Title: EPUB Distribution Options Source: EPUB Zone Published: January 2015.
Indie authors have a lot of options when it comes to where to distribute and sell their ebooks. Although indie authors cannot currently sell enhanced ebooks on any major platforms, they do have the option to put their books up for sale before their release date, at least on Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble (via Smashwords).
Although there are a number of websites on which to sell and distribute ebooks, the focus of this post will be on Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google, Smashwords, and Amazon.
To distribute through Apple, you must have a Mac and you must sign up for an iTunes Connect account.
Once you’ve created an account, you can log in and download iTunes Producer, the application you need to submit an ebook to iBooks. You can find iTunes Producer under “Resources and Help.”
Once you’ve launched iTunes Producer, choose “Create New Package.”
Name your package by the book’s ISBN number. This is the easiest way to find the book later in iTunes Producer, if you ever need to update or make changes.
iTunes Producer is pretty straightforward. You will be taken through a number of tabs where you fill in the book’s information and upload the cover image and epub file. You also have the option of uploading a separate, smaller epub file to show as a sample. However, if you do not upload a sample, Apple will automatically create one for you using the full epub. Lastly, you can upload up to five screenshots of the ebook, which potential buyers can scroll through on the sales page when deciding whether or not to purchase the book.
See below for an example of how to fill out a package in iTunes Producer.
In this next section you can choose which categories and sub-categories, or BISAC codes, best fit your book.
The sort name for the author must be written as Last Name, First Name.
Choose the price tier for the book for each country where you would like to sell it.
To save time from having to individually choose and click on price tiers, click on “Mass Territory Set Up.” A window will pop up, and you can fill out the information once and have it automatically set the prices for you.
Upload the epub, and if you’d like, the sample epub. If you decide to update your epub later and upload it to iTunes Producer, you will see a big question mark that indicates a previously uploaded file.
Upload a cover image.
Upload up to five screenshots (optional).
Last, wait for iTunes Producer to validate the package, and then click on “Deliver.” Once everything is uploaded, you will see a large green checkmark.
After the book has been uploaded, you can check its status in iBooks in your iTunes Connect account. A green dot means the book is on sale, a yellow dot means it’s being processed, and a red dot means it is not on sale. If you see a red dot that means there’s a problem with the file. You should see a note about what is wrong in iTunes Connect, or you can contact an Apple representative.
Barnes & Noble
To sell ebooks on Barnes & Noble, indie authors must use Nook Press. Once you create an account, choose create a new project in the dashboard.
Then you can either upload an epub, HTML, txt, or rtf, or write the book inside the platform.
You will also need to upload a cover image that is at least 1400 pixels wide.
And you will need to add information about the book including up to five categories, keywords, target audience, title, and author name. You can also add editorial reviews if you have them.
Indie authors can use Kobo Writing Life to submit their ebooks. It’s a slick interface, with five short pages of information to fill out.
On the first page you must fill out the book’s title, book synopsis, and other information. The publisher’s name is a required field, but you can use your own name if you’d like. Also choose up to three categories or sub-categories and upload a cover image by double clicking on the cover box.
Next, upload your epub file by double-clicking the search box.
Choose whether or not to apply Digital Rights Management and determine the book’s geographic rights.
Set the price of the ebook. You can choose to set different prices in different countries.
Last, choose the publication date. You can either publish the book immediately or choose a future date for preorders.
Authors and publishers can sign up for a Google account via Google’s Book Partner program.
Once signed in, publishers use Google’s dashboard to fill in information about the book and upload the cover and epub.
Google also makes it easy to upload multiple books at once using its own CSV template.
Smashwords is both a retailer and an ebook distributor. You can upload your book and choose to sell it on iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Oyster, and Baker & Taylor’s Blio, as well as distribute to libraries via OverDrive. Authors who have earned over $2000 on Smashwords can also request to be considered to have their books distributed to Amazon.
Once you create an account, click on the “Publish” tab. You will be taken to the “Publish Your Book” page.
Add a title, short description (single paragraph under 400 characters), long description, and pricing (see charts for what percentage you get from affiliate sales, other retailers, and Smashwords).
You can also choose how much to allow people to sample before buying, two categories, and which formats to make your ebook available in. If you upload an epub file, you will not have as many options as when you upload a Word doc—Smashwords auto-converts Word docs into PDF, RTF, Plain text, and more.
To get into the premium retailer catalogue, which allows you to distribute to iBooks, Barnes & Noble, etc., make sure your cover image is at least 1400 pixels wide. You must also submit the ebook for review via the dashboard.
Once approved, use the dashboard channel manager to decide which retailers to distribute to.
Indie authors use Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) to sell ebooks on Amazon. After signing up for an account, you can add a book by filling in two pages of information, including title, subtitles, keywords, two categories or sub-categories, book description, ebook file (either epub or mobi), and pricing.
For the book description, you can use some HTML tags to make words stand out.
You can choose to upload an epub and Amazon will convert it to their proprietary format, mobi. However, use the “Preview Your Book” option to make sure that everything looks fine.
You can also choose whether or not to enroll the book in KDP Select, which gives Amazon exclusive rights to sell the book for 90 days (you can renew or unenroll every 90 days). With KDP Select you have the option of promoting the book using five freebie days during each 90-day period or Kindle Countdown, which puts a book up for sale and increases the price over a period of a few days. If a book is in KDP Select, it is automatically included in Kindle Unlimited (KU), Amazon’s ebook subscription service.
Next, choose where to sell the book and how much to price it. There is also an option to include the book in Amazon’s Matchbook program, which bundles ebook and print titles, and Kindle Book Lending, which allows Prime users to borrow one ebook per month in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. Authors earn some compensation for both KU and Kindle Book Lending.