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Ebook Distribution: The Complete Guide for New Authors

What is ebook distribution? To “distribute” an ebook is to provide it to online retailers for sale (or for download, if you’re distributing it for free). You can do this through either a self-service retailer or an aggregator.

Because these services are often in flux, though, ebook distribution can get a bit complicated. To make authors’ lives easier, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about ebook distribution in this guide! (笔记:before you begin, do make sure your book is professionallyformatted, with an eye-catchingcover designto set it apart from the crowd.)

准备出版后,请继续阅读以了解电子书发行的基本信息 - 包括主要平台和聚合器可供选择,以及哪种发行策略适合您。

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Ebook publishing platforms

First off, whatisan ebook publishing platform? It’s basically any space where you can upload and sell your ebook to readers. As an indie author, you’ll have the greatest reach if you go through one or more well-known stores like Amazon, Apple Books, or Barnes & Noble.

This is what the majority of authors choose to do — which is why we’ll focus on those retailers in the first part of this post. We’ll break down each ebook publishing platform in detail below, but here’s a quick comparison chart to give you a sense of what they have to offer.

电子书|分布比较图——亚马逊,bN, Apple, Kobo & Google Play

现在,让我们更广泛地讨论这些电子书出版平台,从Big Kahuna:Amazon的Kindle Direct Publishing Platform开始。

Amazon KDP

Ebook distribution | Amazon KDPKindle Direct Publishing(KDP) is probably the best-known self-publishing platform in the business — not only because Amazon is such a behemoth, but also because KDP is actually quite user-friendly. For those looking to master KDP, be sure to check out the guide linked above! But for those who just want the bullet points, you’ll find them below.

用户友好:KDP是BIZ中最容易使用的发布平台。作为新作者,您将逐步通过发布过程,从上传您的epub到选择keywords你的电子书。你的书将available within 2-3 days and you can start tracking your sales via the KDP dashboard.

Distribution:Going through KDP means selling your ebook on the Kindle Store — the biggest purveyor of ebooks in the US, controlling 80% of the ebook market. You can also make your book available through Kindle Unlimited, Amazon’s ebook subscription service (more on that below).

Royalties:On the Kindle Store, you’ll receive70% royaltieson ebooks priced between $2.99-$9.99 in all English-speaking territories, and 35% for books outside that range. As forKU royalties, the numbers are less concrete, but you’ll get monthly payments based on the number of pages that KU subscribers have read.

And there’s one more piece to the Amazon self-publishing puzzle: whether or not you enroll your ebook inKDP Select。这个为期90天的计划要求您的书是亚马逊专有的,这意味着您在此期间在其他任何地方都无法出售数字副本。作为回报,KDP Select提供限时价格促销,某些领土上的特许权使用费较高,并且 - 最重要的是对于自我出版的作者而言,纳入Kindle Unlimited。


换句话说:KDP选择值得避免所有其他零售商的好处?对于大多数作者而言,这个问题归结为Kindle Unlimited。In certain genres, like romance, the vast majority of Amazon readers have KU subscriptions — so for romance authors, especially those just starting out, it would often make sense to choose Amazon exclusivity.

Should you go Amazon-exclusive?

Answer these 5 questions to find out!

You’ll also want to consider the merits of other ebook publishing platforms and retailers (don’t worry, we’re getting to that!). But whatever your choice ends up being, try to stick to it. It takes a “wide” author years to build a solid readership on non-Amazon retailers, so if you go down that path, you’ll need to commit 100%.

Barnes & Noble Press

Ebook distribution | B&N PressB&N Press is Barnes & Noble’s service for self-publishing authors — and an important one to know, given B&N’s consistent presence in the US ebook market. Their online store is especially strong on human curation, which may appease authors who fear being shunted byAmazon’s algorithms。除此之外,这是B&N分销的基础知识。

用户友好:Publishing with B&N Press might seem straightforward, but there’s one significant hurdle — that you must register as a “vendor” in order to sell your ebook in the long term. This requires a W-9 form, which is a hassle to procure for most authors, especially as other self-publishing platforms don’t require it.

Distribution:Taking the B&N route will get your ebook on theBarnes & Noble eBookstore— which, again, is much more carefully curated than the Kindle Store’s homepage, as evidenced by the ever-changing categories and monthly picks from B&N’s “book experts”.

Royalties:As of 2021, B&N Press authors will receive 70% royalties on all ebooks priced $0.99 and above. This makes Barnes & Noble a surprising new competitor in terms of ebook royalties, as authors’ shares were lower and more restricted in previous years.


