The growth of eBook sales and the use of 3rd party distributors for fulfilling print orders reduced demand for traditional small press publishing software; such as AnyBook, Publishers Assistant (and Cats Pajamas), that were focused on processing orders, invoicing stores and inventory management.
Edwin Fager of Kensai International recommends that new publishers start with;
- Microsoft Office 365 with Word and Excel.
- For financial management Intuit’s QuickBooks Pro or QuickBooks Online Plus is recommended if publish only eBooks books and print on demand (POD) titles. QuickBooks Premier Desktop is recommended if you also printing physical books.. QuickBooks Online Plus will generate the IRS 1099 MISC forms required for reporting payments to freelancers (editors, designers, proofreaders, etc.).
- OnixEdit title information software to manage title information and transmit it to distributors such as Amazon, Ingram, Barnes & Nobles and Kobo.
- EasyRoyalties is royalty software that will calculate royalties and generate royalty statements.
The total cost is about $900 USD (Microsoft Office $100, QuickBooks $200 ($350 for QuickBooks Pro), OnixEdit $100, EasyRoyalties $500).
Why QuickBooks? QuickBooks is the most popular accounting software for small businesses. In the United States it has a 90%+ market share. Most CPAs recommend QuickBooks to small business clients. QuickBooks is easy to use and expandable. Their optional payroll service can pay employees and file your payroll tax returns. The QuickBooks Online version is perfect for startups with staff that work from different locations.
OnixEdit is an affordable title management system for storing bibliographic title information; title, author, page count, short description, long description, BISAC codes, etc., and transmit it to retailers (Amazon, Barnes & Nobles and Kobo) and book distributors (Ingram, Baker & Taylor). Enter title information in OnixEdit and export it to EasyRoyalties, or enter information into Easy Royalties and export it for importing into OnixEdit. After you have 100 titles or more look at the Firebrand Eloquence product that will transmit your information to over 200 trading partners.
EasyRoyalties is an affordable and powerful royalty software solution. Their client list of 200+ publishers in 17 countries includes publishers with 20 to 3,000 titles. Several Clients have grown from 50 to over 800 ebook titles in just a few years. If you outgrow Easy Royalties you can migrate your data to a more powerful solution; such as Klopotek or Virtusales. Support is provided from offices in New York and London.
Cyberwolf’s Acumen is a fully integrated ERP solution that offers accounting, sales, marketing and royalty functionality in one program. Acumen has an optional POD module that submits POD orders automatically to your POD services. Acumen can seamlessly integrate with Ingram’s Distribution Services – electronically transmitting orders to IDS and receiving shipment confirmation. You can also download sales from other distributors; such as Bookmasters, NBN, Publishers Group West or Perseus Distribution Services. With Acumen’s eBookDownloadService you can sell DRM protected eBooks direct to your customers.
Virtusales offers extensive title information, editorial project management and royalty & rights functionality via an affordable hosted solution. You can use Virtusales for its publishing functionality and the accounting software of your choice for financial management.
What’s the difference? ACUMEN Book is focused on accounting, inventory and sales order management. while Virtusales is focused on title information, editorial and production management. ACUMEN Book is client server software while Virtusales is a hosted solution. Both are solid solutions for a press with revenue of $2M+ USD. You can use AcumenBook for sales and Virtusales for title information management.
Royalty Functionality Comparison
|Easy Royalties||Med||High||Yes||High||Email & Phone|
|Publishers Assistant||Low||Low||No||Low||Email & Phone|
Power refers to the royalty rules and royalty statement formatting options supported by the software.
Rights refers to whether the solution has functionality or a module to manage rights licensing transactions.
Updates refers to how often the “royalty functionality” is updated with new features.
Though AnyBook does not provide customer support, it does provide extensive documentation and in-program help. The AnyBook website states: “We are able to offer AnyBook at a very low price because we don’t have to maintain a phone or email support program. Just to repeat. We don’t provide support. That being said, however, we do provide you with an outstanding array of tools to help yourself.” DashBook provides free support via email. Easy Royalties provides support from their offices in New York and London. Publishers Assistant provides telephone support for a $35 per month fee with a one year commitment.
AnyBook is designed for small presses and self-publishers, it generates invoices and billing statements, keeps track of inventory, handles book returns, produces sales reports, generates royalty statements, records customer payments, tracks consignment items, and creates mailing lists.
Opinion: We like AnyBook for its large feature set and low price. You will need Version III ($239 for single user, $269 for multi-user networked version) to generate royalty statements. Anybook does not offer telephone or email support. The software comes with extensive documentation and in-program help.
Cost: $299 to $3,999 USD
DashBook is a royalty software solution for small publishers. Optional sales order processing module is available for managing your inventory, preparing invoices and statements and tracking sales data. Optional modules are available for reserves for returns and QuickBooks integration. Free 30 day trial version is available.
Cost: $500 to $18,000 USD with customers in 17 countries
EasyRoyalties is an affordable and powerful royalty software application for small to medium sized book publishers with 20 to 5,000 titles. It can handle complex royalty contracts. You can import authors, titles, royalty contracts and sales and and export payment information to your accounting software. You can start with a small 50 title license and upgrade it as your title list grows. Optional modules for rights and permissions management.
That’s Rights! and EasyRoyalties have over 400 clients in more than 17 countries. Clients range in size from startups to established publishers with sales of $60M+.
A free 30 day trial version is available.
Opinion: Start with a 50 title system and upgrade your license to 100, 200, or a 1000+ title license as your company grows. Publishers use EasyRoyalties with QuickBooks, Dynamics GP, MAS90, PeopleSoft and SAP accounting software. Free telephone support and online training for new clients. Upgrade to more powerful solutions from Klopotek or Virtusales when you outgrow EasyRoyalties.
Cost: $49.95 one-time to $420/year
Used by publishers with with 1 to 100 titles. Handles royalties, commissions, consignment, inventory, review copies, backorders, standing orders and other issues specific to the publishing industry. The single user version is $49.95. Unlimited telephone support for just $420 a year.
Publishers Assistant’s Publisher Assistant Web Services product provides publishers a turnkey ecommerce ready website and their Couplet software generates Onix title information files.
Download a demo of the Publishers’ Assistant software free of charge.
Web Site: www.pubassist.com
Cost: About $25,000+
ACUMEN Book is for “well financed” startup publishers. This integrated ERP application handles accounting, inventory, royalties, sales and marketing in one solution. Acumen has optional modules for on-line credit card processing, ecommerce, digital distribution, subscriptions, telemarketing and more. ACUMEN can integrate with Ingram’s Publishers Distribution Service. ACUMEN Book is used by over 180 publishers with revenue ranging from $1M to $50M. You can start with a small 2 user system and grow to 10, 20 or 50+ users.