It doesn’t matter how good an eBook is, if you are unable to distribute it. Increasingly, writers look for more avenues to publish and distribute their books. Almost everyone thinks beyond just the Amazon™ Kindle™ store. Why wouldn’t one? Although Kindle still remains one of the biggest names, the other major eBook stores have massive audiences as well,
As a seller you shouldn’t rely on a single eBook store for all your business. Also, there can be many circumstances when one isn’t able to sell on the kindle store. Sometimes the Kindle store itself can undergo technical down times – during these times, you should have an alternative to the Kindle store.
There are many advantages of selling your eBook on multiple stores:
● Your don’t have all your eggs in one basket. Many times an eBook might not be successful on the kindle store, but it might do great in other store. Discoverability on these platforms are driven by algorithms, and algorithms are imperfect.
● You get more choice. For instance, you get an option to choose a stores that have lower fees. Kindle might be the biggest store in the market and can bring you new audience. If you already happen to have an active following, then there’s no reason why you should prefer Kindle over a store which would charge you less fees overall.
● You want more control. You have complete control when you sell your eBook through your own website. This also saves you fees. Why give a cut from your sales when you can keep 100% of the eBook amount. The amount of flexibility and control you get from selling through your own website can not be matched by the Kindle store, or any store.
There are pros and cons of each platform, and you want to list on all of them. We know the Kindle store is great. Here are some other popular channels for promoting and selling eBooks online. We look at strengths and weaknesses of each.:
1. Apple™ iBooks™
Apple iBooks is a great alternative for the Kindle store. It is very easy to publish your books using iTunes Connect. Apple gets more than 10% sales in the US and UK market. The users also have the option to send your eBooks as a gift to someone.
Kobo has an innovative edge over the Kindle store. One of the main reasons is that Kobo is mainly focused on the eBook category. It also gets greater than 7% sales in the US and UK market. Kobo readers get a separate Adobe Digital Editions download option too. It also gives coupons from time to time for promoting the store. Authors are also able to self publish their eBooks using Kobo’s Writing Life .
3. Books on Google™ Play™
There is no doubt that Google is one of the most well known brands in the world today. It can give you the option to reach a wide & global audience. Google play books also allows you to set pricing according to geographical regions. You can also set metadata which will help with the discovery of your eBook on search engines. Google play books also allows you to promote your eBook through ads. Google Play Books can turn out to be a new distribution channel that you might be ignoring till now. Overall you can’t go wrong with listing on Google.
4. Sell directly from your own website
Nothing can beat the flexibility and control you can have by selling your eBook through your own website. You also get to build and grow an audience through your website. Overall selling your eBook from your own website is the most profitable option, as you don’t have to pay any fees to anyone, beyond your payment institutions.
Marketing and promoting is critical to the success of writers. The same promotion strategy doesn’t always work for every eBook – having your own website allows you to do A/B testing and see which option leads to the most conversions. Sounds all too complex? It really isn’t, and many independent writers have made successful writing careers online, by learning a few simple digital marketing tricks. Luckily, we wrote an article that summarizes the most important things self published writers do to sell more eBooks online.
Unlike eBook stores, on your own website, you are not bound by restrictions and are free to promote your books as you wish. There is never any stress of getting your book unlisted due to any reason. Having a website makes it very easy to use paid ads in search engines and social media platforms for promotions. These could provide a huge boost to your sales. It will also increase awareness about you, and build your brand authority over the long term.
Selling through your own website might seem daunting at first but it is the best option. You don’t have to look back once you get started. It also helps you grow an audience for yourself and the traffic is going to be very targeted. Ultimately, it is the cheapest and the most flexible way to distribute your book. If you are actively looking for a website to promote and sell your eBook, and want to understand the features you will need, we will recommend checking out our guide that summarizes the key features eBook writers should include in their websites.
Which is the best alternative to the Kindle store?
It is straightforward – you want to list everywhere, including directly promoting and selling your books from your own website.
Final thoughts on distributing your eBook through the alternative stores
It is always best to have alternatives to protect yourself from being over reliant on a single source of income. While Kindle is still a giant in the eBook space, you don’t want to bet your writing career on one channel. Successful writers think in the medium to long term, and build multiple sustainable distribution channels. The internet is full of stories of writers who were left with no place to go after getting dropped from the kindle store for reasons ranging from technical glitches to outright bans. Diversification of your eBook distribution channels is like an insurance that protects your writing career & income from uncertainties.
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