因此,如果您选择使用电子书而不是亚马逊排名一致,那么您也可以在所有这些书上发布!如果你dogo wide — which can still includepublishing on Amazon顺便说一句,在没有KDP选择的情况下,您将能够利用每个平台的特权。

On that note, let’s run through our remaining platforms so you can get a fuller picture of your “wide distribution” possibilities.


Ebook distribution | Apple Books苹果书has roughly the same ebook market share as Barnes & Noble, though it’s poised to overtake B&N in the coming years (as Apple devices become increasingly popular compared to B&N's NOOK e-reader). Needless to say, it would behoove self-publishing authors to familiarize themselves with Apple’s ebook publishing platform and store ASAP.

用户友好:苹果书is more user-friendly than B&N, less so than KDP. You’ll find the ebook upload process outlinedhere;只需创建一个iTunes Connect帐户yabo99vip并按照这些步骤进行操作。设定您的书的价格可能会有些毛茸茸,但我们已经在该指南中澄清了如何做。

Distribution:你的书将available on the苹果书app, which is obviously only for Apple devices. An interesting upside is that Apple Books doesn’t price-match with other ebook stores — so if you distribute via Apple, you can set your book’s price a little higher than you might otherwise.

Royalties:苹果书offers some of the best royalty shares out there: 70% onall电子书,没有最低或最高标价。

If you do decide to “go wide” with your ebook, definitely get it on Apple Books! Even if you don’t have an Apple device yourself (in which case, borrow a friend’s to publish), lots of your readers will — and that unconditional 70% royalty promise is tough to beat.

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Kobo Writing Life

Ebook distribution | Kobo Writing LifeKobo Writing Life is the next platform on our list, and it’s distinct from the others in a number of ways. The biggest difference is that Kobo caters mainly to readers in Canada and other areas outside the US — so if you’re writing for a Canadian audience or another non-US country, you should definitely consider Kobo Writing Life.

You can learn more about Kobo and KWL inthis webinarwith Mark Lefebvre, a former Kobo director. But for ebook distribution purposes, here’s the lowdown.

用户友好:KWL’s ebook upload process is similar to KDP’s, albeit with fewer details to fill in (for example, KWL only asks authors to choosecategories描述他们的书籍 - 没有关键字)。尽管对于读者来说,更多的信息可能会更好,但毫无疑问,KWL快速易于使用。

Distribution:Publishing with KWL means your ebook will be distributed through theKobo商店,诚然,这不是那么巨大。但是Kobo在加拿大的存在对某些作者来说是一个福音,其多样的书籍表明另一家公司不太算法。

Royalties:Kobo直接在特许权使用费中间,为所有电子书提供了70%的特许权使用费,价格低于$ 2.99(无上限),45%的电子书低于$ 2.99。

In summary, Kobo is a solid option for those targeting a Canadian market, but probably shouldn’t be youronlydistribution channel… which is fine, since it doesn’t require exclusivity under any circumstances anyway.

Google Play Books

Ebook distribution | Google Play BooksLastly, we haveGoogle Play Books,在电子阅读游戏中,另一个重要的玩家(没有双关语!)。尽管数十亿人拥有Android和Google平板电脑,但Google Play Books控制着电子书市场的相对较小的份额 - 但是,就像Apple Books一样,在不久的将来势必会上升。也可以现在了解平台!

用户友好:It’s simple enough to actuallyupload your book to Google Play。但是,与B&N Press一样,有一个略有与财务信息相关的信息:Google必须在出售电子书之前查看您的银行信息,因此请确保您的帐户在启动日期之前均已激活。

Distribution:Google Play Booksallows anyone access to its store as long as they have a Gmail account, which is nice for readers. The store also offers unique advantages for authors, such as being able to customize the length of your book’s preview and set different prices in different countries.

Royalties:Google Play与Apple为作家的慷慨特许权使用费相匹配 - 所有电子书中的70%都不论上市价格如何。

With that, we’ve covered all the major ebook publishing platforms and their associated stores. Now, if you decide to “go wide” on multiple retailers, you have two possible paths:

  1. Publishing directly on each retailer, which means uploading your ebook individually each time; or
  2. 使用将您的电子书拿到并将其上传到多家零售商的聚合器。

Publishing your ebookdirectly on each store will typically net you better royalties than involving an aggregator. However, this route can be time-consuming, frustrating, and confusing when trying to track your sales from many places at once.

