eBook Retailers and Distributors
There are quite a few eBook retailers on the Internet. Many of them are unknown or only have a small group of consistent customers. Some of them are much bigger and are tied to specific devices or print book retail chains. In addition to selling your eBooks on your own website and using it as a hub for your content, we highly suggest that you upload your eBooks to as many other retailing sites as possible and use distribution options when they are available. Visibility is important, and some readers will only frequent certain retailers.
Don't forget that we offer eBook conversions into all of the major eBook formats.
Retailers Open to Anyone
If you are an author or a publisher with a small number of titles, you will find that your options for distribution are somewhat more limited than those of a large publisher if you try to approach each retailer individually. The eBook retailers below allow anyone to upload their content, regardless of the number of titles or their status as a publisher. Note that each site may support different eBook formats.
- Amazon’s Kindle Digital Publishing (Kindle Store)
- Formats: Mobipocket files only, with or without DRM
- Amazon sells more eBooks than any other eBook retailer (60%-70%, by most counts), and it has one of the largest collection of titles available. Combine that with a growing ecosystem of devices and software reading options, and you have a great place for authors and publishers to sell their content.
- Royalties: 70% if your book is priced between $2.99 and $9.99 and is opted into text-to-speech and other options; delivery charge based on size of file uploaded applies. 35% for all other titles. Royalties are paid each month for the previous month.
- Watch a video tutorial detailing how to upload your books into the Kindle platform.
- If you have a small work, you might consider submitting it to the Kindle Singles program.
Barnes & Noble
- Apple's iBookstore is open for authors and publishers to upload their own content. You must have a Mac computer to use the iTunes Producer program to upload the files. Also, the signup process can be a little bit intimidating. If you are unable to use Apple's system because of those limitations, some of the other retailers on this page are registered aggregators to the iBookstore. We usually suggest utilizing PigeonLab because their system is easy to use.
- B&N's upload service is called PubIt!. PubIt! is similar to the Amazon KDP, and gives users the ability to upload ePub files, so the high-quality conversions that we apply will not be lost through an automated conversion process. The system also accepts Word, HTML, RTF, and TXT documents, which will be auto-converted to the ePub format.
- Kobo's self-publishing service is called Kobo Writing Life. Just like Amazon and B&N, Kobo's self-publishing portal allows you to upload source files like Word documents, or finished ePub files. While only taking a small part of the market in the U.S., Kobo is very popular internationally.
- Google's eBook store allows readers to purchase PDF and ePub versions of your book, protected by the Adobe DRM. Their eBook store is part of the Google Books Partner Program. Here is a page explaining the system.
- ePub, PDF, and Microsoft Reader (.LIT) formats, with and without DRM.
- Lulu is well-known for its Print On Demand (POD) services. They take a cut of your sales, and may charge an additional fee if you use the DRM option.
- Smashwords-specific Word document, styled according to the Smashwords Style Guide (auto-converted into 9 different formats), or ePub files with the appropriate Smashwords-specific langauge on the copyright page.
- In addition to selling books at its own online store with the lowest fee of any retailer listed here (only 15%), Smashwords also makes its catalog available in Aldiko and other non-standard locations.
- The Smashwords Premium Catalog offers authors and small publishers a way to distribute their titles across a variety of retailers, including Apple's iBookstore, the Sony eBook Store, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and others. Since some of those retailers are normally closed to individuals, the opportunity to get an independent title up for sale with them can be helpful. However, be aware that the automated formatting of Smashwords' books (done with a tool they call the "Meatgrinder") leaves much to be desired, and they have had problems getting their books distributed to some retailers (including Amazon) as a result of those quality issues. We suggest you upload the eBook files we create directly to a retailer whenever possible, or to Smashwords if you choose to use them as a distributor, so that you do not lose quality through the Meatgrinder automated conversion process.
PigeonLab: charges small percentage of each sale. We recommend PigeonLab for authors who are selling fixed layout eBooks, as their service is set up for the specific types of distribution required by those formats. For more information, please email email@example.com, call (415)496-6908, or visit www.pigeonlab.net.
BookBaby: This popular distributor provides eBook distribution to a variety of retailers without taking a percentage of each sale. Their fee structure is the lowest in the industry. eBook Architects clients get an additional 10% off the cost of BookBaby's services. Please see bookbaby.com/ebook-architects for more information./p>
If you have publisher accounts with retailers and are looking for a non-wholesale option, Firebrand's Content Services helps publishers of all sizes manage title records, files, and distribution from a Title Management application. Content Services allows publishers to create an eBook title using an easy-to-follow, web-based wizard, upload content just once to Firebrand, and then distribute it and its metadata to where it needs to go. Content Services also offers the opportunity to leverage your digital assets for Direct2Reader eBook sales and Book2Look (view inside) promotional widgets. For a complete description of these services, please visit: www.firebrandtech.com/solutions or contact Steve Rutberg.
These are the main distributors who sell eBook files to US libraries. They may be pretty locked down.
Most of these sites require that you have at least 10 titles to set up an account, so they are usually limited to publishers or prolific authors.
- Sony eBook Store
- Sony's Publisher Portal is open to small, medium, and large publishers. You can fill out a form on the website to be contacted about a publisher contract. No information is given about title number limitations. BookBaby will distribute files to the Sony store.
- Books on Board
- All Romance eBooks
- Romance titles in all sub-genres. Minimum of 10 titles, though some exeptions are made. They do accept self-published authors. Mobipocket (with DRM), ePub (with DRM), PDF (with DRM), eReader (with DRM), Microsoft Reader (.LIT - with DRM), HTML, PalmDOC, Franklin eBookman (FUB), Hiebook (KML), RocketBook (RB).
- Same company as All Romance eBooks, just covering additional genres. Minimum of 10 titles, though some exeptions are made. They do accept self-published authors. Mobipocket (with DRM), ePub (with DRM), PDF (with DRM), eReader (with DRM), Microsoft Reader (.LIT - with DRM), HTML, PalmDOC, Franklin eBookman (FUB), Hiebook (KML), RocketBook (RB).
- Limited to publishers with at least 10 eBooks to sell. Might also be open to authors with many titles and a good sales record. Only sells non-DRMed ePub files.
- No information about limitations or number of titles. Publishers must fill out a form to be contacted about the agreement.
The notable eBook sites below do not currently have direct retailing options available to authors and small publishers.
- Diesel eBooks — Distribution to this retailer through Lightning Source and Smashwords is available (see above)