Building customer trust
As an indie bookstore, Publisher.co.za prides itself on empowering all self-published authors by offering them an easy platform through which to sell their work and by eliminating the hoop-jumping so typical of the distribution chain. We are equally committed to building customer trust by protecting book buyers against poor quality products. So how do we do this? How do we make it easy for authors to sell and safe for customers to buy?
Simple. We’ve introduced a quality rating system to guide customers in their book-buying choices. If a title in our store features the “Quality Assured” stamp of approval, buyers can rest assured that it has been vetted by our team and meets acceptable quality standards.
How it works
All books that are submitted for listing in the store are briefly evaluated by our team members in three critical areas: 1) Writing and editing; 2) book interior formatting; 3) cover design. From our experience, books that meet these three criteria from a quality point of view also tend to have solid content. This is because most authors with solid content are more likely to invest in professional production. Let’s examine these three areas more closely:
- Writing and editing: Words are the building blocks of books, so using them correctly is vital. During evaluation, three chapters are selected at random and evaluated for basic things such as use of language, editing and proofreading (or lack thereof). This is not a reflection of the actual content (or story) – only a thumbs up that the text itself is of good enough quality to ensure a pleasurable read.
- Book interior: No one enjoys reading a book with a font that’s too small, too distracting, too cramped, or too poorly printed. When we evaluate the interior, we look at layout, font, readability of the text, design elements, printing quality and paper type to ensure that readers have a pleasant and easy reading experience.
- Cover: People do judge a book by its cover. A poorly-designed book cover with over-used or uninspiring Microsoft Word fonts is usually a dead giveaway that a book has not been professionally produced. When evaluating covers, we look at the design and the printing to ensure that the book is attractive and durable, and accurately presents the content.
Each Publisher.co.za team member gives the book a score for these categories and the grand total determines whether the book meets our criteria to earn a Quality Assured badge. Now book buyers need no longer worry about buying books with great looking covers only to find that the content is poorly written, badly presented or difficult to read. The entire package must come together to earn our Quality Assured badge.
If your book is listed and does not display our Quality Assured badge, get in touch with us – maybe we can offer some feedback as to why, and put you in touch with our friends in publishing who can help you improve the quality of your book for your next print run.
While not yet in action, this is a proposed accolade we are thinking of introducing. The Editor’s Choice award takes the assessment one step further: the full book is read and judged on the quality of the content – the final criteria for a truly good book – and shows our ultimate stamp of approval.
Unfortunately, due to the extra time needed to read the full book, if we introduced this award we would also need to request a small reading fee from authors who wish to have their book considered for it. If earned, this seal of approval – our highest accolade – would boost the book’s image considerably. You would also earn the right to display the Editor’s Choice badge in your promotional material.
Applying for Editor’s Choice consideration does not guarantee the award – the award is given on merit – so authors should bear this in mind.
Email us your thoughts on our quality initiatives and whether you would like us to introduce the Editor’s Choice award.