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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 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:

This lesson will answer those questions.

Selling on

The 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 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 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&, Smashwords,com, and However, I have only sold a few books through such outlets, as compared to 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

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

Ron Kurtus' Credentials


Publishing Resources


Top-rated books on Self-Publishing

Questions and comments

Do you have any questions, comments, or opinions on this subject? If so, send an email with your feedback. I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.


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School for Champions

Self-Publishing topics

Selling Hardcopy Books Online

Self-Publishing topics

Initial considerations

Start publishing business


Structure of book

Design book

Design cover

Publish hardcopy book

Publish e-book

Prepare to market

Convert format

Check Copy in eReader

Distribution and sales

Sell books

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