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Where to Publish Your eBook

Unlike traditional publishing and traditional print books, the number of distribution channels for ebooks is growing faster than the number of Starbucks specialty coffee blends (Tuxedo Mocha with rasberry, anyone?), and certainly faster than the traditional publishing wants it to. Why? Because more and more veteran authors are deciding that it's more profitable for them to keep their ebook rights rather than sell them to their traditional publisher, and instead, distribute their own ebooks direct to their already established fan base.

And since the number of distribution channels for printed books is finite, and dare we even say it... on the decline (remember the bankruptcy of a little bookstore by the name of Borders?), traditional publishers are increasely wary of taking risks on debut books. That means, more and more aspiring writers are getting shut out of the traditional publishing before they even have a chance to realize how to get published in the first place.

But what's bad for "them" is good for you because you're nimble, tech-savvy, and curious about this new era of digital publishing and how you can game it. And one of the biggest benefits of e-publishing your book is the endless number of distribution channels available to you — little, unknown writer. Gone are the days when "self-published" automatically meant amateur author. Nowadays, e-publishing means more control, higher royalties, and increased sales as the explosion of mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, and eReaders) fuels the fastest growing trend in the consumer marketplace — digital reading.

The only thing stopping you from gold and glory is a solid business strategy for how to get your ebook in front of readers and buyers. For this reason, we've compiled a list of the most popluar online book retailers, indie market distributors, and niche mobile apps & platforms that allow readers to directly download your ebook. We've also included social networking sites that help readers and writers network with each other and specific e-publishing & marketing resources for learning all the tricks of the trade. There's a new gold rush afoot, and it all starts with a book, a vision, and a desire to head West.

Major Online Book Retailers Kindle Store

Amazon has dominated the eBook distribution market in such a massive way that most of NYC's publishing industry has dubbed them "The Evil Empire." No single entity threatens to take away publishing marketshare from the Major Publishers like Amazon. They also haven't won any popularity points by adopting their own proprietary eReader format (.mobi) that can only be read on the Kindle, or on other devices like the iPad or Android Tablets through their Kindle apps.

They may be The Evil Empire, but the Kindle accounts for 50% eReader market, so Amazon's Kindle Store should be your first e-pubbing stop, but cetainly not your only stop.

Use our AQ guide for Creating a Kindle Direct Publishing account, and realize that once your work is on the Kindle Store, you're going to find it difficult to get exposure unless you're actively engaged in additional self-promotion or unless you do free giveaways.

Amazon KDP's Cover Art Specs: Amazon requires your image to be .TIFF or .JPEG format. For best results, they claim that you need a cover design of 1563px on the shortest side and 2500px on the longest side. We used a 750x1200px cover design, and the results turned out just fine. Feel free to read all about Amazon KDP's cover guidelines.

Kobo Books - Writing Life

Kobo Books offers their own e-publishing platform: Writing Life. What's great about Kobo's Writing Life is that it's international... so anyone can open an account, not just US-based authors. Plus, it's extremely well-designed and user-friendly, so uploading your work only takes about 10 minutes.

In addition, Kobo allows you to set the price of your book for "free" — a huge bonus for those who are seeking to lower your price on Amazon to free via the price-matching game. We only used one Kobo distribution channel to report our "free" lower price to Amazon, and Amazon did lower the price to free on our Kindle book.

It's easy to forget that Kobo was once an asset of the now-defunct Borders. Now, it's owned by the Japanese company, Rakuten, which simply means that there may be more of a Kobo market than meets the eye.

Kobo's Cover Art Specs: Cover art dimensions are also more lax on Kobo. Again, we used a file that was 750x1200px and the results were just fine.


Smashwords has quickly becoming the most popular ebook aggregator of the indie e-pubbing world. They offer an eBook publishing and distribution platform for ebook authors, publishers and readers, and they do it through multi-format, DRM-free ebooks that are readable on any e-reading device. This kind of "open source" e-reading experience has helped to make Smashwords a ubiquitous distribution channels for e-publishing writers. You can upload to Smashwords, then choose to which distribution channels — Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple's iBooks, Kobo, Diesel, Sony — you want Smashwords to distribute your book. Sounds fast and easy? So what's the catch?

