eBook sellers are the sales channels that bring your ebook 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 sales success.
Of course, you may be familiar with some of the major ebook sellers, but there are a number of different retailers and wholesalers in the marketplace.
All of the ebook sellers below offer digital books for sale.
Some (like Barnes & Noble, Amazon and Kobo 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 ebook 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 ebook sellers may have different technical parameters for uploading, etc., and you should check with each one individually for their respective ebook specifications.
Major Ebook Sellers are:
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 is the largest online book and ebook seller (as well a the largest online retailer for everything else). Amazon sells ebooks in the format for its own ereader / tablet, the Kindle. Read about Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing.
Barnes & Noble
The largest bricks-and-mortar bookseller in the U.S., Barnes & Noble made a name in the ebook marketplace with its NOOK ereader / tablet. NOOK Books can be read on the NOOK available are made through BN.com. Read about uploading your ebooks to Barnes & Noble’s NOOK Press.
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 ebook seller. In 2012, after the fall of the Google ebookstore, Kobo struck a deal with the American Booksellers Association to be the official ebook seller for ABA independent bookstores. Customers of indie booksellers such as Powell’s or R. J. Julia can purchase ebooks through their favorite store’s website, and a percentage of the profits are provided to the local store.
Is the distributor for ebooks compatible with the Sony Reader.
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.
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 differentiates itself by features that allow “social reading.” The Copia app (which it claims is compatible with almost any advice) allows the reader to “write” in the margins of the ebook 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.
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. Check their website for details.
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.