E-Books: Pros

ebook reader

By Stephanie Ostroff

The world of e-books feels like dicey territory for a lot of writers. Some are fiercely devoted to the art of hard-copy publishing. Others shrink away at the thought of reading using an app on a little screen. Mixing all this technology with our manuscripts seems overly complicated. Yet, e-book publishing is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to get your words in print. Itís almost always free, and you donít need to be a tech whiz to upload a book. In recent years, a number of new programs and companies have made self-publishing extremely accessible and affordable for the masses.

This means you no longer have an excuse to procrastinate. Once youíve completed your novel, getting it published and available in e-book stores is a breeze. Below weíve broken down some of the top names in the e-book self-publishing industry. As you navigate your options, use our list to weigh pros and cons. Publishers offer varying royalty rates, and some limit where you can sell your bookóso itís important to understand your options and choose the one thatís right for you!

1. Smashwords

Distribution: All major e-bookstores
Royalty rate:
60% through major e-book retailers; 70.5% when purchased through affiliate e-book retailers; 80.5% when purchased on Smashwords.
Details: Smashwords is king when it comes to indie e-book publishing. Itís home to 270,000 e-books and offers a line-up of user-friendly features. Its ìMeatgrinderî will transform your word doc into any of nine e-book formats accepted by major e-bookstores. Creating an account and publishing on Smashwords is free. Youíll even receive a free ISBN and access to helpful tips on book marketing and publishing.

2. Lulu
All major e-bookstores

Royalty rate: 90% minus the commission taken by the e-bookstore where your title is soldóusually around 30%.

Details: With Lulu, you can go the DIY way and get your book ready for e-publication using a free instruction manual. Youíll receive an ISBN and access to Luluís ePub conversion tool at not cost. If youíre short on time, you can use one of the siteís premium options. These include perks like basic cover design and e-book formatting as well as marketing suggestions based on your book. Pricing starts at $99.

3. Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing

Distribution: Amazon Kindle Store

Royalty rate: 70%

Details: Letís get the bad news out of the way: using Amazonís KDP program means your book will be available for purchase only on Amazon. Your audience reach is limited, but Amazon makes up for this with a bunch of cool and wallet-friendly incentives. By signing up for the Kindle Ownerís Lending Library, you can earn money anytime someone ìborrowsî your title. Want to drum up excitement for your new book? Amazon gives you access to promotional tools. KDP allows you to upload your title in one of seven different formats and offers a free guide on e-book formatting to get you started. You donít need an ISBN in order to publish on Amazon, so youíll receive an Amazon Standard Identification Number instead.

4. Booktango
All major e-bookstores

Royalty rate: †100%– sort of!Booktango takes no profit, but youíll still lose some earnings from e-bookstore commission rates.

Details: Booktango distinguishes itself by offering 100% royalty to authors. Just keep in mind that most e-bookstores will still take out around a 30% chunk of your sales. This is standard across the board, though, making Booktango a pretty fabulous deal. The site is extra user-friendly and allows you to edit from wherever you are.

5. NOOK Press

Distribution: Barnes

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