When it comes to selling books, most people think of Amazon and Kindle. Although Amazon may be the biggest ebook distributor, it’s not the only option for indie authors.
- Ebay. An unconventional way to sell ebooks.
- Feedbooks. An ebook retailer designed for mobile reading.
- Google Play Books. Though the platform is currently not allowing new people to sign up, it’s still active. Last July, The Digital Reader reported on the new Literata font and the integration with Google Drive, which lets you sync notes and export docs as EPUB.
- iBooks. Apple’s bookstore for ebooks. If for some reason you need to unpublish a book on iBooks, Deirdre‘s got you covered.
- Kobo. Kobo’s Writing Life is specifically for indie authors. Kobo is now over 6 years old, and keeps adding new features to stay up-to-date, such as free ebook download tracking, book reviews, and book previews.
- Nook Press. Barnes & Noble’s ebook platform for indie authors.
- Publification. Write your book in app and sell directly.
- SendOwl. Not ebook-specific, but sells digital content directly.
For more information on how exactly to upload and sell your ebooks on the major retailer platforms (Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo), see my article “Ebook Distribution for the Indie Author” on EPUBZone.
- Aquafadas. Publish ebooks from InDesign.
- BookBaby. Distribute ebooks and print books.
- Books on Demand. Headquartered in Germany, that provides self-publishing and print-on-demand services.
- Draft2Digital. Converts files to ebooks and distributes to iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and more. Similar to Smashwords. Read David Gaughran‘s comparison of the two services. Deborah Jay also shares her positive experiences with Draft2Digital.
- Ingram. Distributes to major networks.
- Playster. Sells books, games, movies, and music.
- Pronoun. Distribute books to Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo, and get analytics.
- SELF-e. A library distributor that is meant to be more of a marketing tool, since they do not pay royalties.
- Smashwords. Sells ebooks on its own site and distributes to Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Scribd, and more.
- Vellum. Design and sell your ebooks.
Discoverability is one of the biggest issues indie authors face today. There are a number of companies working to help with that.
Print Distributors and Retailers
- CreateSpace. Amazon’s print-on-demand option.
- Ingram Spark. Also does print-on-demand books. The Independent Publishing Magazine provides an in-depth review.
- Lightning Source. POD for medium to large publishers. Just One More Writer compares Lightning Source with CreateSpace and Lulu.
- Lulu. An online self publishing platform mainly for print books. Lulu has a publishing advisor tool, print book templates, and children’s book making kits.
- Bookoutre. A digital imprint.
- Greenleaf Book Group. Works with authors to build brands.
- Outskirts Press. A full service press.
Lists of Ebook Distributors and Publishers
- BookBub offers a guide to all the major distributors.
- Book Publishing Software‘s list includes Diesel and NetLibrary.
- Electric Book Works recommends Issuu, Exact Editions, and Overdrive, among others.
- Helen Sedgwick provides advice on researching POD companies, including CreateSpace, Ingram Spark, Outskirts Press, and more.
- Publish Your Own Ebooks compares EbookIt, Fast Pencil, Xin Xii, and more.
- Sara C. Snider has a list of 10 distributors, including eBook Partnership and Publish Green.
- Savy Book Writers shares a list including Scribd, Books on Board, Indiebound, and more.
- Self Publish Ebooks recommends Awestruck Ebooks and Fictionwise, among others.
It’s hard to say how ebooks and the model for selling them will evolve, but there are a lot of exciting ideas. Publishing Perspectives has even said that we need innovation to increase books sales. Joe Wikert wrote in Digital Book World about downloading ebooks for free, but unlocking chapters by filling out surveys. Publishers can then earn money from the surveys.
Editor’s note: This post originally appeared August 2016.