When you think of self-publishing, Amazon is often first in mind, but there are more profitable options. For those who are hesitant to bring more profit to Amazon’s coffers, consider working with companies like Barnes & Noble Press, Apple Books, or Rakuten Kobo. You may wonder why anyone would not want to market on Amazon. After all, it dominates the book market by accounting for over 80% of all book purchases.
Because it is so popular, you are guaranteed to sell your books. You can even sell both digital and printed versions if you wish. Also, with Amazon’s KDP Select program, you receive exclusive benefits, including marketing features and joining the Kindle Unlimited program that pays you for each page read. It sounds ideal, right?
It is ideal for many, but not everyone benefits from Amazon’s offers. For one, KDP can limit earning potential. Success with KDP depends solely on the popularity of your genre. This mandated popularity leads to oversaturated markets, which ultimately means fewer chances of exposure for your content.
Choosing KDP Select can prevent you from publishing your book elsewhere, making Amazon your sole publishing income. The first 90 days of your book’s digital launch belong only to Amazon’s marketplace and hampers your chances of extreme profit. Afterward, Amazon tacks another exclusivity clause requiring you to have no more than 10% of your content posted anywhere. This includes personal blogs.
Authors often have books listed on other platforms, like the few listed above, because they do not require exclusivity. Barnes & Noble Press (B&N Press), for example, allows authors to publish elsewhere. Like Amazon, it provides a market for digital and printed books. B&N Press continues to innovate and deliver positive changes for authors, like strengthening new authors’ marketing campaigns.
Apple Books is also an excellent alternative to Amazon. It offers better royalties than B&N Press for most books, 70% versus 65%, which marks it competitive with Amazon. Apple Books makes it easy for self-publishing authors to get their books on the market with its platform, iBooks Author. Like Amazon and B&N Press, it is free to upload your books.
Another platform to consider is Rakuten Kobo, also known as Kobo Writing Life (KWL). This company is not as known in the US because it is a Canadian company whose parent company is Japanese, but it is still a strong starting point for authors. KWL is a platform to publish through if you want to expand your reach to international levels. Like Amazon and Apple Books, its royalties are at 70% for most books. The caveat is KWL offers print and audiobooks only.
When publishing on multiple platforms, it is easy to get overwhelmed. Many authors use aggregators like Draft2Digital or Smashwords to track the sales reports for them. These services often require a minimum of 10% commission per sold book, but authors believe them worth the price because they distribute your self-published books to multiple platforms at once. This is optional but highly recommended.
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