Often when clients get ready to format their manuscript into an ebook, they ask me which electronic book platform they should publish in. That’s sort of like asking, “Which bookstore should I sell my book in?” The answer to all is all of them!
Despite efforts by ebook publishers to get authors to go exclusively with them, you can self-publish your book on as many or as few ebook platforms as you wish. In going with multiple companies, however, you may be limited in which promotional programs you might participate in at each one.
In mid-2017, there are several different places where you might publish and sell an ebook. Among the major players are:
• Kindle DP – The dominant force in the market, this division of Amazon.com distributes ebooks on Kindle ereaders and Kindle tablets.
• iBook – Apple is now No. 2 in the ebook market, it distributes ebooks via its various iPad tablets.
• Nook – Barnes and Noble sells ebooks for its Nook ereader and tablet.
• Kobo – The Canadian-based company distributes ebooks via its ereader, including through brick and mortar bookstores.
Google also distributes ebooks through its Android tablets. Microsoft and Sony also are in the game, though their percentage of the market is extremely small.
Although there are multiple companies distributing ebooks, the good news is that you can hit all of the major ones by just creating two ebooks documents that are then uploaded at two locations online: one for Kindle DP and one for Smashwords, who will will get your ebooks in the catalogs for iBook, Nook, Kobo and Sony Reader.
When distributing their ebooks among these various ereaders and tablets, writers have employed a variety of different strategies, and each yields varying degrees of success based on how many other titles the author has published, the ebook’s subject matter, other marketing efforts used during the release, and more. In short: What works for one writer may not work for another.
This much is certain, though: Most readers get their ebooks via Kindle. Kindle DP also offers a great way through its free promotions to get your book ranked high on Amazon.com best new releases lists. Given this, on average most self-published authors have fairly good success signing up for Kindle DP Select and then using the free promotion strategy to push sales of their already published books. This selling of older titles occurs because if readers like your free book, this increases the chances that they’ll actually purchase one or more of your other books.
After you’ve taken advantage of promotion opportunities on Kindle DP Select, have no new books to promote, and have created a little buzz about your latest title, then consider taking it off Kindle DP Select and then uploading it to Smashwords so you can sell the book on Nook, Kobo, iBook, etc. Of course, in this rapidly changing market, that strategy may soon be outdated. In particular, as Apple’s iPads gain more of a market share for ebook readership, getting an iBook at the same time that your Kindle ebook will become vital.