Excerpted from our guide, How To Publish On Amazon: Make The Most Of Your Book Sales, get a glimpse into why Amazon is the most important (but not the only) retailer you need to focus on.
On April 3, 1995, Amazon.com sold its first book: Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models Of The Fundamental Mechanisms Of Thought.
On February 1, 2005, Amazon Prime was born. For a yearly fee, Amazon Prime members would get free shipping in the US for eligible purchases, including books.
On November 19, 2007, Amazon released its first eReader: the Kindle.
Readers can browse the world’s largest bookstore day and night, have their printed books shipped for free, and get instant eBook downloads. Amazon sells every genre of book — fiction and nonfiction — from mysteries to romance novels, from cookbooks to memoirs.
Meanwhile, writers around the world can bypass the traditional publishing process and self-publish their work — enjoying unprecedented freedom and autonomy in delivering their work directly to readers.
But, as the saying goes, nothing worth doing comes easy. There’s a lot to do if you plan to self-publish your book, and new authors need to understand the basic facts and fundamentals of self-publishing and distribution on Amazon.
How important is it for you to have your books on Amazon?
Amazon doesn’t publish many statistics, but book industry experts have shared these estimates:
- Amazon sells nearly 70 percent of all books sold in North America — both eBooks and printed books. Amazon dominates the book-selling marketplace in almost every one of its dedicated territories, including the US, UK, Canada, Australia, India, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, and Mexico.
- Each month, nearly 200 million people around the world get on their devices and visit Amazon.com. That’s more than the entire population of Russia.
- In 2018, Amazon Prime memberships had reached a staggering 100 million in the US alone (that’s 59 percent of Amazon’s total US customers).
- In his 2018 stockholder letter, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos noted that over 1,000 self-published authors had each earned over $100,000 in book sales that year. Many thousands more reported sales of $50,000+.
But… don’t put all your eggs in one basket!
While Amazon is a must for self-published authors, it’s a costly mistake to ONLY sell your books through Amazon.
Yes, Amazon is the biggest and most important online bookstore in the industry and you must have your book in all the Amazon stores around the world. But there are many other stores where millions of eBooks and printed books are sold every year, including Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, and dozens more.
Remember, not everyone in the US buys their books at Amazon, and that’s even truer outside of the US. That’s why BookBaby’s eBook distribution network includes more than 60 stores in 170 countries, all managed from one BookBaby account. Want to sell printed books? We offer you your own BookShop page, as well as access to some of the largest online and brick and mortar booksellers in business.
DIY, but not all by yourself
Have you ever painted your house? Or fixed a leaky faucet? Or changed the oil in your car? Sure, you can do it. You don’t even need to have experience — though you’ll be certain to learn from your mistakes in real-time, and some are more costly than others. If you really know what you’re doing, or if you’re prepared for the work to take much longer than necessary, you might even get the job done reasonably well.
Turns out, the same is true for self-publishing. You can work directly with Amazon, turn your manuscript into a printed book or eBook, and do your best to sell your work on the world’s largest online retailer.
But, there are a LOT of details to consider. Things you know but could use some guidance with (penning a long and short book description), things you didn’t realize you’d need to know (how many pages will your 60,000-word Word document translate to in a 6×9 pocket book?), things you have never heard of (International Standard Book Number), and things you don’t want to have to do (you mean I need to do this all over again to sell my book on Barnes & Noble?).
If you’ve ever been a customer of Amazon and purchased a book — or anything offered on the site — you know how it works: you order an item online and it shows up at your door a couple of days later. But how does the process work for authors trying to sell their books? It’s not as simple as you might think.
Find out more! Download BookBaby’s free guide, How To Publish On Amazon: Make The Most of Your Book Sales today!
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