eBook distribution is an ever evolving and complex topic in today’s publishing landscape. Every publisher aspires to achieve an effective distribution system, which is possible only by choosing the right eBook distributor with the broadest coverage.
The last couple of years has seen eBook distribution options expanding at a rapid pace with scores of new online eBook retailers and eBook aggregators, to help publishers easily make their books available for sale. Here’s a list of Top 4 Digital Publishing Trends You Need to Know.
Whether you decide on self-publishing or starting a small press, there is always a dilemma about where to distribute online and how to choose between different eBook distributors. Is there any actual benefit of choosing one over another?
Before going to discuss the important factors that you need to consider before choosing your e-distributor, (5 Reasons Why Publishers should opt for eBook Distribution Services) let’s first understand the concept of eBook distribution better.
What is eBook distribution?
eBook distribution refers to the process of making your completed eBook available for download from an online retailer. Distribution can either be made through an eBook aggregator or directly through an online retailer.
In case of eBook aggregators, they generally receive an eBook and distribute it to more than one online retailer (e.g. Amazon, Nook, Barnes & Noble, Apple, etc.) and make money either by keeping a percentage of sales or charging a certain fee.
Direct eBook distribution, on the other hand, is when a publisher or self-publisher directly submits their eBook to a store such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Nook or Apple for sales online.
Factors to consider before choosing an eBook distributor
Working with an eBook distributor is usually synonymous with giving up a percentage of profits, in exchange for the management and centralized administration of all your titles.
However, eBook distributors give you the benefit of reaching to the outlets (such as the library market) that you can’t get on your own, along with offering tools to optimize book sales and marketing. Here are the Best Practices in Publishing & Distributing eBooks at Scale.
Here are five important factors you need to take into account before choosing an eBook distributor for your publishing needs –
How Do They Calculate Royalty?
Royalty calculation is one of the most complex parts of eBook distribution as there are various business models, percentages, and definitions of net/list price to take into account.
Start by checking if the royalty numbers given by the shortlisted distributor are calculated from the percentage they receive (list price after deducting retailer’s cut) or the actual list price (the price you gave the store).
If you are still unsure about how your royalties are calculated for different price points and how much you will get paid, make sure you seek support from the distributor or check out their website for an example of royalty calculation.
Do They Have a Wide Network?
While picking an eBook distributor, you need to make sure to find a partner with the widest network of readers. This factor will help you to cut down your time on contracting new markets, quality assurance, and pricing discrepancies if any.
To make the process of publishing smooth and hassle-free, choose a distributor who would make sure that your eBook is made available in all the popular eBook stores such as Amazon.com, Apple Books, Kobo, Barnes & Noble’s, and Nook.
The distributor should also take care of all the legwork, allowing you to focus on just the content and final manuscript. Here’s a quick guide on how to Distribute eBooks on Online Platforms
Is Your eBook Distribution Partner Trustworthy?
You need to think long-term while finding your eBook distributor. Be sure to look for trusted companies/ partners with clear and transparent communication.
To avoid the usual pitfalls of eBook distribution, choosing a distributor with all due diligence is extremely important. Make sure you talk to users (both current and former) of the service and other people who have already used their services.
You can get all this information and more by looking them up online.
How Good is Their Distribution Policy?
The eBook distributor you choose must prepare a clear agreement on the commission, inventory, and geographical locations to be covered, along with any kind of financial liability that needs to be addressed.
It is important to enter into an agreement only if it is agreeable to both parties.
How to Create a DRM Protected eBook and Distribute it Securely
Are They Offering You Convenience Worthy of the Fee?
Unlike the direct distribution route where you have to make efforts on your own to distribute your eBook, third-party distributors should offer you the convenience of entering your information just one time, and then they distribute it to each store.
It is important to note here that while some of the eBook distribution services such as Bookbaby charge a fee for each book and an annual fee thereafter, others such as Smashwords charge a small commission on each sale.
Every eBook publisher strives to achieve an effective distribution and is always on the lookout for opportunities to increase their distribution capacity. Choosing the right distributor makes the entire process of eBook publishing extremely simple.
All of the efforts on fulfilling orders and keeping a check on sales, that you would otherwise have to put in yourself, would be taken over by a company that has experience doing these things.
It allows you to put your complete focus on the creative aspects of your eBook and satisfaction of your readers, instead of fulfilling other tasks that can be done online through automated systems of your distributor.
In the end, remember that no matter which eBook distributor you choose, you can always opt out of certain outlets. Or you could try KITABOO eBook platform if you would like distribute exclusively.
Here’s a short video showing the custom audience ebook distribution capabilities of Kitaboo the digital publishing platform.
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