Where Do I Sell A Self-Published Book?

Image by Peggy_Marco via Pixabay

Updated: 1/4/2021

I hear this question all the time, where do I sell my books?  This can be a complicated answer depending on the author. You see, many authors hate certain retailers like Amazon because they believe they’re the Evil Empire. Then, there are authors who will only publish on Amazon because they don’t see any point in selling elsewhere.  

Now despite what you’ve heard, Amazon’s self-publishing program Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), is not a traditional publishing company, it’s just a site that allows authors to upload their books directly to the Amazon store. Now don’t get me wrong, Amazon owns several traditional publishing companies but KDP isn’t one of them.     

Getting Your Ebook into Amazon, or Barnes & Noble

There are two ways to get your ebooks into major retail stores, you can do what many frugal independent authors are doing and that is upload your books directly, which requires another chapter to explain. 

However, in this chapter, I’m only going to explain how to find a service, (an aggregator) to upload your ebooks to most of the major online retailers.      

First, let me define what an aggregator is, usually, an aggregator is a piece of software or website that uploads your books (files) to retail stores according to that retailer’s specifications. For example, Amazon’s Kindle only reads files in .mobi while Barnes & Noble’s Nook only reads .epub files. It’s often necessary to use aggregators because word processing software like MS Word, don’t convert to these kinds of files. 

The most popular aggregator by far is Smashwords, which doesn’t charge an upfront fee, but they do take a 20% cut of your royalties. The second most popular aggregator is Draft2Digital, and the other is BookBaby. They all act as aggregators as well as distributors and most indie authors use these services to convert their files and upload them to various online retailers.   

If you don’t know who the major online ebook retailers are they listed for you below:

  • Amazon
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Apple
  • Kobo
  • Google Play

If you can get into those major shops, you’re pretty much set, but there are those indie authors who want their book available everywhere. They claim if your book isn’t available everywhere then you’re leaving money on the table which could be true if your book takes off. However, I don’t hear many indie authors being inundated with sales from sites like OverDrive or Scribd. Most self-published authors make the majority of their money with Amazon.

Selling Your Print Book Online and Off

The most popular place for self-published authors to get their books printed and distributed is Amazon KDP Print. It’s a print on demand publisher owned by Amazon and offers expanded distribution to all the major book stores for a percentage of your royalties.  

There’s also IngramSpark, which is owned by Ingram Content Group, one of the largest book distributors in the world and one of the few distributors that will take self-published books. They are the darling of book stores because they offer returns and returns are a must. That means if retailers can’t sell your print books, you will be getting them returned, shipping paid by you, the publisher.      

Unlike Amazon, IngramSpark has fees for uploading to their website and even catalog fees. However, if you want your book in brick and mortar stores or libraries, you’ll need to publish your print book through IngramSpark and not Amazon.  

Before choosing any print on demand service make sure they distribute to the major brick and mortar retailers like:

  • Barnes & Noble
  • Books-A-Million
  • Half Price Books

Now, these aren’t the only distributors for your books, but they are the most popular distributors that indie authors use. 

4 comments

  1. I went with BookBaby for the $249 premium and feel it was completely worth it, given the hassle of buying software and making multiples conversions, then jumping through the hoops of repeated submissions to the resellers. (Free software doesn’t cut it)
    They were easy to use, have a lot of added value services. Yes, corrections are expensive, but the fact is, no author should be submitting a work full of mistakes in the first place. Do the work, then have it converted.
    I also found a tiny perecentage of complaints about BookBaby vs. Smashwords and others, and of those some weren’t even valid.

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