My online store is back in business again. You can find it right here.
You might remember that I had planned to dismantle the store and only offer free downloads there. As is so often the case in this market, I’ve changed my mind, and here’s why. First off, I discovered that disabling the payment options at the store meant that it didn’t work at all. If payment options aren’t enabled, then you can’t even download free stuff. I’d disabled them because all the content there was free, so that was an oopsie on my part. Selz isn’t a portal designed for delivering free content, so in hindsight, this makes perfect sense. Several of the popular portals designed for delivering free content don’t work for people outside the US (ha! Like me!) so reconfiguring my existing store was the simplest solution.
I’d also disabled the payment options because they require me to pay a monthly subscription fee. That’s okay if I’m selling content and can cover the cost as an expense, but when the content is free, it made little sense to me. (I didn’t realize the store wouldn’t work at all without them.) So, now that the payment options are enabled again, the content for sale is back, too.
I could have just put the PDF’s – like the family trees – back on my website, but several other cool changes have happened since I put the store on hiatus a few months ago, and those changes meant the store was a good solution. First of all, Selz now integrates with Facebook. You’ll be able to shop from my store on either of my Facebook pages, either Claire Delacroix or Deborah Cooke. See? The Store is on the tab under the banner, after Timeline and About. Click through and you can shop from within FB. I think that’s very slick!
Also, Selz now offers the Send to Kindle app which I’ve enabled at the store, so this should mean that those of you who read on Kindles won’t have to figure out how to sideload content. Anything you buy in my online store should be delivered right to your Kindle for you to read. This is also pretty cool.
There are still a couple of challenges that are ongoing. One is sales tax calculation and submission for other territories. Ugh. If you remember, the EU began requiring ALL parties to submit sales tax for each territory in the EU last summer. (There are a lot of them!) There’s no way I’m undertaking that kind of paperwork, so for the moment, the store is configured for sales to US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand only. I’m hoping that the EU – or at least the UK – comes up with a better solution for small businesses that sell online (like me!). Fingers crossed that we can open up in other territories soon.
The other challenge, which is the calculation of shipping costs from me (in Canada) to you (wherever), remains a bit complicated. Shipping calculators are scarce for these kind of store facilities – those with look-up tables that give accurate results seem to be part of custom store software. For the moment, this is partly solved by restricting the territories of sale at the store, and partly by my listing bundles of books for sale instead of individual titles. The bundles come out to weights in the same price class this way. The postage should work out pretty well for US and Canada, but when you order through the store, I’ll let you know if you’re getting a refund or need to pay a bit more. I don’t make money on postage, but I don’t want to lose money on it either. The book bundles include a tote bag, too, and are similar to the show specials that I offer for booksignings. I think this is a good compromise and hope you do, too.
So, what’s in the store?
• Free downloadable PDF family trees
• Free downloadable excerpts for upcoming books, in both EPUB and MOBI
• Signed print copies of my books for sale, specially priced in series bundles
• Downloadable audiobook samples, which are MP3 files. You can listen to these 5 minute samples online here on my site or my Soundcloud page, but if you want to download them, they’re in the store.
• Digital copies of my books for sale. Although I’m loading the same individual titles you can buy at major online portals in my store, I’m also including content that isn’t available everywhere. There’s going to be more of that. For example, the new $14.99 boxed sets which are available at Kobo and iBooks – The Coxwells Boxed Set, The Prometheus Project Boxed Set and, coming in February, The True Love Brides Boxed Set – are in the store now. If you want a MOBI version of any of these boxed sets, you’ll need to buy it from me. 🙂
Also, I’ll be moving some content into the store that I’d like to price below $2.99US or which is already below that price. The individual Dragon Legion novellas are currently on the move, and will soon be available individually only from my store. The Dragon Legion Collection will remain in wide distribution. An Elegy for Melusine, Kinfairlie Knights, Highland Heroes, and Harmonia’s Kiss will soon be available exclusively from my store.
Check back tomorrow for more about my plans for the store!