Category: Self-publishing

Places to Publish: Paddle

Paddle is a platform for selling digital goods. It’s similar to FastSpring, which I covered in an earlier article. While Paddle is geared towards people selling software, you can use Paddle to sell ebooks from your website.

Pricing

Paddle takes 5% of the sale price plus 50 cents. If you sell an ebook for $10 on Paddle, you receive $9.

Strengths

You get to keep more money from each sale than you keep with Amazon or Apple. In my $10 ebook example, you get 90% of the book price. That’s 20% more than Amazon and Apple give you.

Weaknesses

Paddle doesn’t print books. Use Paddle to sell your ebook and a print on demand publisher like CreateSpace to sell a print version of your book.

Summary

If you want to sell ebooks on your website, using Paddle is a good way to get more money from those sales.

Places to Publish: Gumroad

Gumroad is an e-commerce site you can use to sell electronic books. A nice feature of Gumroad for indie authors is Gumroad lets you offer PDF, EPUB, and Kindle versions of your books so people can read your books on computers, tablets, smartphones, and Kindles.

Pricing

Gumroad charges $10 a month to sell your products. For each ebook you sell, Gumroad takes 3.5% of the sale plus 30 cents. If you sell an ebook for $10, you get $9.35, which is almost 25 cents more than you would get selling the same book on FastSpring.

Strengths

You can easily offer PDF, EPUB, and Kindle versions of your books.

You keep more money from each sale. In the example I used you get 93.5% of the sale price. Amazon and Apple give you 70%.

Weaknesses

Gumroad charges $10 a month. If you don’t sell many copies of your books, FastSpring is a safer choice for selling ebooks on your website.

You need your own website to use Gumroad.

Gumroad doesn’t print books. Use Gumroad to sell your ebook and a print on demand publisher like CreateSpace to sell a print version of your book.

Summary

If you want to sell ebooks on your website, using Gumroad is a good way to get more money from those sales.

Places to Publish: Ingram Spark

Ingram Spark is a platform for publishing print and electronic books. Like CreateSpace and Lulu, Ingram Spark is a print on demand publisher, which I covered in an earlier article.

Pricing

Ingram Spark charges a $49 setup fee to use their service. There’s also a book printing cost, which depends on the number of pages and the type of interior: black and white or color. The Ingram Spark website has an online tool to calculate the printing costs.

I’ll use the same example I’ve been using in the Places to Publish series. You are publishing a 300 page paperback book with a 6 by 9 inch trim size and perfect binding. The book has a black and white interior. Ingram Spark charges $5.35 to print the book, which is almost $1 more than CreateSpace ($4.45) and slightly more than Lulu ($5.25).

You can use Ingram Spark to handle customer orders. A customer places an order. Ingram Spark prints the book and ships it to the customer. When I used Ingram Spark’s tool to calculate printing and shipping costs for the hypothetical 300 page book, they charged a $1.65 handling fee plus shipping. The shipping costs depend on the customer’s location and the shipping method. The shipping costs ranged from $3.80 to $56.46 for me.

With Ingram Spark you can also sell your books at online and physical bookstores. You have to discount the book to bookstores. If you sell your 300 page book for $20 and offer a 50% discount to bookstores, you would get the following amount from a sale:

20 - (20 * .5) - 5.35 = $4.65

$4.65 is more than what you get for selling at outside bookstores with CreateSpace ($3.55) or Lulu ($3.80) in this example.

Strengths

You can reach lots of bookstores with Ingram Spark and make more on each sale at those stores than you would with CreateSpace or Lulu.

Weaknesses

You have to pay an upfront fee to use Ingram Spark.

You get less money selling books on Amazon than you would get if you use CreateSpace.

Summary

Ingram Spark is a good complement to CreateSpace for selling print books. Use Ingram Spark to sell your print book on your website and at bookstores. Use CreateSpace to sell on Amazon.

Places to Publish: Lulu

Lulu is a place to publish print and electronic books. Lulu is a print on demand publisher, similar to CreateSpace, which I covered in an earlier article. Supply a PDF of your book, and Lulu prints a copy when someone orders your book.

Pricing

Lulu takes a percentage of each sale. For a print book start by taking the price of the book and subtracting the cost to print the book. If you sell the book at Lulu’s bookstore, Lulu takes 20% of what’s left after subtracting the print cost.

The print cost depends on many things, including the trim size, the binding, and the interior. A 6 by 9 inch paperback book that is perfect bound and has a black and white interior costs $2.45 for 100 pages plus 1.4 cents for each additional page. Each extra 100 pages costs $1.40

I’ll use the same example I used in the CreateSpace article. You are publishing a 300 page paperback book with a 6 by 9 inch trim size and perfect binding. You are selling the book for $20. The cost to print the book is $5.25. Here’s how much you would get for selling the book on Lulu’s bookstore.

Net price: 20 - 5.25 = $14.75

Lulu's take: 14.75 * .20 = $2.95

What you get: 14.75 - 2.95 = $11.80

You can also sell outside Lulu at sites like Amazon and Barnes and Noble. But you have to discount your book by 50%. Lulu takes 20% of what’s left after the discount and the printing costs. Here’s how much you would get for selling your 300 page book for $20 on Amazon or another bookstore.

Net price: 20 - 10 (50% discount) - 5.25 = $4.75

Lulu's take: 4.75 * .20 = $0.95

What you get: 4.75 - .95 = $3.80

Strengths

You get more money selling print books on Lulu’s bookstore and non-Amazon bookstores than you would get with CreateSpace. CreateSpace takes their cut (20% or 60%) from the book price. Lulu takes their cut (20%) after subtracting the cost of printing the book and bookseller discounts.

Weaknesses

You get less money selling books on Amazon than you would get if you use CreateSpace.

Readers who are unaware of your book’s existence are unlikely to stumble upon it at Lulu.

Summary

Lulu is a good complement to CreateSpace for selling print books. Use Lulu to sell your print book on your website and at bookstores. Use CreateSpace to sell on Amazon.