If you are currently on the self-publishing journey, you have probably researched the main competitors dominating the market (BookBaby, Ingram Spark, etc.). While there are a wealth of options sprouting up on the internet, these companies are not all created equal. Most smaller companies can only provide services for authors who have ready-to-publish work, or charge “a la carte” for each additional service. This is perhaps the biggest reason BookBaby has dominated the self-publishing industry for the last decade. It provides services from proofreading and editing, to book design, to book marketing once your manuscript hits retailers. While Bookbaby’s strength has been its inclusive packages, hidden costs and lengthy time frames end up counterbalancing those seeming advantages.
The newest competitor on the market, BooxAI, has taken note of the pros and cons of the current self-publishing industry and seeks to innovate through an AI/in-house team collaboration to get your books published more efficiently and affordably. Manuscripts will get first-pass editing and formatting using state-of-the-art algorithm technology, which will then be double-checked by the BooxAI team for any overlooked errors. The hybrid dynamic of AI and in-house team editors promises to greatly reduce turnaround times and labor costs.
Can BooxAI compete with its top competitor? Here’s how BookBaby and BooxAI compare:
Upon first glance, the pricing of BookBaby is comparatively high. But taking a closer look, BooxAI promises all of the same services in all three tiers in comparison to BookBaby’s packages – with the only difference being in inventory requirements (something that many independent authors and artists may actually consider to be a plus).
Express vs. Basic
The lowest tier (BookBaby’s Express package and BooxAI’s Basic package) has the most striking difference. The two packages are the same except for two components: BookBaby offers 25 softcover books and includes the eBook version, while BooxAI does not. This is because BooxAI is a print-on-demand only self-publishing service – research has found that independent authors who purchase physical copies ahead of demand end up with inventory gathering dust; BooxAI’s pricing is based on efficient “what you need, when you need it” services. Unlike BookBaby, which requires a minimum quantity purchase of 25 printed books in order to offer print-on-demand, BooxAI has no minimum requirement. (If you want to add an eBook version to BooxAI’s Basic package, that will cost you an additional $199, which still cuts your costs by about half in comparison to BookBaby.)
Complete vs. Standard
BooxAI’s middle tier “Standard” package ticks off all the same services as BookBaby’s “Complete” package, both offering Cover Design, eBook, Proofreading, Interior Formatting, Print-on-demand, and 2 ISBNs.
Premium vs. Deluxe
BooxAI’s full service top tier “Premium” package also promises the same services as Bookbaby’s “Deluxe” package, adding marketing packages to the middle tier checklist.
The Fine Print
Concerning the fine print – the package plans on BookBaby’s platform are starting quotes, which will vary based on the number of pages or images your book contains. For BooxAI, pricing remains the same regardless of the book size or the quantity of images.
Because BooxAI is in their beta phase of development, their packages are deeply discounted, with their premium bundle costing a great deal less than BookBaby’s middle tier package. Unless a low volume physical print of your books is important to your book strategy, BooxAI far outperforms BookBaby in pricing alone.
One of the ways BooxAI seeks to revolutionize the self-publishing industry is through offering a cross between self-publishing and subsidy publishing. BooxAI offers to handle outsourcing distributors on their platform so you can manage them all on BooxAI’s site – with BooxAI’s network discount. This means you will actually reap those benefits in payout – BookAI is promising 0% copywriting ownership of your material, and up to 70% back in royalties; comparatively, BookBaby only promises between 10-30% royalties, and this is because BookBaby manages distribution on your behalf, without including those expenses in their initial projected costs.
Book alteration and maintenance costs are an important aspect of the self-publishing route – whether you are outsourcing an editor or using the in-house services provided, this tends to be one of the most expensive parts of the publishing process. At BookBaby, you need to pay a $50 base charge plus $2 for every single typo. BooxAI only charges a flat $50 fee for submitting your new version of the book. What allows BooxAI to charge a flat fee is their labor costs – having AI do a first proofread greatly reduces time spent by the BooxAI editing team in corrections.
Both BookBaby and BooxAI offer distribution packages with the biggest retailers, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Baker & Taylor, BAM and Ingram Group. While a full list of partners is available on BookBaby’s site, BooxAI boasts relationships with “over 100 channels” without a full list available on their site. During BooxAI’s beta mode stage of development, they are promising current customers free access to their centralized distribution management platform (where authors can self-manage royalties and choose distributors directly through BooxAI’s site,) but there are no details currently available as it is still in development. Based on current functionality and visibility alone, it would seem BookBaby offers a more understandable and predictable distribution package. However, it might be worth becoming an early adopter of BooxAI while they are in beta mode, based on their penchant for deep discounting their newer services. Still, it remains to be seen exactly how BooxAI’s network will actually compare to BookBaby’s current partner list.
As with pricing, the addition of AI technology as an aid to production timing greatly reduces turnaround time for BooxAI customers. Even with pricier, more inclusive packages, BooxAI maintains an 8-12 day turnaround window, with Bookbaby’s editing, design and marketing services extending production turnaround into a several month-long process. The average process from manuscript to distribution is roughly 6 months, so if time efficiency is a big priority for you, BooxAI is the way to go.
Currently, BookBaby has a huge advantage as a top competitor in the self-publishing industry, offering their own in-house translation services with over 59 available languages, as well as editing and proofreading services for books written in Spanish. Currently, BooxAI only offers services in English – a huge aspect of the publishing services BooxAI seeks to expand moving forward.
All in all, there are some alluring advantages to publishing with BooxAI – namely, their pricing and timing comparisons to BookBaby – though with newer businesses, you have far fewer seller reviews to sort through to get a sense of what others’ experience with BooxAI has been like. As with any newer company, being one of their first customers can be an incredible way to build a life long business relationship, including having access to beta customer perks and discounts. The trade-in? A newer company like BooxAI has far less of a footprint to vouch for its credibility as a viable competitor. As BooxAI firmly establishes itself in the industry with proven results, it can surpass BookBaby as the leader in the next phase of AI technology-driven self-publishing.