Successful self-published authors are tapping into larger markets, which include many other retailers beyond Amazon. “Less is more” is a cute phrase for minimalists, but don’t limit yourself when it comes to online retail options for worldwide book sales.
Updated January 2021.
A lot of self-published authors are making a very costly mistake when it comes to eBook and printed book distribution: They ONLY sell their books through Amazon. In other words, they’re putting all their eggs in one basket.
Mind you, it’s a very BIG basket. Amazon is the biggest and most important online bookstore in the industry, with approximately 67% of the eBook and printed book market share in the United States. You must have your book in all the Amazon stores around the world.
But there are many other baskets – stores where millions of eBooks and printed books are sold in the US each year, including iBooks, Google Play, Barnes & Noble and dozens more. What are the most successful self-published authors learning in 2017? Many opportunities for worldwide book sales lie outside of the USA. They do call it the worldwide web, after all.
Industry statistics collected from around the globe show a diverse and dynamic marketplace.
For example, while Amazon is the dominant player in the UK, it is just one of many outlets in the European Union, along with Tolino, Adlibris, and BOL. And while Amazon is a major player worldwide, its numbers are not the same in other countries as they are in the US: Amazon owns about 40% of the German eBook sector, while down under, Amazon has 34% of the Australian and New Zealand digital book market.
The trend continues around the globe. In Canada, Amazon has less than 40% of the market, with strong competition from retailers such as Indigo and Kobo. Kobo, which also owns Overdrive, a distributor specializing in libraries, has 26 million users and a library of 4.7 million e-books and magazines in 190 countries.
Need another reason to consider the global marketplace? Think of it another way: There are huge English-speaking reader bases across the planet. Yes, the USA is number one on the list, but here are the rest.
English speakers by country
India – 125,000,000
Pakistan – 94,000,000
Philippines – 89,000,000
Nigeria – 79,000,000
UK – 59,000,000
Germany – 46,000,000
Canada – 28,000,000
France – 23,000,000
Australia – 18,000,000
China – 15,000,000, with another 250,000,000 learning English in state schools.
Bottom line: Self-published authors need to think beyond the jungle (Amazon) and onto the world marketplace!
Introducing our new Spanish-language editing service
Global distribution is essential for authors in many other languages as well. Of particular note is the huge growth in Spanish-language titles that are coming through BookBaby. And it’s no wonder: With a growing population of 53 million Spanish speakers, the United States constitutes the second largest Spanish-speaking population in the world, after Mexico. The market for Spanish-language books in the United States is only expected to grow as more people immigrate, pass the language on to their children, or learn their “heritage” language anew.
As a result of the marketplace surge, BookBaby has introduced Spanish-language editing services to give Spanish-speaking self-published authors the same premium editing services enjoyed by their English-language counterparts.
- Choose from all our editing options — line editing, copy editing, and proofreading — at the same low prices as our English-language services.
- Get fast turnaround times — 6–10 working days on most projects.
- Our team of Spanish-language editors is part of the same network of editors we work with from around the globe. These editors work with traditionally published authors in every genre, including many on the New York Times best-sellers list.
Here’s where your eBooks should be sold
Amazon. Amazon is the largest online retailer in the world, and the Kindle is by far the most popular eReader on the market. Your eBook should be available for sale and able to be enjoyed on the Kindle and many other readers through the Kindle reader app.
iBooks. Apple’s iBooks is the premier eBook destination for iPad, iPhone, and iTouch owners in over 50 countries around the globe. When your eBook is listed on iBooks, your readers can purchase it through the iBooks app, available for free through iTunes.
Barnes & Noble. Still one of the biggest eBook retailers in the US. Your eBook needs to be available on B&N.com and easily purchased by millions of NOOK owners around the world.
Kobo. Kobo owns about 20% of the worldwide eBook market, behind only Amazon, and is the leading eBook retailer in many countries, including Canada and Japan.
Here’s where your printed books should be sold
These are the best online stores and distributors for your Print On Demand books.
Amazon. A must for any kind of book sales. Your hardcover or softcover book can be for sale on Amazon, the largest online retailer in the world, alongside literary classics and bestselling authors.
Barnes & Noble. Barnes & Noble is the largest retail bookseller in the United States, with over 650 bookstores throughout the country, plus 700 college bookstores.
Books A Million. Books-A-Million is the second largest book retailer in the nation and also sells on the Internet at BAM.com. The Company presently operates over 250 stores in 31 states and the District of Columbia.
Powell’s. Based in Portland, Oregon, Powell’s Books is the largest independent used and new bookstore in the world.
Ingram. As the world’s largest distributor of books, Ingram can get your book into practically any store, making your book available for sale in over 39,000 online retailers.
Baker & Taylor. Baker & Taylor distributes books to more than 36,000 libraries, institutions, and retailers in more than 120 countries.
“Less is more” is a cute phrase for minimalists. But when it comes to book distribution, the words for self-published authors to live by are: “More is more!”
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