Having gone through the rigorous process of writing, editing, proofreading, and formatting your book, it is now ready to be published and you have opted for the self-publishing method rather than put yourself through another rigorous process of getting it traditionally published, well then, you have to get a publishing company or website that can get you self-published.
40% of e-books sold are self-published books, which also are outselling print books and making up the 40% of books sold in general. This has placed self-publishers on a pedestal with traditional publishers.
If you are wondering if self-publishing is right for you or if you are unsure if you want to stick to traditional publishing, this article will highlight the benefits of self-publishing your books in e-copies for e-readers. We will list the various publishing companies that serve independent authors.
But first, let us understand the two major types of publishing services that exist.
- The Retailer:
A retailer is a publishing company that sells books through its retail store exclusively example Amazon. Although, some of these companies sometimes partner with other retailers for the distribution of the books.
- The Aggregator:
The aggregator takes the whole responsibility of publishing and retailing the e-books on its platform and also distributes the books to other online retailers and libraries. This is beneficial to independent authors in that it gives the author a wider reach and avoids the hassle of formatting the book to suit each publisher’s guidelines. It also helps the spread of the book to channels that the author may not on their own breakthrough.
The lists below are companies that an author can publish with.
This Apple publishing e-book retailer is the second biggest retailer of e-books and gives unique benefits to its authors. They offer 70% royalties for books and do not have an exclusive distribution contract. This allows authors the flexibility of having free books or discounted offers whenever they chose. iBook may price each of its books differently in the various countries it sells depending on the comparable prices of books.
You must have a Mac device to enable you to publish directly to iBooks or go through an aggregator.
Kindle Direct Publishing
Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) which is owned by Amazon publishing and retailing service offers books that can be read on kindle devices or devices that have the kindle app. It is beneficial to independent authors through its marketing program that gives authors a platform to largely discount and promote their books. This also makes the author’s book available to Kindle Unlimited subscribers with additional payment for the number of pages subscribers read.
Unlike several other publishers who prefer the EPUB format of books, Kindle uses the MOBI format for e-books and pays 35% to &70% royalties to authors who are on the book price list. Take note that Kindle Direct Publishing is not the same as Kindle Select on Amazon which allows you to exclusively sell your book on Amazon with access to countdown deals, free promotions on Kindle, and enrollment in Kindle Unlimited.
MindStir Media Publishing
The company offers full publishing services that include editing, cover page design, printing, e-book conversion, distribution, publicity, and marketing. Authors who publish on MindStir retain their exclusive publishing and copyrights, with book distribution to over 30,000 wholesalers, booksellers, and retailers across 100 countries.
This is also an Amazon publishing platform where books are printed on demand when a customer places an order. It is a platform for print books that are retailed exclusively on Amazon and allows authors to make their books available to both offline and online retailers such as Barnes & Noble.
Amazon gives customers a better purchase experience by linking the paperback and digital versions of books while publishing them.
Kobo is an anagram book publishing service that offers an app and a device for e-books. When you publish your e-book with Kobo, it is made available to readers in over 190 countries and runs with the American Booksellers Association through its Kobo eReading Program. It also runs partnerships with several other e-book retailers in several countries. Its royalties rate range from 45% to 70% which depends on the book price.
Blurb has an interface that inspires confidence in its marketing and designs and is best for books with visuals and photos. It is a popular self-publishing company with amazing book formats.
Barnes & Noble Press
It is a self-publishing service for e-books that was formerly known as NOOK. It also offers print-on-demand books that are published on Barnes & Noble Press but have most of its sales in the US. They retail books published with them only at their physical and online bookstores. Their royalties range from 40% to 70% depending on the price of the book.
This is one of the oldest self-publishing companies online that are known for their digital and print books, and also for their distribution. Lulu offers formats of hardcover and paperback from print books, they also retail and distribute books through their bookstore and other online stores. Although their e-book conversion, publishing, and distribution are free, they sell services such as book editing, book marketing, and cover design.
This is a popular aggregator for e-books that distributes e-books to several high-ranking retailers including Barnes & Noble, iBookstore, and Kobo, but does not distribute to Amazon. Their e-book formatting guidelines are extensive to enable easy conversion to the various formats that the retail companies require.
Smashwords takes 15% on books distributed and sold through other retailers and 10% on books sold through their own retail channel.
IngramSpark was established by Ingram for self-publishing services and is the world’s leading distributor of print books which it distributes to over 39,000 online retailers, bookstores, and libraries across 150 countries.
They offer premium-level printing that is useful for books with many pictures. They also publish hardcover books, offer authors the option of book returns, and charges 53% commission on bookstore sales, and 30% on online retailers.
This is a new self-publishing company that prices 10% of the retail price per copy and distributes to iBooks, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookmate, Scribd, and a few other platforms. It works with over 4,500 publishers, connecting over 400 stores for books.
It offers an option to own all of your royalties for a fee of $100 per month, which is profitable for established authors, and has an international distribution retail that gives independent authors access to readers across several countries.
Bookbaby retails books through their Bookshop, and also distribute to other retailers. They offer services like cover page and interior design, editing, and marketing which can be purchased as a total package or as individual packages. It also engages in print-on-demand which generates 10% to 30% royalties.
They pay 100% royalty for e-books after the deduction of the retailer’s commission, but sales made through Bookshop earn 85% royalties.
Draft2Digital is a distribution service that distributes to all the major e-book retailers including Amazon, and formats e-books for free. Their charge which depends on the retail price is 10%.
When using an aggregator, Draft2Digital gives authors Universal Book Links for easy access to their books, good customer support, and has a user-friendly dashboard.
There are several other ways to self-publish and sell books for authors, which also includes publishing and selling directly to your readers, fans, and customers from your web page. You can also use Gumroad or crowdfund platforms like Inkshares and Unbound to directly pitch or post your book or book proposal with a set funding goal to create a campaign for support. If your goal is met, the company will take up the project to edit, design, publish, distribute and market your book.
Now that you know the various e-books and self-publishing companies available for independent authors, you might be compelled to use some or all of them. Here are a few pointers on which platform is best for self-publishing
- It is preferable to publish directly to Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing as it dominates 80% of the e-book market. It is easier especially if you are a new author to access the marketing features available on Amazon and earn higher royalties.
- To sell print copies, use Amazon CreateSpace, IngramSpark, Bookbaby, or Lulu because they all offer print-on-demand copies and distribute them to all the major e-book retailers.
- It is best to try the various major retailers of e-books for your self-published book.
In the long run, what is best for your book would depend on what you as an author and writer want for your book. Note that book retailers are the storehouses through which you sell your book to the world.