We have outlined below several issues that we feel would jeopardize our working relationship with publishers. The intent of this document and its contents are tripartite: to protect customers’ shopping experience, to promote the interests and business goals of all publishers, and to ensure that our team is protected from bad actors.
Our goals are to operate a fair, ethical environment where you can sell your titles and to have a professional relationship with you, built on trust, cooperation, and mutual respect.
For clarification, we have created a Medium article with further details: https://medium.com/oneblogshelf/onebookshelfs-recently-amended-conduct-guidelines-dfc073f9c954
Quality of Titles: The quality and content of your titles and cover images directly affects the quality of our store and our customers’ shopping experiences.
Please see our Product Standards Guidelines for details.
Pricing: We expect fair treatment on the pricing of your titles. Please price your titles as low on our marketplace as you do anywhere else; we understand that short-term sales on backlist titles can vary between stores temporarily (for up to a week or so), but having titles constantly reduced elsewhere for cheaper, or pricing them differently upon initial release, does not constitute fair treatment in our view. Likewise, including extra content for no extra cost in alternate versions made available only elsewhere is not fair treatment.
Release Schedule: We expect that if you create a title that you wish to sell at our store, you will release that title on our store within 24 hours of releasing it elsewhere.
We expect that once you release a title on a particular date, you will not try to manipulate or maximize marketing exposure by re-creating or re-releasing that same title at a later date. Any unethical manipulation of site features or algorithms to get more front-page exposure for a title is unacceptable.
Links: We ask that you put a link to our store on your website. In turn, we offer consumers a link to your website from each of your titles’ product description pages. We currently allow some links to social media and news sites, which can be seen under “See More” above Description on the “Edit a title listing” tool page for any title.
Aside from the links described above, we do not allow external links on title product description pages. An exception to this rule is that titles listed only within the Publisher Resources category may contain external links to a license or licensing guidelines or to external reviews in their descriptions.
You may not add links or suggest even vaguely that customers should go to other websites to acquire or purchase your titles.
If you have any questions regarding links within product descriptions, please feel free to contact us by email (at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Trade Dress: We expect publishers to respect one another’s trade dress, designs, and motifs. It is not acceptable to copy the look and feel of other publishers’ titles.
Front-Page Flooding: Please do not flood the front page of our site (under New Releases) with many releases on the same day. Not only does flooding the front page in this way use all your “new release” marketing clout up at once, but our research indicates that publishers typically see more sales from regular releases over time than from a large group of them launched all at once.
We will attempt to back-date any more than two (2) titles released on the same day. If you would like to release several titles at once, please notify us so we can adjust the release dates for you.
Reviews: Publishers may not review their own titles or those of other publishers. Similarly, people having a professional relationship with a publisher, such as authors or illustrators, are also barred from leaving reviews of associated publishers’ titles.
Sending complimentary copies of your title to an alternate customer email that you have created so that you can review your own titles is also not allowed.
We periodically check for publishers who abuse our marketplace review system and have suspended publishers from our marketplace for such abuse.
Note that titles listed under the “Publisher Resources” category or any subcategory thereof are an exception to this rule and may be reviewed by publishers or contributors, since such titles are meant to be purchased by other publishers.
POD Process and Print Proofs: When you upload new files for print-on-demand (POD) to a title listing, once they are approved, you must order a proof copy of your title, at cost, to make sure that everything is working as intended.
After your POD title is activated, if you make changes to the print files and upload a new version, then that print format of your title is deactivated automatically. Without exception, you must go through the entire premedia process again, regardless of how minor the changes to your files, and you must then order a new print proof before we can reactivate your title for sale.
Treatment of Staff: We do not expect our staff to deal with publisher clients who demonstrate abusive or threatening behavior, whether personal or professional, either in business communications or on social media.
We consider any of the following behaviors to be grounds for immediate closure of a publisher account:
- Threats of physical harm or violence
- Threats to disseminate or share anyone’s personal information on the internet
- Threats or derogatory comments that are homophobic, sexist, or involving other forms of discrimination based on a person’s protected characteristics
- Inappropriate comments or insults regarding religion, culture, or race
Social Media Behavior: We know we are not perfect. When we make mistakes, we hope that our publisher clients will bring it to our attention first. Publishers who make derogatory or defamatory statements on social media about OneBookShelf or our staff may be subject to modification or termination of their publisher account.
Hostile Marketing: Our policy regarding potentially offensive content (see Product Standards Guidelines) reported by customers is to deactivate such titles while they are being reviewed. Publishers who deliberately court controversy by making public declarations or accusations of censorship resulting from this process in order to draw attention to their products will be considered to use hostile marketing.
Publishers who direct or support public accusations of impropriety or censorship toward OneBookShelf when their controversial titles are rejected or removed from our marketplace will also be considered to use hostile marketing.
This behavior will not be tolerated. We have adopted a strict one-warning policy for those who engage in hostile marketing: The first incident will prompt a warning, and after a second incident, their accounts will be removed from our site permanently and immediately.