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Thread: E-publishers other than Kindle - are they worth it?

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    E-publishers other than Kindle - are they worth it?

    I am in the process of self-publishing my first novel. I am getting a limited number of printed copies done, and am also looking into e-publishing.

    I am wondering if it is really worth investigating platforms other than Kindle and Amazon. It seems that they have such a huge share of the market, I already have a Kindle version up and have had a few sales. I am working on the iBooks version now, but am even having second thoughts about that. I have heard about Nook and Kobo, but don't know much about them. As for Nook, it seems Barnes and Noble are pulling away from e-publishing at the moment..... Do other e-book retailers offer something that Kindle doesn't?

    Any advice would be appreciated....

  2. #2
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    I think readers are fairly loyal to their e-book sources - it's pretty rare for someone to shop at Amazon AND Kobo AND iBooks. So the advantage of having your book in all the retailers is just making sure your book is available to everyone, not just to the Amazon customers.

    But, yes, most of your sales will probably come from Amazon. In my experience, this is especially true for self-published books. My books with publishers probably sell 20-25% of their sales from different retailers, but my self-published books are almost all Amazon.

  3. #3
    Aerospace engineer turned writer Laer Carroll's Avatar
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    I tried them all at the beginning. In the end I closed out all but the Amz and B&N submissions. And most of my sales comes through Amz, so I'm leaving stuff up at B&N only through laziness.

  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW
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    Non-Amazon platforms typically take more promotion, more time, and more books to get any attention.

    So if you're starting with zero built-in audience like many self-publishers Amazon is likely to be 95% of your sales for a while.

    Also, you mentioned printing books. If you don't have a built-in audience for those, you're typically better off just using POD through CreateSpace or Ingram Spark rather than buying in bulk. Of the 95% of books you sell through Amazon, 95% of those will be ebooks.
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  5. #5
    practical experience, FTW WriterBN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lorcanmc View Post
    I am wondering if it is really worth investigating platforms other than Kindle and Amazon.
    As others have said, the answer is, "It depends." Some authors and books do well outside Amazon, others sell very little to nothing.

    You can always start out with KDP Select, and then, after the initial 90 days is up, go to other channels. It does take time to build a presence, though, and none of them offer the visibility for indie and self-pub authors that Amazon does.

  6. #6
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Shivana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lorcanmc View Post
    I am in the process of self-publishing my first novel. I am getting a limited number of printed copies done, and am also looking into e-publishing.

    I am wondering if it is really worth investigating platforms other than Kindle and Amazon. It seems that they have such a huge share of the market, I already have a Kindle version up and have had a few sales. I am working on the iBooks version now, but am even having second thoughts about that. I have heard about Nook and Kobo, but don't know much about them. As for Nook, it seems Barnes and Noble are pulling away from e-publishing at the moment..... Do other e-book retailers offer something that Kindle doesn't?

    Any advice would be appreciated....
    I'm sorry I can't offer any advice based on experience.
    I have heard about 'Smashwords' and while I have never used the site myself, it seems to suggest that they will distribute across all e-reader platforms. Not sure if they are reasonable or not in terms of return.
    Has anyone else ever used them? I'd be curious to learn more about them myself.

    As a side note. I don't buy from Amazon or Kindle. I buy direct from bookstores, abe books or kobo.
    Last edited by Shivana; 06-13-2016 at 11:01 AM.

  7. #7
    a demon for tea EMaree's Avatar
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    If it's within your abilities, I would strongly recommend you put your books out to non-Amazon markets. It's not particularly difficult to do, and there are services like Smashwords, Gumroad and Payhip which can make it easier for inexperienced people. It benefits you by giving you access to a larger market of readers -- sure, it's not a huge percentage, usually 20% max depending on genre, but that's money you'd be throwing away otherwise.

    It's a wee bit extra effort, sure, but once you've figured it out it becomes very simple. Chances are you'll have forgotten any difficulties you had by the time your pay starts coming in.

    It also prevents Amazon having a monopoly, which is in everyone's interests as consumers and creators.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shivana View Post
    I have heard about 'Smashwords' and while I have never used the site myself, it seems to suggest that they will distribute across all e-reader platforms. Not sure if they are reasonable or not in terms of return.
    Has anyone else ever used them? I'd be curious to learn more about them myself.
    Smashwords is generally well spoken of by self-publishers. The free Smashwords Style Guide is a great primer for writers unsure of how it all works, who want a simple step-by-step of what they have to do.

    If you have a intermediate level of technical proficiency it can be quicker to go direct to the different markets, and you'll have more control, but if you're unfamiliar with e-book production Smashwords is very helpful.
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  8. #8
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Shivana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EMaree View Post

    Smashwords is generally well spoken of by self-publishers. The free Smashwords Style Guide is a great primer for writers unsure of how it all works, who want a simple step-by-step of what they have to do.

