Where to Sell Your E-Books Online
An Overview of Retailers and Wholesalers Who Distribute E-Books
E-Book sellers are the sales channels that bring your e-book to the reader. If you are considering self-publishing an ebook for profit versus fun, distribution through these retailers are critical to your book's success.
Of course, you may be familiar with some of the major e-book sellers, but there are a number of different retailers and wholesalers in the marketplace.
All of the e-book sellers below offer digital books for sale. Some, like Amazon and Barnes & Noble, also have self-publishing services, built to seamlessly interact with their distribution arm.
Some, like Baker & Taylor or Gardners, are book wholesalers bringing digital books into a specific marketplace.
If you are paying a self-publishing service to do the digital uploading to e-book sellers for you, you might check to ensure they are uploading to at least the major players and check out the niche booksellers to see if they fit your target market for your book.
If you're using a DIY platform such as Smashwords and uploading your books yourself, keep in mind that each of these e-book sellers may have different technical parameters for uploading and you should check with each one individually for their respective e-book specifications.
Major eBook Sellers
- Apple iBookstore: The Apple iBookstore is the conduit for content for Apple's tablet, the iPad. Their iOS operating system is compatible with other Apple devices (Mac computers, iPhones), as well.
- Amazon.com: Amazon is the largest online book and e-book seller (as well a the largest online retailer for everything else). Amazon sells e-books in the format for its own e-reader, the Kindle, and also provided publishing with Kindle Direct Publishing.
- Barnes & Noble: The largest brick-and-mortar bookseller in the U.S., Barnes & Noble made a name in the e-book marketplace with its NOOK e-reader. You can also publish through Barnes & Noble's publishing program.
- Kobo Writing Life: If you want to be available through your participating independent bookseller, you'll want to upload to Kobo. Begun as a Toronto start-up, Kobo was purchased by a Japanese corporation and is a global e-book seller. In 2012, after the fall of the Google e-bookstore, Kobo struck a deal with the American Booksellers Association to be the official e-book seller for ABA independent bookstores. Customers of indie booksellers such as Powell's or R.J. Julia can purchase e-books through their favorite store's website, and a percentage of the profits are provided to the local store.
- Reader Store: Is the distributor for e-books compatible with the Sony Reader.
- Scribd: Scribd boasts "the world's largest digital library," and is not just for books, but for essays, white papers, short stories, and other short form written work.
- e-BookPie: Allows readers to buy an entire book or just "slices" of content and uses the example of travel books as instances where you might not want or need the entire book, but just a chapter or two.
- Copia: Copia differentiates itself by features that allow "social reading." The Copia app (which it claims is compatible with almost any device) allows the reader to "write" in the margins of the e-book text and share the marginalia with other readers of the book. It seems to target university communities though there are obviously broad applications ranging from business to book groups.
- Baker & Taylor: Mostly known for as a wholesaler into the bookstore and library market, Baker & Taylor is a supplier of digital content to libraries on a proprietary digital media circulation system called Axis 360, and to be used with Blio ereading software, which was developed to work across Windows, Android and iOS devices. It's notable that the system conforms to the American Disabilities Act, making the content fully accessible to the blind and other print-disabled people.
- Gardners: Much like Baker & Taylor in the United States, Gardners in the United Kingdom distributed digitized content in a number of formats. Note that Gardners has a number of parameters for publishers (and this would include self-published authors) to get their titles listed.
- eSentral: For those who want to go global, eSentral is an ebook seller serving Southeast Asia.
Once you've got your ebook firmly ensconced with ebook sellers, the next step is to promote your book so people want to buy it.