Circling the Globe

eBook Distribution

January 2018

Indie Authors Monthly magazine.

https://www.indieauthorsmonthly.com/

As the battle continues to wage between Amazon and the rest of the world for market supremacy, I doubt anyone would dispute the sales potential of eBooks. With a digital market comprised of international and national retailers and wholesalers, it is not surprising there is stiff competition for a piece of a very lucrative industry.

While Amazon and Barnes & Noble (B&N) are the most familiar sales sites, Apple has a strong presence with iBooks available for purchase in fifty-one countries.

Kobo’s network encompasses 190 countries, and the company claims to operate one of the world’s largest e-bookstores.

Tolino is a major European supplier of eBooks in four countries for the German market.

Gardners, an international wholesaler, operates in thirty-two countries and is the largest UK distributor.

Baker & Taylor Blio and Axis 360 distribute eBooks to libraries throughout the world.

Inktera is a reading platform that delivers digital content to readers worldwide.

Scribd and 24 Symbols are eBook online paid subscription services.

Overdrive distributes to 30,000 libraries in over forty countries.

Follett provides digital content to 80,000 schools.

While these are only a few of the more prominent companies, they do underscore the multitude of national and international opportunities that exist for the sale of an eBook. To tap into the vast network, an Independent Author will be faced with several choices.

The first is Kindle’s KDP Select program. Enrollment gives Kindle the exclusive right to sell the eBook for a period of ninety days. During this timeframe, it cannot be sold on any other retail site.

Once an author has elected to expand the eBook’s distribution, there are two options. The first is to upload the eBook direct to retailers such as B&N, iBooks, and Kobo. This approach, however, will not gain access to the full spectrum of distributors and retailers. The second is to use a distributor such as IngramSpark, Smashwords, or Draft2Digital (D2D).

IngramSpark has the largest distribution network with seventy worldwide retailers and wholesalers. A notable omission on their list is Overdrive and Scribd. There is also a rider regarding distribution to Amazon and Apple. If an author has loaded any eBooks to Kindle in the previous 12 months, Amazon will not accept the eBook. For iBooks, the eBook cannot already be available through Apple.

Smashwords has fourteen with an emphasis on library distribution: Amazon, B&N, Kobo, iBooks, Overdrive, Baker & Taylor 360 Axis, Blio, Inktera, Scribd, Tolino, Gardners, Odilo, Library Direct, and Bibliotheca Cloud Library. Amazon distribution is limited.

D2D has ten: Amazon, iBooks, B&N, Kobo, Tolino, Overdrive, Scribd, 24 Symbols, Playster, and Inktera.

Many authors combine IngramSpark with Smashwords or D2D to access a distribution channel not available with IngramSpark, such as Overdrive or Scribd. D2D and Smashwords provide an opt-out feature for duplicated channels.

Is there a best choice? It depends on the author’s goals. The answer to one question, however, can be invaluable.

Where do I want my eBook sold?

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