There is a lot to be said for being in control of your own destiny. You set the rules, you determine the pace and you reap the rewards. On the other hand, you’ll enforce the rules, you’ll keep the pace and you’ll take on all of the responsibility. The advantages of selling ebooks on your own site fit neatly into these parameters, as you will see below.
Higher Sale Prices
If you sell on Amazon and price your book above $9.99 a copy, you’ll see a mere 35 percent royalty. This is designed to keep prices down on the site. When you sell on your own, you’re free to price your books however you see fit—keeping in mind you do have to pay attention to what the market will bear. What’s more, you get to keep all of the money, which means your profit margin is wider once all of your other costs are satisfied.
You Get Paid Faster
When you sell books on your own site, as soon as your payment processor is satisfied the funds are good, they’re yours to do with what you will. When you sell on one of the large distribution sites, you’ll wait for their disbursement cycle. This can take 60 days or more.
Build Your Audience
Selling on your own site also means you get the contact information of everyone who buys your book. This can be invaluable when it comes to marketing. If you sell on one of the major distribution sites, you have no idea who bought your book, so the next time you publish, you have no way to let your previous customers know you have a new offering. Garnering new customers is difficult and expensive. Selling to repeat customers entails significantly less effort and expense.
Communicate Directly with Your Readers
This one dovetails with the above benefit but goes one step farther. Once you know who your readers are, you can engage with them directly in forums you set up on your site and your social media platforms. They can ask you questions, which can serve as an incubator for new books based upon what they tell you they want to know. You can also create a loyalty group within which you share insights, discounts, previews and free downloads.
When you’re considering how to sell ebooks on your own website, one of the decisions you’ll make is whether to go with digital rights management (DRM). This prevents readers from copying and sharing your eBooks to other devices or uploading them to pirate sites. As an independent author and seller, you’ll likely be in favor of employing DRM. However, it can be a very costly proposition to undertake on your own.
Adobe Content Server is the software of choice for independents availing themselves of DRM. You’ll pay $10,000 for the license, $1,500 per year to renew it, plus 25 cents for each book to which it is applied. You’ll also have to establish your own accounting system for it, which, in addition to everything else, can result in tens of thousands of dollars of expense. Signing with an eBook fulfillment service can get you DRM protection for less money, but it will still entail fees. Most large distributors insist upon employing DRM, but when you publish and sell on your own, the choice is yours.
So, there you have it, the primary advantages of selling ebooks on your own site. Keep in mind, there are some cons to be mindful of as well, such as taking on the responsibility of driving traffic to your site to garner sales.
Ultimately, you’ll have to decide what you think will best serve your goals.