting you with more information soon.Q: Who do I contact at Vook if I notice something about my book in the ebook retailers?A: Contact Vook’s distribution team at email@example.com. Please include ‘Byliner author’ in your subject line.Q: Who do I contact at Vook if I have a question about my royalty statements?A: Contact Vook’s accounting department at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include ‘Byliner author’ in your subject line.Q: What is Vook and where are you?A: Vook is venture-backed digital publishing company based near Madison Square Park in New York City.