Books, thoughts, and other random disasters from Claire Ryan

Cunable by the Numbers

Author: Claire Ryan on May 26, 2013 Found in: Books and Publishing, Editorials, News

Much has been made of a new service called Cunable. Here’s their description, in their own words:

Calling it self-retailing, Cunable allows all authors, those with or without an existing publishing relationship, to sell from their personal websites. By removing the barriers from retail distribution, Cunable eliminates the retailer channel and strengthens an author’s relationship with their fans, and vice-versa.

Details on the site itself are rather thin on the ground, but we have a bit more from Kevin J. Anderson’s blog.

A Point by Point List

Here’s what I have been able to determine.

I guess I’m being rather pedantic about the whole ‘selling from the author’s site’ thing, but accuracy is important to me. In order to make this claim, I would expect Cunable to integrate into an author’s site, for example – or at the very least, open up in an iframe on an author’s site.

This is not necessarily a black mark against them. It’s the web developer in me talking.

What You Should Know

This is a new service. There’s a lot we don’t know yet, and a lot of questions I’d like answered.

First of all: this doesn’t look like a scam. It’s novel, but legit. It actually looks like an interesting idea, if anything – it suggests that Cunable will act like a basic version of Amazon that adds on to an author’s site (though I’m still hoping for some kind of full integration).

Secondly: it’s got a lot of potential, if they add a number of what I would consider to be essential features.

I figure most of this is in the works already.

So here’s what it looks like to me right now: it’s a turnkey ecommerce solution for traditionally published authors. Will it be appropriate for self-published authors? I honestly don’t know, but I suspect not at this point. The indies tend to be all about control, and Cunable currently doesn’t offer much control.

If they develop this platform, and if the stats they provide are more detailed than Amazon’s, then I fully expect this to become a standard on every author’s site. It’s a good idea, and a good business model. It’s just not very well developed at this point in time.

I’m going to be watching this one, and I recommend you do too. Give John Grace (the guy behind the idea) a while to work on it, and we might see something pretty special in six months.

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