Every day self-published authors come to us asking whether they should sell their books on Amazon.
When considering where to sell and market your book, it’s wise to take a long-term view and investigate all of your options. Even though Amazon may sell more books than any other company, there are alternatives – and some of them can make you more profitable.
Selling Books on Amazon: What to Know
Amazon is one of the biggest online booksellers in the world, and it has become a go-to platform for people selling their self-published books. However, as an author and publisher, there are several reasons why you should consider not selling your book on Amazon.
- Amazon Keeps a Large Cut of the Profits – One of the most significant drawbacks of selling books on Amazon is how much profit gets eaten up. Amazon’s referral fees of up to 15 percent on each copy are substantial, and there are other fees, such as shipping and handling. How the costs add up and eat into your profit margin is obvious.
- Amazon’s Algorithm Can Work Against You – Amazon’s search algorithm loves to promote best-selling products. It takes time to get your book noticed if you’re a new or lesser-known author. It uses a review system that is increasingly manipulated, opening you up to less than honest feedback on your book.
- You May Lose Control, and They Take Over – When you sell your book on Amazon, you give up control over your product. It means Amazon might discount your book without your permission, potentially devaluing your work and reducing profits.
- Amazon’s Customer Data Is Not Shared – Building relationships with readers is essential, and Amazon doesn’t give you access to your customer data. It means that you cannot collect valuable data to improve (and expand) your marketing program.
- Limited Marketing Opportunities – You can advertise on Amazon, but it can be expensive. It also might be tough to target your audience effectively. Also, Amazon’s advertising policies can be restrictive, limiting your ability to promote your book how you choose.
Where Else Can I Sell My Book?
The most profitable way to sell your book is directly on your own website. You can also sell it in brick-and-mortar bookstores or work with a book distributor who can get you into chain stores.
Finding an alternative to Amazon isn’t difficult but may take a bit more time initially. You’ll need to weigh the potential advantages against the time commitment required.
It also depends on what you want from your book project. If it’s primarily about sales and profits, you may be wise to consider your alternatives. If you’re less concerned about profits, Amazon may save you time.
Conclusion: Deciding Whether to Sell Books on Amazon
By exploring other options, such as independent bookstores, chain stores, or direct-to-reader sales, you can retain more control over your product and potentially increase your profits.
Ultimately, the decision to sell on Amazon or not depends on your goals as an author or publisher and the strategy you wish to pursue.