Someone emailed me about a new ebook website, asking if I knew anything about it. The site in question is and I have to say I’ve never heard of it before. From what I could find on Kindle boards and such, it’s a pretty new site that is rumored to be started by two Canadians. However, Mark Coker posted something in the Smashwords updates that said that if “it rhymes with Tomato” not to trust them, though he does not explain why. Other than that, I’ve been unable to locate any real complaints (except that books must be uploaded by chapters rather than as a whole manuscript), but I haven’t found any real praise either, so I wondered if anyone had any experience with Bookmato, and what your advice would be to someone who was looking into it?

15 thoughts on “Bookmato?

  1. bigwords88 December 6, 2010 / 1:03 pm

    Not encouraging news, though hardly bad – the post on Absolute Write makes it sound just like any number of similar sites. I can’t really see the point of using an untried site in a market full of established contemporaries which are striving for greater author profits, better UI’s, and increased hits.

    • Joleene Naylor December 7, 2010 / 9:50 am

      Yeah, that was sort of my take on it, too.

  2. Maureen Gill December 6, 2010 / 1:51 pm

    Hi Joleene; I looked into Bookmato several weeks ago and decided it was more trouble than it was worth because it offered no great advantage and was a pain in the butt. For some reason that I can’t quite fathom, the site requires the individual upload of chapters vs. a ms file. January Moon has almost 50 chapters and yeah — like I’m going to upload 50 chapters… sure. Good grief. My to-do list is already screaming at me. I just checked back at the site this morning, 12/6/10, and see they have 696 books and 20,000+ chapters… who the hell counts chapters? What does that mean to me? Nothing; that’s what. It’s like buying music per chord or melody (“hold that harmony, I’m just here for the first three chord progressions and some melody…”). However, that said, I think it may have appeal to someone who wants to throw a few samples out there and test the waters & get feedback. I can’t see any other benefit.

    What I think bugged me the most (well, it was at least equal to having to upload per chapter) is their weirdo pricing structure — having to to with tomato or lettuce points or whatever (Bookmato? What were they smokin’ when they thought of that? I see a BLT with too much mayo and some dusty book pages layered in… ). Anyway, the whole system of commerce is built around “mato points” (I’m not making this up) and delivery of the “book” (and thus the cost per mato point) is tied to how many “words” you want to read. As an example a book I just looked at a few mins ago has 5877 “free words” out of a total word count of 69,413 and you can “buy” the rest of the book in 1,000 word increments for “5 mato points” per increment or purchase the whole Tomato Enchilada for 315 (I assume 315 mato points) or $3.15.

    I can’t get my mind around that; I took Math for Morons in college (artfully devised for the humanities majors who would never have graduated otherwise) and so this was way tooooo much for me deal with; it’s like some Horrible New Math for Engineers who Write Books. I believe in the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid) which is why I adore Smashwords and then next, as a far second, Amazon (my ranking is based on user-frienliness and then reporting). I’ve been much less impressed with B&N’s PubIt (which I believe I already wrote about; I opted to let SW’s take me over there instead of doing so myself — they can deal with B&N and not me, which I like much better).

    I wish Bookmato success (despite my snide remarks) because I know they’re going to appeal to someone (696 people anyway) and I’m all for a proliferation of self-publishing options. In all fairness, I need to recognize it’s a very new site and probably evolving — so who knows? They may prove me the fool when in a year books are flying out their cyber door and authors are harvesting a bumper crop of tomotoes. If that’s the case, I’ll eat the proverbial Big Tomato and say “Well, who’d a thunk?” (Whole wheat, extra bacon please.)

    It won’t be the first time.

    A year ago I thought ereaders were “ridiculous” and now my Kindle functions like my own portable life support system; we are never apart.

    So, don’t take it from me: go check out that Big BLT yourself! 🙂

    • Joleene Naylor December 7, 2010 / 9:53 am

      Yeah, I looked into it some and saw that you purchase by the chapter. I think this might be a good option for short story collections, perhaps, and I wondered if that was not the reason SW isn’t working with them, since smashwords uploads don’t work that way, I really can’t see how the documents could be cross compatible.

  3. Ruth Ann Nordin December 6, 2010 / 2:19 pm

    The problem with these new sites is that you aren’t buffered if they turn out to be a scam. How do you know you’ll get paid the royalties? It’s not tried and true, and sadly, an indie author can’t afford to take that kind of risk. I not only got an email from Bookmato but EZRead as well. They both require an upload chapter by chapter, which I agree with Maureen, is a huge pain in the butt for an author to have to deal with. Who does have that kind of time? Four kids, a backlist of 20 titles, and readers asking when the next book will be out? There’s not enough time in the day to do all this. I don’t like the chapter by chapter system. It’s easier to upload one document and be done with it.

    I ignored Bookmato and took a look at the author contract (which I had to ask for, they didn’t volunteer it which my father-in-law says is a red flag) for EZReads. The contract didn’t look bad, but who would enforce it, esp for the indie author? That’s the problem. Anyone can draw up a contract. Something about it didn’t seem ‘right’ to me, so I told them that I’m sticking with Amazon and Smashwords.

