How to maximize your ebook profit
Here are a couple of ways to distribute your ebook:
1. Smashwords + Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing
At this writing, Smashwords does not distribute ebooks to Amazon Kindle, but it does to just about every other meaningful ebook retailer:
- Barnes & Noble (Nook)
2. Smashwords + Amazon Kindle + Barnes & Noble Pubit!
Reason for going outside Smashwords: to make a tiny bit more per sale.
Reasons for going with Smashwords: to sell on Sony, Kobo, Apple, and others that have costly requirements or other limitations.
Sony does not accept books from individual authors or very small indie publishers—to sell your ebook on Sony, you need to have it on Smashwords (and they recommend that).
Apple, Sony, and Kobo require an ISBN for your ebook (not the same one as a print version).
Royalties they pay
In some cases, Smashwords actually pays you more than the retailer would pay you directly, depending on the price you charge.
Smashwords pays 60% of your list price on sales to all of the retailers it distributes to: Apple, Diesel, Kobo, Sony, and Barnes & Noble.
B&N pays 65% of list for books priced between $2.99 and $9.99. However, it pays only 40% of list on books below $2.98 or above $10. So, in this case, you could actually earn more from B&N sales via Smashwords on books outside of the $2.99-9.99 bracket.
Amazon Kindle pays 70% of list for books between $2.99 and $9.99, but only 35% for books outside that range.
Amazon’s price-matching can cost you: Amazon will “price match” prices on other sites, dropping the price for your book to the lowest that a competitor offers.
Recently I raised my ebook prices from $.99 to $2.99. Since Smashwords distributed them to all but Amazon Kindle, I only had to make the price change at Smashwords and Amazon Kindle. But, because of Amazon’s price-matching, they continued to sell the Kindle version for $.99 for a couple of weeks after the price change. This was no doubt because their system was detecting the ebook still out there for $.99 at one of the retailers served by Smashwords.
The Kindle price is now what I wanted it to be. Interestingly, after I upped the “official” price to @2.99, sales at the $.99 price on Amazon earned the 70% royalty rather than the 35% royalty.