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Summary:

Many self-published authors are still turning to literary agents to sell foreign rights to their books. In a move that could cut some agents out, Amazon now allows those authors to distribute their print books through European Amazon sites for free.

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photo: Flickr / William Christiansen

Many self-published authors are still turning to literary agents to sell foreign rights to their books. In a move that could cut some agents out, Amazon now allows those authors to distribute their print books through European Amazon sites for free.

Self-published authors can already sell their e-books on Amazon’s international sites when they use KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). Now, when authors upload those books to Amazon’s free print publishing tool, CreateSpace, Amazon will distribute the books to Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, Amazon.es and Amazon.it.

When consumers in those countries (or in the U.S.) order a CreateSpace book, Amazon prints it on demand. The books are available for same-day shipping and eligible for free shipping and Amazon Prime. (Amazon Prime, which offers unlimited free two-day shipping for a yearly fee, is available in the U.S. and UK and in Germany, France, Italy and Spain as “Amazon Premium.”)

Using CreateSpace is free, but an author’s royalty payment depends on factors like page count and color.

The books still won’t be in European bricks-and-mortar stores

Authors who distribute their books internationally through CreateSpace are only distributing them through Amazon sites. The books won’t appear on the shelves of European bricks-and-mortar bookstores. (Amazon does provide some expanded distribution options in the United States.)

And, of course, the program only applies to Europe for now. The books aren’t available through Amazon’s Chinese or Japanese sites, and they aren’t available in other markets where Amazon doesn’t operate, like Brazil.

Still, European access through Amazon might be enough to persuade some self-published authors to hold off on hiring that agent to handle foreign rights for now. Some authors, like bestselling romance author Barbara Freethy, are already self-publishing foreign-language editions of their titles. Today’s news gives them a little more room to expand on their own.

  1. Foreign rights through an agent usually involve the release of a book in a foreign language. While an author could use this new feature to release a foreign language version of their book, that could be costly because of translation costs. Most self-published authors will benefit from this simply because the buyers in Europe will have an easier time purchasing an English language version of existing or newly self-published books. The foreign language versions will probably still be negotiated through an agent.

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  2. T.L. Curtis Friday, May 18, 2012

    I have to wonder if I should get an agent or not. It seems like, in situations like these, it’s simpler to just for it on your own… -tlcurtis.us

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  3. This may sound encouraging to many writers.

    Fact is, most self-published authors using this service will be “lucky” to sell 10 copies in a year.

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  4. please email me info re printing my book in the US and UK. I have had problems getting into the US as a printed book. But my book Zio The Hero is on Amazon Kindle and in the Uk as a orinted book and e book. Thank you for your help.

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