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By Stuart Woods
November 17, 2009
5:40 PM

Filed under News

Shortcovers partners with ACP, Smashwords to offer thousands of new e-books

In an effort to increase its e-book offerings, the online retailer Shortcovers has finalized separate agreements with the Association of Canadian Publishers and Smashwords, the U.S.-based publisher and distributor of independent e-books, that will bring to market thousands of new titles.

The ACP partnership will be the first opportunity for many Canadian publishers to experiment with selling e-books. As part of an ongoing initiative through its Canadian Publishers Digital Services, the association has already digitized thousands of titles from more than 40 participating publishers. However, the release of those e-books to Shortcovers was delayed while the ACP sought preferential trading terms for its members.

According to Michael Tamblyn, Shortcovers vice-president of content, sales, and merchandising, ACP members are being offered the standard publishers’ agreement. (Tamblyn wouldn’t confirm the exact terms of that agreement, but Q&Q reported this summer that they include a 50/50 revenue split.)

The partnership is part of the e-retailer’s strategy to expand globally while still focusing on regional markets. “We’re starting to see different purchasing behaviour between Canada and the U.S.,” says Tamblyn, noting that the U.S. market is skewed more toward mass-market and commercial fiction. “What we’re seeing develop in the Canadian market is more literary in character.”

Alongside of the ACP’s offerings, Shortcovers will make available roughly 2,500 works drawn from Smashwords’ catalogue, which comprises e-books from self-published authors and small publishers. Smashwords’ authors and publishers, who set their own e-book prices or make them available for free, will earn royalties of 46.75% on each sale.

Those titles will be made available in the 189 countries where Shortcovers has a presence, and they can be downloaded for smartphones (such as the iPhone, BlackBerry, Palm Pre, and Google Android) and e-readers (such as the Sony Reader) that support EPUB files. “We’re finding ourselves literally all over the world,” Tamblyn says. “There is this huge hunger for books available for download in international markets.”

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