Direct Sales of EBooks

Blog 56In my last post in the category How to Self-Publish, I said I’d blog about channels a self-published writer can use to distribute her book.

Today I’m writing about direct sales platforms like Gumroad, Ganxy and Sellfy. They allow a writer to sell eBooks on her website or through links attached to social media or messages.

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

Buy False Guilt.

Buy The Case for Killing.

Follow me on Twitter @PFritze.

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