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Who Distributes E-books?
Amazon.com offers ebooks in their proprietary Kindle format (.azw).
The author or publisher signs up with Amazon's Digital Text Platform (dtp.amazon.com), uploads a properly formatted file, and the book appears shortly thereafter on Amazon's website.
Your contract with Amazon will be non-exclusive, which means you can offer your ebook for sale anywhere else you like, but you must agree to offer it at no less than the retail price you set with Amazon.
Until July of 2010, Amazon paid the author/publisher only 35% of the retail price of a Kindle book, but Amazon is now offering to pay 70% of the retail price (less delivery charges) for books that meet certain criteria. Most self-published books can qualify.
Other than Amazon, Smashwords probably has the best distribution system for ebooks. Small publishers often have difficulty contracting with large ebookstores, but Smashwords can make your ebook available through Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo (formerly Shortcovers), Amazon, and more to come. This wide distribution requires that your ebook be accepted for their Premium Catalog.
You can opt out of any distribution channel. For instance, if you already have your ebook on Kindle, you can opt out of Amazon distribution. It makes sense to do that if you have done (or paid someone to do) a nicely-formatted file especially for Kindle.
Smashwords doesn't apply DRM (digital rights management), so you will have to decide whether the increased distribution opportunity outweighs concerns about people sharing files.
The Smashwords "meatgrinder" produces ebook files that will work well on various devices, but they don't support the kinds of enhancements that make your ebook look its best. As more distributors open their catalogs to small- and self-publishers, it is worth considering having your ebook customized for each format.
Lightning Source offers ebooks in three formats to ebookstores:
Lightning Source adds DRM (digital rights management) to the files after you upload them. DRM isn't optional.
The publisher must upload files in the proper format for each device.
Your contract with Lightning Source is also non-exclusive.
Fictionwise is one of the largest distributors of ebooks. They offer ebooks in just about every conceivable format. Unfortunately they will only deal directly with authors who have at least 10 previously published works.
Other distributors of ebooks
Fortunately many ebookstores distribute ebooks listed with Lightning Source, so it won't be necessary to approach the thousands of ebookstores individually to ask them to carry your ebook. If your book serves a niche market, however, it might be worth asking websites that address that niche to offer your ebook.
Offering ebooks from your own website
Yes, you can do that. There are ecommerce services that will take your customers to a secure site where they can pay for the ebook with PayPal or a credit card, and then will send them a password that allows them to download a copy of the ebook. There are many ecommerce services. The best way to find one is to join a Yahoo group for self-publishers and search their archives or ask the other members.
|Last Updated on Sunday, 28 August 2011 20:06|