    If you have a intermediate level of technical proficiency it can be quicker to go direct to the different markets, and you'll have more control, but if you're unfamiliar with e-book production Smashwords is very helpful.
    Thanks! It's good to know that it is generally well regarded.

  9. #9
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Smashwords distributes across many markets, but most people seem to favor Draft2Digital these days.
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  10. #10
    Livin' la vida biblia ASeiple's Avatar
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    It's an eternal debate over on Kboards, the other site I haunt. Going "Wide" by distributing your stuff through as many E-publishers as possible, or going "Deep", by just using Amazon.

    The big draw to going Deep is Kindle Unlimited. There's other benefits, like the simplicity of only messing around with one format and application, and the boost that Kindle Unlimited gives your sales ranks. If you go deep you pretty much need to be in Kindle Unlimited to achieve good Amazon ranking.

    The big draw to going wide is reaching people across all markets... but at the minute, Amazon's got a huge market share. Also, going wide takes advertising to be successful. If you aren't willing to pay for marketing, going wide might not work out very well.

    I can't tell you which will work better for your stuff. Nobody can, really. Each author and each book is different. There's no harm in experimenting early on, though. And if your comfort zone says "Meh, Amazon is easiest," then plump it up there and worry more about writing the next one. But if you're willing to take the time and learn different interfaces, and feel wide would work better, then go that route.
    Last edited by ASeiple; 06-14-2016 at 04:38 PM.
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  11. #11
    figuring it all out Mellanah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shivana View Post
    As a side note. I don't buy from Amazon or Kindle. I buy direct from bookstores, abe books or kobo.
    If you wouldn't mind sharing, Shivana, how do you find new Kobo books? I've tried Facebook ads, Kobo-specific links on Twitter/Instagram with the Kobo hashtag, etc, but I can't seem to build any sales.

    I've had a little success with iBooks, but most of my sales now are from Amazon. I hate being dependent on a single retailer!

  12. #12
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Shivana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mellanah View Post
    If you wouldn't mind sharing, Shivana, how do you find new Kobo books? I've tried Facebook ads, Kobo-specific links on Twitter/Instagram with the Kobo hashtag, etc, but I can't seem to build any sales.

    I've had a little success with iBooks, but most of my sales now are from Amazon. I hate being dependent on a single retailer!
    Hello,

    You know, I never thought about this much until you asked and sadly I don't think you will be too happy with my answer.
    I rarely find anything appealing using Kobo directly, so I research what I want to read first via internet and then buy it on Kobo. I use review sites such as Goodreads alot.

    With that in mind, I thought I would test out the search and browse function of my Kobo reader, by looking for your book, using search terms that seemed applicable. ie Elves fantasy, elves romance, romance fantasy, and I am sorry to say I couldn't find it this way.
    Kobo also advertises directly to readers on their Kobo, by looking at their previous reading history.

    I did find your book easily enough when I looked up it's title on Kobo, it was the second book of this title listed.
    By the way, I think it lists beautifully. I like that you have allowed the reader a couple of chapters as a preview as I always look for this before a purchase.

    Hope this helps.

  13. #13
    figuring it all out Mellanah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shivana View Post
    Hello,

    You know, I never thought about this much until you asked and sadly I don't think you will be too happy with my answer.
    I rarely find anything appealing using Kobo directly, so I research what I want to read first via internet and then buy it on Kobo. I use review sites such as Goodreads alot.

    With that in mind, I thought I would test out the search and browse function of my Kobo reader, by looking for your book, using search terms that seemed applicable. ie Elves fantasy, elves romance, romance fantasy, and I am sorry to say I couldn't find it this way.
    Kobo also advertises directly to readers on their Kobo, by looking at their previous reading history.

    I did find your book easily enough when I looked up it's title on Kobo, it was the second book of this title listed.
    By the way, I think it lists beautifully. I like that you have allowed the reader a couple of chapters as a preview as I always look for this before a purchase.

    Hope this helps.
    Thanks! That's actually really helpful. It looks like I need to take a look at my search categories and make sure I have them right. Otherwise, just keep trying.

  14. #14
    practical experience, FTW akaria's Avatar
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    I'm one of those freaks who gets the majority of sales through B&N. No idea why. Maybe a large portion of Amazon readers are looking for .99 or free books. Maybe it's easier to find me when there aren't a gazillion other books to choose from.

    I'll always choose releasing to the largest number of vendors possible because you never know under which rock a reader will discover you. KU might be worth it when you have a larger backlist, but putting one book with one vendor seems extremely limiting.

    I swear by Draft2Digital. The interface is very user friendly. Many people like Smashwords and I think they reach more and/or different vendors than D2D.
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