The Challenge. From the start, self-published writers have thought of letting readers download their books from their websites and keeping 100% of the price. But hold on. It’s not so easy.
- Buyers want to buy an eBook in one or two clicks and download it without problems.
- They want to choose between various secure payment methods.
- They want confirmations and people to contact if there’s a problem.
- Most writers have neither the time, interest nor expertise to set that all up.
- There can be complex rules around collecting sales tax.
The Direct Sales Model. So, in exchange for fees, direct sales platforms provide a quick, secure download and payment environment to buy an eBook. The writer uploads her book and cover, and can offer her eBook on her website or using a URL attached to emails or social media content.
The fees a writer pays to sell eBooks on a direct sales platform vary by provider. Gumroad takes 5% of sales plus $0.25 per transaction, which generally will be less than a writer pays for selling with an eBook retailer. For example, Kindle usually keeps 30% of an eBook’s price.
The Problems: So why don’t all self-pub writers use direct selling arrangements? Here are some reasons I know of.
- These days, any writer has to market her eBook. But the burden is especially high if she uses a direct sales platform. She must drive readers to her website, social media and messages to sell eBooks.
- Many readers searching for an author’s eBook will instinctively go to an eBook retailer like Amazon/Kindle. If they don’t find the book there, they’ll stop looking.
- EBook retailers have other ways to drive sales such as customer reviews, sales rankings, free book promotions and subscription services.
- Writers can be left handling customer service issues like steering a reader to the proper file type for his device.
- Many direct sales sites are geared to selling eBooks only. However, as I blogged last time, many readers still prefer reading print copies of books, which a self-pub writer can offer through eBook retailers.
Copyright © 2015 Peter Fritze
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