Using an aggregator means you only need to upload your ebook files once, you’ll get one big royalty check instead of several smaller ones,andyou can find all your sales data in one place (hosted by the aggregator). But aggregators’ services aren’t free — and for some authors, paying an aggregator to handle ebook distribution may not be a great investment.

We’ll talk more about how to choose the right distribution strategy for you in a bit. First, though, you need a little more context forwhichaggregators are out there… which is exactly what this next section is about.

Trusted ebook aggregators

Again, a publishing aggregator is a company that uploads your book to various retailers for you. In exchange, they’ll take a portion of your royalties或者charge you an upfront fee. We’ll call the first type “royalty-share aggregators” and the second type “flat fee” aggregators.

在上下文中,大多数已建立的聚合商都是特许权分共享,尽管收取前期费用的公司肯定仍然是合法的(如下面的PublishDrive)。如果您通过聚合器notlisted here,do your researchto eliminate any possibility of it being a scam. Exorbitant upfront fees and/or a lack of feedback from other authors will be your first red flags.

如果你want to be absolutely当然you’re not getting scammed, simply choose one of these five aggregators — which we’ve summarized in the brief descriptions below.


Ebook distribution | Draft2DigitalDraft2Digital是大多数独立作者选择的聚合器。D2D受到许多“宽广”的人的称赞,具有直观的界面,电子书自动形式,出色的客户支持以及大量的免费工具和资源。

Its automatedback matter对于系列特别方便。每次您通过Draft2Digital发布新电子书时,该书都会添加到您其他书籍的“也是由作者”部分中添加到的。everystore, with the relevant store link.

D2D’s “universal book links” are another nice touch — these allow any author to generate a unique link to each of their books, which then automatically redirects the reader to their preferred retailer (and country store).

The only drawback of D2D is that it doesn’t distribute to Google Play, and a few other niche retailers, as other aggregators do. But between the easy-as-pie ebook formatting (D2D does everything for you) and other author-friendly features, Draft2Digital remains the premier choice for indie authors who wish to go wide.


Ebook distribution | SmashwordsSmashwords was the very first aggregator in the business, and was favored by most authors until Draft2Digital took the lead. While Smashwords’ distribution outlets and royalties are similar to D2D’s, its interface and conversion tools are less user-friendly and, at this stage, a bit outdated.

结果,在格式和其他技术问题上挣扎的作者可能需要避免使用SmashWords。但是,那些有兴趣将其电子书分发给尽可能多的零售商的人(尽管没有Google Play)可能会发现格式的努力值得。


Ebook distribution | PublishDrivePublishDrive is one of the newer aggregators on the block, but it’s risen fast through the ranks. PublishDrive not only distributes to all major stores (includingGoogle Play!),但专门研究国际分销,并在东欧拥有许多其他商店。

Previously operating under a royalty-share model, PublishDrive has now switched to a flat fee model of $9.99/month — which is more attractive to high-selling authors, but less for authors just starting out. PublishDrive is also the only aggregator that doesn’t offer freeISBNSas part of its services, instead using its own unique identifier which is globally accepted in stores.

Want to know more? You can read all about the differences between D2D, Smashwords, and PublishDriveright here


Streetlib is another international distributor, with an especially strong presence in Europe and Latin America. Like the aggregators above, Streetlib distributes to most major retailers — and has recently focused more outreach on less-targeted distribution areas, like MENA.



Which ebook distribution strategy is right for you?

To recap, there are three main ebook distribution strategies in play today:

  1. 您可以发布only在亚马逊和参加KDP promoti选择onal benefits, which includes getting your book onto Kindle Unlimited;
  2. 您可以在多家零售商处“宽广”,并亲自将电子书上传到每个平台,从而为您提供全部特许权使用费;或者
  3. 您可以使用聚合器来节省时间和精力,但是您必须放弃约10%的特许权使用费(或支付预付费用)。

Each of these paths has its own pros and cons, and every author must decide based on their own priorities. That said, we do have a couple of quick-fix suggestions for those who are totally lost!

  • First and foremost, if you haven’t taken the quiz above, do it now:Should you go Amazon-exclusive or wide?
  • If the results indicate you should go wide — or if you know that you want to — go ahead and follow the instructions in ourEbook Distribution Infographic。It lays out where to upload your book directlyandwhen to turn to an aggregator for optimal results.

Ebook distribution | Recommended distribution setup

Finally, remember that the ebook publishing landscape is ever-changing, and often hard to navigate even for the most seasoned authors! We hope this post helped shed some light on the various distribution channels and opportunities available to indie authors. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate todrop us a line