From time to time, I get asked why my books aren’t available on the Kobo/Nook/iPad, or [insert your non-Kindle e-reader of choice].
The simple answer?
The vast majority of e-book readers use a Kindle device (like 55% of the market). The other 45% is divided over the e-reader options.
I would sincerely love to accommodate those who encourage me and like my writing but simply have another preferred device for reading ebooks. Unfortunately, most of the other companies are NOT user-friendly or they make it virtually impossible for non-US citizens.
I’ve spent the better part of a few afternoons in the last two weeks trying to upload the ePub format of my book to the other online ebook stores, and I’m surprised at how pathetic and UN user-friendly the whole experience was.
I decided I wanted to make The Imperishable Seed of Christ perma-free on the other platforms so Amazon would do a ‘price check’ and make it free on their site as well. Obviously, the first step would be to make sure it’s actually on those other services.
Knowing that Amazon has by far the lion’s share of books available on their platform than as do the other ones, I never thought of it as much of a priority until recently only because a small percentage of my podcast listeners or blog readers ask me to.
I’ve made my books in ePub format and it can be bought in my store, but otherwise, I’ve not made it available in the other markets. So, I sat down thinking I’d finally get that sorted out back in March.
But here’s a little nugget of information worth knowing beforehand.
Why Amazon Takes The Cake
When first enrolling ebooks on Amazon, authors are given the opportunity to submit their ebooks to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Select program for 90 day intervals. This provides the author a chance to give their book away for 5 days free during that period, or doing a countdown where you can lower your price to a minimum of 99 cents. During a KDP countdown, the page for your book displays a countdown ticker showing how much longer until your book is the normal price again. These are huge benefits for authors trying to get established, as Amazon often helps promotes books when they’re in one of those two options so more people will see the author’s book in “also bought” sections of other titles.
Also, Amazon Prime members can borrow one book per month, and when you’re enrolled in KDP Select not only is your book one of the ones that can be borrowed, but you receive a commission for every borrow.
The only caveat: exclusivity.
For the entire ninety days your book is enrolled in KDP Select, it can’t be available elsewhere on the internet, including long excerpts on your own blog, for example. With the fact that Amazon is the dominant force on the internet right now for ebooks, and these benefits aren’t matched anywhere else at the time of this writing, a lot of authors don’t even bother making their book available to non-Kindle users. Others don’t care about these KDP Select benefits and want their book available in every format possible, and make it available everywhere. But I know very few authors in the latter category.
As for this author, I tried. And it reinforced for me why Amazon is wiping all the competition’s butts!
For those of you who ask from time to time why I don’t make books available on other ebook besides Kindle. Simple. All of them suck.
Your Nook or iPad might be a FAR superior device to the Kindle
But for self-published authors, that doesn’t mean that those companies who created them or provide the online bookstores where you can buy the content for them have any clue about how to make the process of uploading ebooks onto their stores easy.
Then add to that being a non-US citizen, making the tax process super complicated. Amazon keeps 30% of my royalties, despite having filled out the paperwork needed, and waiting who knows how long now for the IRS to give me a certain ID number needed so I can fill out the form and receive all 100% of my royalties.
I also gave Kobo a try, and since Canada is a country they operate in, I didn’t need to go through the same hoops, but can’t get paid until I’ve reached $100 in royalties. With Amazon it used to be $10 but now there’s no minimum threshold if you receive your royalties by direct deposit.
With Kobo, I waited over a week for two of my 5 books to upload. With Amazon, it’s usually like 12 hours. Not to mention Kobo is said to be about 20% of the ebook market.
Number of copies of books I’ve given away since uploading to Kobo: 31
Number of copies of books I’ve given away since uploading to iBooks: 12
Barnes & Noble (Nook) and Apple (iBooks) do NOT in ANY way make it easy for non-US residents (at least not Canadians) to sell and **be paid**. iBooks, in my opinion after wasting entire afternoons trying to open a PAID account (where I can offer my stuff for sale and not free), is the absolute worst of them all so far in terms of amount of time I feel has been wasted.
Number of copies of books I’ve sold since uploading to iBooks: one
Number of copies of books I’ve sold since uploading to Kobo: zero.
Number of copies of books I’ve sold since uploading to Barnes and Noble: zero
For all the people who ask me to make my books available in these other stores, nobody is actually buying them once I do, at least not to date. Granted two of my titles are exclusive on Amazon right now while the other 4 are in the other formats as well.
So again, it’s not that authors necessarily want to sell on exclusively on Amazon, despite the incentives with KDP Select which allows authors the promotion of a free book for 5 days or doing a Kindle countdown. It’s be because we find it much easier and less of a headache. Amazon is the company that has their crap together.
If the other book stores would like to conquer more of the market, they would seriously have to step up their game.
I’d truly like to make my books available to the widest number of people as possible in as many of varieties of distribution channels possible, but many of them don’t really give me any incentive to.