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Selling Hardcopy Books Online
by Ron Kurtus (revised 6 April 2016)
Self-publishers typically depend on selling their books online, as opposed to trying to have books for sale in bookstores. One reason is that bookstores tend to shy away from stocking self-published books.
The top online outlet for selling your books is through the Amazon.com online bookstore. Barnes & Noble online and Smashwords are secondary choices. There are other online distribution packages available.
Another place to sell your books online is through your own website and organization websites.
Questions you may have include:
- How do you directly sell your books online?
- How do you sell on consignment?
- How do you get books stocked in online stores?
This lesson will answer those questions.
Selling on Amazon.com
The Amazon.com website is the number one online source for selling books. All you need to do is to get your book listed and the sales can begin.
The best way to get your self-published book listed on Amazon.com is to publish the book through their CreateSpace program. The book will automatically be listed on the Amazon website.
If you initially publish your book through Lightning Source, IngramSpark, or some other company, the book can also be listed on Amazon. However, they often state a restriction that listing of the book may be delayed up to several months. A book published through CreateSpace is listed in a few days and delivered from Amazon immediately.
Sell through Amazon Associates program
You can also sell the books that you have at home through the Amazon Associates consignment program. The fee to participate in the Amazon Associates program is $29.95 a year. They then post your book on the Amazon.com website and have a small supply in their warehouse.
They will then order books from you when they need to restock their supply. You ship the books to them, and they pay you a commission for the sales.
(See Selling Books Through Amazon Advantage for more information.)
Selling through online book stores
If you self-publish through IngramSpark, you can have your books distributed to the major online retailers through the Ingram Distribution Channel. Once your book is listed, you can get your royalty checks through Ingram.
You can also have you book listed in Barnes&Noble.com, Smashwords,com, and Lulu.com. However, I have only sold a few books through such outlets, as compared to Amazon.com sales.
Directly selling books online
If you have a number of books printed, you can sell directly from your website and even set up an affiliate program to have others sell your books online.
You need a way to accept payments online and must physically pack and ship books to your customers.
There are several routes to take in selling your books online. The best online bookstore is at Amazon.com.
Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Lulu, and others also have online stores where you can get your book listed and sold.
You can sell directly from your website,
Know your outlets
Resources and references
Top-rated books on Self-Publishing
Questions and comments
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Selling Hardcopy Books Online