    If these sites are legit, then I’m thinking Smashwords will pick them up in the future, and when they do, we’re already with Smashwords, so where’s the harm? I see Smashwords as the online bookstore gatekeeper, vetting out the good from the bad to protect indie authors from being scammed. You want to believe that these online bookstores are legit, but can you afford to lose royalties just in case they aren’t?

    I think this says it best: When in doubt, don’t.

    • Joleene Naylor December 7, 2010 / 9:54 am

      I’ve missed EZReads, but sounds like it’s just as well!

      Thanks for the insight!

  4. Sarah Ettritch December 6, 2010 / 6:14 pm

    Thank you! When I read Mark’s comments at Smashwords, I didn’t have a clue what store he was talking about.

    New eBookstores are springing up all over the place. Everyone wants to get in on the action. For now, I’m sticking with Smashwords and Amazon.

    • Joleene Naylor December 7, 2010 / 9:55 am

      Yeah, it’s just like all of the multiple formats floating around. The list is extensive and it makes my brain boggle.

  5. Alannah Murphy December 6, 2010 / 7:14 pm

    You know, just the name puts me off, seriously, you think they would have given that a little bit of thought? Thanks for the heads up.

    • Joleene Naylor December 7, 2010 / 9:56 am

      Yeah, I thought the name was kind of weird. I liked Maureen’s idea about a BLT 😀

  6. Stephannie Beman December 6, 2010 / 8:57 pm

    I’m with Maureen and Ruth with this one. I recieved the email a few days ago, looked into it and was not impressed. Too much work for an already overworked person.

  7. Peter January 26, 2011 / 3:53 pm

    Hello, I am Peter from Bookmato. I heard about this blog post from my friend and I think there are a few things I need to clarify:

    1. Yes, we are a very new site but we have a big dream and the passion to achieve it.
    2. Our credit. In general, for a new start-up Internet business which doesn’t have huge money in the safe nor is backed by some giant companies, its credit can only be proved by time. You may not trust what we are saying, but you will trust what you are seeing. We are aiming in the long run and we will stick to our plan and try our best to make it. If you don’t trust us right now, I hope you could bookmark our site and come back later. I have confidence that time will show our credibility.
    3. Someone say bad words against us? I really don’t know why. Did he provide any evidence we cheated our users or made a fraud? I bet not because we never did and will never do that. Then I will just leave it as a competitor’s curse. Of course, on the other hand, we will improve our presence and functionalities to prevent any future misunderstanding.
    4. Our by chapter uploading and selling system. From the start, our plan is not to build just another e-book store. Actually we are building an Internet based platform for a new interactive writing model and serialization publication. It gives authors the flexibility to publish and sell/share their in-progress work. Thus we have to manage books by chapters to enable this feature. And of course you can still sell/share your finished work. With our by chapter uploading system, the fun part is that you can compose online. Before you start a new book, you can browse our site and see what kind of plot and topic people want to read in the community. Once you start writing, you can upload your newly finished chapter online instantly without completing the whole book and obtain immediate feedback from readers to improve your writing in the run. You can start from free sharing and only ask for money when your work hits a satisfactory popularity. You can revise it or drop it fast enough when you find readers feel bored of it so the risk of writing a book is dramatically reduced. When you finish your work, you can edit your book according to what you have learnt from readers in the serialization stage and grab some ideas about its commercial potentiality which will be handy when you are considering publishing it in paper format in traditional book market.
    5. By the way, if you have a finished book actually you can upload your manuscript as a single word document to our site. Our staff will help you organize it according to our system requirement. But if you are happy to use our chapter editor, then you are given full control of formatting your books. We organize books on our site in the same manner so that we can provide standard and consistent reading experience to our readers.

    Thank you all for your inputs. They are really helpful to us as valuable feedback. We will improve our services to better meet users’ need. I am sorry that as time is limited I cannot explain our model thoroughly here. If you have further questions, please drop by and send an email to our support team.


    • Ruth Ann Nordin January 26, 2011 / 11:43 pm

      Thanks for explaining some things. The problem we come across is we hear so many horror stories we get wary if someone knew shows up. I also understand your side of it. It’s not easy to start out when you are dealing with a group of places that look like legit bookstores but turn out to be frauds. There’s a trend going around where a bookstore that looks legit but stole the book cover image, the book bio, and maybe the sample they found off a site like Smashwords. Then they turn around and act like they have the book for readers to buy. I can only guess what these places do with the credit card information they get, but the readers have reported not getting the book. It’s stuff like this that scares the authors. We aren’t buffered by an agent or publisher, so we have to do what we can to protect our work. That’s not to say we don’t deal with piracy.

      I admit I didn’t take a close look at Boomato, so I didn’t realize the chapter by chapter set up was also for current works in progress. That’s actually a good idea and something I’ll look into.

      Thanks for taking the time to leave this comment. I’ll repost it so others can read it.

    • Joleene Naylor January 27, 2011 / 8:08 am

      Thanks so much for taking the time to stop in and comment about this! We really appreciate it, and hope the site is doing well.

      The chapter by chapter idea could be very intriguing for works in progress. I don’t know if you guys have been advertising that a lot, but you might give it a try as most ebook publishers don’t allow for in progress uploads. It could be a good angle that would set you apart.

      • Ruth Ann Nordin January 27, 2011 / 12:52 pm

        I agree. It could be a promotional tool for authors to reach new readers.

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