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New World of Best Book Prices

Pros, Cons, and Eight Options
to Sell E-Books Direct
from Your Website


Who wouldn’t want to make more money by selling their e-books direct to readers? If you already have an audience this can be much more lucrative than selling on Amazon, Apple, BN, etc. Of course the operative word here is audience because part of the commission that these high-traffic online stores take from your sale is essentially a sales commission.

(Note: Independent Book Publishers Association members can also access my article in the October 2012 edition of the Independent magazine titled Selling E-Books Direct to Readers—Options and Considerations.)

Before we get to the 8 options let’s look at the pros, cons and considerations for selling direct to readers.


You keep a higher percentage of the sale.

You can charge any price you like.

You can offer bundles, i.e. print + e-book, for a discounted price.

You control how your book is marketed. (no competing offers or products)

Readers can buy immediately without having to visit or register on another site.

You get your reader’s email address (subject to your privacy policy, of course).

You can track where your customers are coming from.


Readers may not know how to transfer the book to their reading app which may cause a support headache.

There is no DRM (copy protection) for Kindle mobi files sold from your website. You can implement DRM for your ePub files but it is an extra cost and you need special store software.

You may need to collect sales tax depending on your local laws. This is something you need to research.

It’s more work to setup than uploading your file(s) to the online stores.

You cannibalize sales through your other stores. Fewer sales can mean lower rankings.

What to look for and think about:

Do you have one book, or many?

Do you have items other than e-books such as a print edition, merchandise, or audio/music files?

What is your expected sales volume?

How important are merchandising tools such as vouchers, gifting, or the ability to use payment methods other than PayPal?

How do your needs match up with the pros and cons above? For example, if you insist on using DRM you cannot sell Kindle-compatible e-books and you’ll be limited in your choice of ePub selling tools.

How technical are you? Some options may require programming skills.

Do you want your customers to have access to their purchases after the initial download?

What kind of analytics are you looking for?

Does the vendor have their own store where they will feature your e-book?

Is there any integration with social media networks such as Facebook?

Where is the company based? Since you are dealing with financial transactions you want to make sure they operate subject to U.S. laws.

Do you want to offer your customers the ability to store their purchases indefinitely so they can return to download other formats or re-download a lost file?  

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