For more information about the various vendors and your distribution options, see the "The Vendors and Distribution Options" section below.
For either of the first two uploading options below, we offer a 15% discount if you plan to upload at 4 or more sites.
Step by Step Guidance
Leave It All to Us
Need to keep your expenses down and want to keep your book management easy?
We can upload your books to just Draft2Digital (D2D) and to Amazon.
There are several major vendors that sell books. They are:
Barnes & Noble
Note also that there are two major aggregators, Draft2Digital (D2D) and Smashwords, that distribute to the vendors above and to smaller vendors. The aggregators take a small fee (10% of your royalties). Some people find using an aggregator easier because they have fewer accounts to manage. Additionally, because uploading to Apple requires a Macintosh PC, many people use an aggregator to upload to Apple. For more information, see "The aggregators" section below.
The account creation process can take 1-2 hours per vendor because you should read through the Terms of Service (TOS) for each account, since the vendors have some differing rules about what they allow.
The first decision you need to make about distribution is regarding Amazon, and whether you want to go exclusive with them for some period of time.
To sell your books on Amazon, you will need to open an account here:
A note about Amazon KDP and exclusivity: Amazon has their normal KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) program, which requires no exclusivity, and then they also offer their KDP Select program, which requires at least 90 days of exclusivity (it automatically renews in 90-day increments, so you can try it out and see what happens, but you have to remember to uncheck the box to automatically renew). You can still sell your print book everywhere, but the ebook must be only on Amazon. This program will make your book part of the Kindle Unlimited subscriber library and the Kindle Online Lending Library (KOLL), which is available to Amazon Prime subscribers.
The KDP Select program has some benefits:
For more information about Kindle Unlimited (the pros and cons) see:
Depending on your genre and whether you have any other books out, KDP Select might make sense for you. You can always try KDP Select for 90 days and then decide if you’d like to continue in the program.
If you enroll in KDP Select, we highly recommend creating a plan for using either your free days or a Kindle Countdown Deal during each 90-day enrollment period. Since you're giving Amazon exclusivity, you'll want to take advantage of the promotional tools they give you.
To enroll in KDP Select, go to your Bookshelf at any time and click on the ellipsis button ("…") under the Book Actions menu next to your book, then select "Enroll in KDP Select."
If you don't want to renew, go to your Bookshelf at any time and click on the ellipsis button ("…") under the Book Actions menu next to your book, then select "KDP Select Info." Uncheck the box next to "Automatically renew this book’s enrollment in KDP Select for another 90 days." Cancelling automatic renewal does not affect the book's enrollment in KDP Select for the current term.
You can find more information about KDP Select here (you may need to log in to your KDP account to view this information):
If you decide not to go with exclusive with Amazon, here are the other vendors:
A NOTE ABOUT GOOGLE PLAY
Google Play automatically discounts your books, so you’ll need to set special prices there so that Amazon doesn’t price-match the GP discounts. Here are some articles about working with Google Play:
There are two major aggregators, Draft2Digital (D2D) and Smashwords, that distribute to the vendors above and to smaller vendors.
The aggregators take a small fee (10% of your royalties). Some people find using an aggregator easier because they have fewer accounts to manage. Additionally, because uploading to Apple requires a Macintosh PC, many people use an aggregator to upload to Apple.
NOTE: We always recommend distributing directly to Amazon instead of going through an aggregator so that you can take advantage of Amazon's various KDP tools and the Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) ads system. Additionally, most likely the bulk of your ebook sales (at least initially) will probably come through Amazon, so you’ll want to get your full royalties on those and be able to see your sales numbers in more or less real time.
If you want to make your life super easy, you can just sign up with D2D and have them distribute your book to B&N, Kobo, and Apple (as well as a number of other smaller places). The only place they don't cover is Google Play.
Smashwords is optional; like D2D, they're an aggregator/distributor, and they cover some of the same ground as D2D. We prefer D2D because their interface is easier and their updates are very fast; sometimes within hours, whereas it can sometimes take weeks for updates to get to the vendors through Smashwords. D2D also pays monthly and can direct deposit to your bank account, whereas Smashwords pays quarterly and only through PayPal. D2D also has better reporting. However, Smashwords has its own retail store, where you may make some sales, and they also distribute to some other vendors that D2D doesn't cover. (Note that Smashwords says they distribute to Amazon, but this is something you have to apply for and most publishers don’t make the sales threshold for it.) Like D2D, Smashwords takes a small slice of the royalties, 10%. We typically recommend that clients use D2D and Smashwords together, using Smashwords to cover the vendors that D2D doesn’t distribute to.