7 Distributing Your Book to Ebookstore and Print-on-Demand Channels

Almost There

You’ve written your book. You’ve edited your book. You’ve produced your files. You’ve got a “book” now! But it’s not a book until people can buy it.

You can get your ebooks into most of the ebook and print-on-demand stores yourself.

Or, you can get a distributor to do it for you (more on this later).

Where You Want to Be–Ebook Stores

There are five big ebook stores you want to be in:

  • Kindle (<- it’s easy to publish here yourself)
  • Kobo (<- it’s easy to publish here yourself)
  • Nook Press: (<- it’s easy to publish here yourself)
  • Google Play:  (<- it’s a bit harder to publish here)
  • Apple iBooks (<- it’s a pain in the butt to publish here)

Print-on-Demand Venues

Print-on-demand (POD) technology means you can print one copy of a book economically, rather than buying a quantity of hundreds up front and then reselling them.

With POD, you can sell your book in online stores (such as Amazon). When someone buys your book, the book is printed and shipped directly to the buyer, without you doing anything.

This means that it is just as easy to publish a print book as it is to publish in ebook stores.

There are two good places to sell your POD book:

  • CreateSpace (Amazon-owned, but recently started offering distribution into other online bookstores; free)
  • IngramSpark (distributes in Amazon and everywhere else, produces hardcover books in print-on-demand and will handle your ebook distribution too; $49 setup fee)

Get Your Book Into Bookstores

Once you’re finished writing a book, there are two ways to publish it in the bookstores. You can upload your files into the ebook stores manually yourself. Or you can pay a third party to publish your book in a set of ebook stores for you.

It’s cheapest (free in most cases) to go through the time and effort to submit your files directly to the bookstores instead of paying an intermediary.

There are also many advantages to uploading your book directly to bookstores yourself:

  • DIY distribution to nearly all the ebook stores is free and relatively simple.
  • You won’t be paying someone an additional cut of your book sales, on top of the percentage the retailer takes.
  • You’ll get direct and instant access to your sales reports.
  • You’ll get paid faster. For instance, KDP pays you each time you have a sale. If you upload your book directly, you won’t to wait for your royalties to pass through another company before they get to you.
  • One of the best things about self-publishing is the ability to change a manuscript immediately if you find an error or typo, for example, or if you need to add new material or an update. Changes are much easier and faster (and free!) when you don’t have to go through a third party.

You can submit your book to the major bookstores at the links below.

Ebookstores

Print-on-Demand

In each case, you’ll need to sign up for an account, then go through a guided process on a publishing dashboard to upload your book files.

To get your book in most of these stores, you will need the following items on hand:

  • Your book files (PDF for print-on-demand, MOBI for Kindle, EPUB for others)
  • Your book cover files (ebook and/or print)
  • Your book information (description, author, category, etc.)
  • Your banking information (used for tax-reporting purposes and for royalty deposits)
  • ISBN (optional for ebooks)

Step-by-Step Guides to Publishing in Popular Bookstores

Need more details? We’ve created step-by-step guides to publishing in each of the major stores.

You can access those guides at the links below:

Getting your book into the Apple store is a little more complex. If being in iBooks is a priority, you may wish to consider a distributor.

Book Distributors

Plenty of companies will handle distribution for you and get your book published in most or all of the ebookstores for a fee or a percentage of royalties.

Some of the main distributors are:

  • Smashwords (royalties vary, distributes to most bookstores including Apple, but generally not to Amazon[1])
  • IngramSpark (costs $49 + a percent of sales; one advantage is that they do ebooks and print-on-demand, as well as hardcover print-on-demand)

Sign up for our email updates at bit.ly/self-pub-updates to get more tips on self-publishing. 


  1. Smashwords distributes a few select books to Amazon. Your book must have made over $2,000 at their other retailers first to be considered.

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