The Australian bookstore chain Dymocks has just announced that they are shutting down their vanity press subsidiary. There is a notice on the D Publishing website that informs visitors that operations will cease on 25 March 2013, and authors currently participating in the program have received an email notifying them of the change.
Dymocks was rather opaque on their decision, though it looks to me like it just wasn’t profitable. “We learned a lot about that market and those customers but unfortunately the constraints of the platform and business model meant we couldn’t fulfil the vision,” Dymocks managing director Steve Cox told BRW. “It was a difficult decision but we’ve decided to focus on areas that are core to what we do. The investment required to left the site to the next level at this moment in time is not an investment that we think it’s right to make.”
Dymocks launched D Publishing in December 2011 in the hopes of cashing in on the growing number self-published authors, but unfortunately that group did not turn out to be sufficiently naive. Far too few were willing to make the mistake of overpaying for the privilege of being published in the Australian market.
And that is not a error on my part; D Publishing launched with a distribution network that included only Google Play Books as well as Dymocks’ own ebookstore and bookstore (for paper books). There is no current mention of D Publishing distributing beyond beyond those 2 stores, so I think they never did expand their distribution network.
As I look over the D Publishing website I have to say that I am amazed that the service existed this long. Dymocks charged ridiculous prices (and required authors to hand over all rights) but offered very little in return.
Dymocks couldn’t even promise to get an ebook into the major ebookstores, and yet they demanded exclusive rights and charged authors $400 for the privilege. No wonder they failed.