Here's the catch: it's free to publish and distribute your work through Smashwords because they take a commission from every sale. Plus, you lose control over your book's distribution because Smashwords is now your re-seller. They assign your book a free ISBN in exchange for control. They become your ebook's publisher-of-record. They control your ebook's ultimate distribution fate on Amazon, Kobo, and B&N and iBooks and we hear from authors that there are a lot of data entry mistakes in the pipeline that don't always get fixed. And most importantly, they control all your ebook's financial accounting and there's no way to audit them.

Still, there are some circumstances where distribution through Smashwords seems inevitable. If you want to get into Apple's iBookstore, but you can't get your hands on an ISBN or EIN, then you're better off going through Smashwords. Also, if you're not a US-based author and you want to get into B&N, then Smashwords is your only route. Same thing if you want your book to be listed for free on B&N. Smashwords is currently the only way to play the B&N freebie game. And Diesel eBookstore only accepts self-pubbed ebooks via Smashwords.

The general consensus on Smashwords in the indie e-publishing world is you either like them, or you feel annoyed and trapped by them because of their lagging distribution timeslines, and the fact that they take forever to fix data-entry mistakes... And that's not even taking into account their infamous "meatgrinder". To-Smashowrds or Not-To-Smashwords is definitely a tug-o-war between authors who prefer to control every aspect of their ebooks' fate versus authors who are more than happy to let Smashwords help them out with distribution.

Barnes & Noble's NookPress (formerly Pubit!)

Barnes & Noble is the second largest retailer of eBooks after, so it's no surprise that their NOOK eReader has grown in popularity with ePUB/non-DRM fans, usurping Sony eReader's initial glory. In addition, they've recently entered into a partnership with Microsoft for their NOOK division, which means deeper pockets to compete against Apple's iPad, Amazon's Kindle, and Google's Nexus in the never-ending tablets wars.

B&N's original self-publishing platform was called, Pubit! If you still have a Pubit! account, you can migrate its contents over to NookPress. NookPress does have a few new cool bells and whistles, including the ability to draft your work-in-progress right inside your account. That means there's no need for messy converter tools. Unfortunately, establishing a NookPress account is a hassle compared to Amazon's open door policy. With B&N's NookPress, you have to be US-based author with a credit card tied to a US-based address and a US-based bank account. And they even perform a test deposit into the bank account for verification.

In addition, you can't set your book's price as "free" on B&N's NookPress program. You can't set your book's price for "free" Amazon either, but at least Amazon offers their KDP Select program or gives you the "tell us about a lower price" button, which allows you to eventually manipulate the price to free. With NookPress, there's absolutely no option for free and it's actually against their terms of service to offer books on other distribution channels for a lower price. The only way to have your book distributed for free on B&N is to go through Smashwords. Why? Because Smashwords isn't actually listing their ebooks on NookPress. They are serving as the publisher-of-record and directly distributing their ebooks through B&N.

We like to champion indie writers and authors looking to game the system, so these kinds of iron-gates makes us seriously annoyed. For this reason, we don't recommend B&N's NookPress program over the other major retailers. But we don't think you should ignore it completely either because Microsoft plans to keep NOOKs in circulation.

NookPress Cover Art Specs: PubIt! requires your image to be .JPEG format, and your minimum side must be greater than 1400 pixels in length.

This website offers romance and erotica readers one-stop shopping for all ebook titles within the genre — both traditionally published and self-published works. As a result, it's a great opporunity for the indie romance or erotica author to experiment with e-publishing within their niche market.
A community for book lovers to find, share, review, and recommend books they are reading. Please note: this website was recently acquired by Amazon. is committed to providing the internet's most comprehensive collection of fiction (and yes, nonfiction too!) in the most popular eBook formats.
Share your writing, connect with readers, discover new stories — from sci-fi to mysteries, short stories to cell phone novels

Social networking community of authors and readers

Libboo is a platform that connects buzzers (readers who love to share and talk about books) with books they’ll enjoy, to create the next digital bestseller and help talented authors get discovered. Buzzers get rewards such as free ebooks, and increase their influence by sharing great writing with their friends and followers via social media, email, and other online channels.

Library Thing
Library Thing offers a community of 1,600,000 book lovers. LibraryThing Connects you to people who read what you do.

The bookstore on the corner of your digital neighorhood. They offer both non-fiction, literary fiction, and genre fiction titles from both traditional publishers and indie e-publishing authors. Their sister site is exclusively for romance and erotica ebooks.

PUBSlush Press
A youthful, innovative publishing platform for aspiring authors that allows new writing talent to emerge by connecting writers directly with their readers through social media.

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