While indie books and their authors are gaining a foothold in terms of legitimacy and popularity among readers, there are still few commercial champions of the indie movement. Ben Galley would like to change that, and with his new online marketplace Libiro dedicated solely to offering readers quality independent eBooks, he’s positioning himself to lead the charge.
Today I interviewed Ben about Libiro and here’s what he had to say:
Tell us a little about yourself. What is your connection to the self publishing scene?
Well hello! Thanks for having me. I’m a young author from the UK, and the author of the epic fantasy series – The Emaneska Series. Aside from writing books, I’m also a self-publishing consultant and speaker on the subject and run the advice site Shelf Help. I’m also the co-founder of the brand new indie-only eBook store – Libiro.
I’ve always been a huge advocate of self-publishing, and regularly campaign on behalf of my fellow authors. There are many reasons for this. It’s such an exciting time for authors. Self-publishing has brought about a lot of great change, and given us a lot. It allows us authors to keep creative control, it means we get to keep more of our royalties, but most importantly, it’s now a 100% valid career path. Self-publishing has allowed me to do the job I’ve always wanted to – be an author. How could I not be a big fan?
I love the concept of your new indie digital bookstore Libiro. What sets this store apart from the big dogs of the ebook retailers (Amazon, iTunes Bookstore, Kobo, etc.)? Who is Libiro designed for?
Thank you very much. I am immensely pleased with Libiro, and myself and co-founder Teague are really excited about what we have in store (pardon the pun) for the future. There are several things that set Libiro apart from other eBook stores. We’re indie-exclusive for a start, which means we only stock books by indie authors and small presses. We also provide a great 80% royalty to all authors, which is (on average) 10% more than other stores. Libiro is designed to be a platform for authors – both showcasing their talent and also giving them a dedicated space to help them stand out. It can be hard to do that at the big stores like Amazon.
What benefits do readers have to shopping at Libiro?
We may be author-centric, but it’s not all about the author at Libiro – we focus on the reader too, as they’re a very important ingredient. What we try to do is inject a little of that local bookshop feel into everything we do, which can be hard to find on the web. Libiro is designed to be a fun and enjoyable place to shop, as well as a place where readers can find the best of indie talent. I’m hoping that this will erode that stubborn old opinion that all self-published books are low quality. There’s a lot of stigma out there, and I want to fight it.
What benefits do authors have when they list their books on Libiro?
Aside from a fat royalty, authors will find us to be friendly and very author-centric. It’s not just the authors that are indie – we are too. We aren’t tied to a large conglomerate, which means we can be agile and focus on the little details, doing whatever is best for the author. After all, one of the founders is an author!
Authors can set their own price, run as many promotions as they want, and change any detail whenever they please, safe in the knowledge that they will always get that 80% royalty. We take books from all over the world and of any genre (as long as it fits our content guidelines of course!). Authors also get paid monthly, so they don’t have to wait for those all-important royalties. I’m also pleased to say that we’ll be adding author dashboards in the new year as well, making it even easier and convenient for authors to control their content and pricing.
Beginning an enterprise like this is extremely risky. What inspired you to take the plunge into the ebook marketplace?
Essentially, because it was high time somebody did! Libiro was an idea I had a year or two ago, and the demand for it has only grown. It’s time that indie authors were given a dedicated space and offered even higher royalties. So it’s a case of the old adage – if you want something done properly, do it yourself! I knew that it would be a lot of work, and it has been, but it has been so very worth it, both for the industry and for the authors. Myself and Teague have found ourselves a great team, and we know we have a chance to do something big with the store. Hopefully Libiro will set a precedent, and change a few minds in the coming months!
It’s still fairly early, but how has the response been so far?
In a word – incredible. Both authors and readers seem to really like what we’re doing, and they have both been incredibly supportive. In 3 months since our launch, we have amassed a catalogue of over 400 books, and the numbers just keep on climbing. I can’t wait to see what happens in the new year.
What are your long term goals for Libro? What do we have to look forward to?
Author dashboards will be the first step for us, and after that we have a few clever ideas such as forums and learning centres that will help new authors publishing correctly. We’re also going to be looking at providing more formats so we can satisfy a wider audience. Essentially, we’re just set on growth, and lots of it!
You have the last word sir, what is it?
I’d just like to take this opportunity to say thank you for reading about me and my ventures. If you’re a self-published author, or just want to find out more about indie literature, then Libiro welcomes you with open arms!
About Ben Galley:
At 26, Ben Galley is a young self-published author from sunny England. He is the author of the epic and gritty fantasy series – The Emaneska Series. He has published four books to date, and doesn’t intend to stop any time soon. Ben is incredibly zealous about inspiring other authors and writers. He runs the popular advice site Shelf Help, where he offers advice about writing, publishing, and marketing. Ben is also the proud co-founder and director of eBook store Libiro, a store exclusive to indie authors. If you want to know more, Ben can be found being loquacious and attempting to be witty on Twitter (@BenGalley) or at his website www.bengalley.com.