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Selling your eBook online

The Options


Uploading directly to online stores


Using a consolidator to do this for you


Selling through your own website (we do not provide a distribution service but are happy to advise and assist our customers)


Uploading the files to the Online Stores

Please find the details below of how to upload your eBook to the main online outlets. Click on the headings to visit the relevant site.

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing

Format to upload: MOBI

Estimated Market share: 60-70%


Two options:

35% of sales without delivery charge.

70% of sales only if priced between £1.99 and £9.99, delivery charges of 10p per MB plus VAT are incurred. A 30 MB book (e.g. one containing a lot of images) for example will incur a cost of £3 per sale, so you would receive £3.99 from the sale of a £9.99 book. In this way the advantages of the 70% royalty option are lost above a file size of 35 MB.

If you offer an exclusive with Amazon for 6 months they will include your book the Kindle Select programme, which offers royalties for lending your title.

Apple iBookstore

Format to upload: ePub

Estimated Market Share: 10%-20%

Royalties: 70%

Please note: You must have a Mac computer to use the iTunes Producer program to upload your eBook files for sale. If you don’t have an Apple computer, you can upload to the Apple iBookstore via Smashwords


Format to upload: ePub

Estimated Market Share: Less than 5%

Royalties: 65% at certain price range and 45%


Formats: EPUB 2

Royalties: 59% of retail price

Notes: Smashwords is primarily a retailer of eBooks from independent authors and publishers. They will distribute to other retailers such as Apple. If you require an ePub file to be distributed by Smashwords, it is very important that you tell us at the beginning, otherwise we will produce an ePub 3, rather than the ePub 2, required by this company.

Google Play Books

Market Share: Less than 5%

Royalties: 52%

Barnes & Noble NOOK Store

Formats: EPUB 2

U.S. Market Share: 15%-25%

Royalties: 65% and 40%


Uploading the files to the Online Stores

There are a number of companies who will upload your eBook to all the online sites for a fee. This may be a proportion of the royalties, or in the form of fixed annual payments. Please contact us for recommendation.


Sell through your own website

Many authors and small publishers wish to offer eBooks for sale from their own website, although this is possible, the disadvantages are that arranging digital rights management is extremely expensive, and you will be responsible to offer technical support to customers wishing to download eBooks onto their devices. Firsty offers a ‘Direct to Customer’ service for publishers of over 20 books per year, which enables them to sell encrypted eBooks from the publisher’s own website.


A successful marketing programme will most likely include a dedicated website for your title, along with social media Facebook and Twitter. A more extensive campaign might include contacting reviewers and book readings. At the moment we are unable to assist with marketing practically, but can point you in the right direction to find people who will.

eBook Distribution

Digital Rights

Digital Rights Management

A Digital Rights Management (DRM) or encryption to prevent unauthorised copying of files or piracy is automatically provided when selling through Apple iBooks and Amazon, who both restrict eBooks to be read on their proprietary devices owned by the eBook purchaser. Kobo and other eBookstores include DRM through Adobe Content Management. It is possible to sell eBooks from your own website, but arranging encryption through Adobe is very expensive. Please note: DRM is by no means full proof, and can limit legitimate activities.


The author automatically owns the copyright of their work, and copyright is not compromised by distribution of the work in digital form. The copyright statement declares but does not create the copyright.

A typical copyright statement: Copyright © 2016 by Arthur Higgins

There may be an additional paragraph for example:

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.


International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs) are available from Nielsen in the UK in blocks of 10. It is not essential to have an ISBN for eBooks sold through Apple iBookstore or Amazon, but it is highly recommended if you wish to extend your sales to other retailers. There should be a different iSBN for each format of the title: hardback, paperback, ePub and mobi.