Are you tired of paying exorbitant fees to sell your eBook on Amazon? Amazon seemingly adds new fees (or other ways to reduce your cut) every week, so it only makes sense that you would find this aggravating. Fortunately, there is a way to sell eBooks without using a middleman. And at the end of the day, that means more money in your pocket.
This article will cover everything you need to know about selling eBooks on your website. Let’s begin.
How to Sell Ebooks On Your Website
Selling eBooks on your website sounds like a daunting task, but it’s really not that difficult to set up. In this section, I will tell you exactly how to begin selling eBooks on your website.
Note: A lot of information covered in this section is important backend work. It’s boring stuff, but it is a necessary part of selling digital products. You definitely don’t want to skip those parts.
There are a few technical and legal things you need to do before you begin selling products on your website. Of all those tasks, getting an SSL certification for your website is the most important.
Basically, an SSL certificate will encrypt the connection that visitors make to your site. This means that they have no risk of hackers stealing their credit card data while purchasing ebooks from your site.
I highly recommend getting an SSL certificate for your website. It’s fast and easy to set up. The best part? There are many free providers (such as Let's Encrypt), so there isn’t any reason to not get an SSL certification.
If you use PayPal Checkout, then they will provide you with a Terms and Conditions template. You can also find plenty of templates online. This is the easiest step. But it’s also one that many eBook sellers forget to do.
Choose Your Online Selling Platform
If you want a free option then using WooCommerce is possibly the best solution since it has a log of add-ons, plugins and it's highly customizable and is one of the most used plugins on WordPress. If you want your online store to be robust and made only for the purpose of selling online then go with Shopify (it has a Free 14-days trial).
Choose a Payment Processor
It’s 2022, which means you have a lot of payment processors to choose from. The two most popular choices are Stripe and PayPal. You can use any of them to integrate with your online store to receive payments from your customers.
Delivering an eBook to your customer is different depending on the online selling platform you use. If you use WooCommerce, Shopify then they have a separate page for downloading digital files after successful payments. Gumroad offers a complete package that handles delivery in a secure manner.
Use DRM Protection Software
The biggest concern authors have about selling their eBooks on their own sites is piracy. There is a way around it, though:
Basically, the DRM will create a few obstacles to prevent the illegal sharing of your eBook. The preferred method is social DRM adding the purchaser’s name and email address to the eBook. People might share your book, but they won’t share it if their name and email address are included on every page. It’s also much easier to track them down for potential litigation.
We offer DRM software with all those features and more. Our software even comes with a full refund no question asked 14-days trial, which gives you plenty of time to understand how things work.
Overall, DRM is pretty much a requirement when selling eBooks on your own website. You definitely don’t want to skip this step. Don’t worry, DRM software is affordable. It’s definitely a better deal than losing 30% of your sales revenue to Amazon fees.
Building a Sales Page
You need some form of a sales page to sell your eBook. There are many solutions available, though.
If you’re selling a marketing or instructional book, then it makes sense to simply use a sales letter to sell your eBook. You will want to talk about how your ebook can help with certain topics, and that you’ve found a solution then have a purchase link at the bottom. It really does work great for certain types of books.
However, if you’re selling novels or non-fiction books, then you really shouldn’t do that. In that case, I recommend going with an eCommerce platform that has the ability to sell digital goods. Selling ebooks directly with Shopify or WooCommerce will work perfectly fine.
Build an Email List
Have you ever noticed that almost every website asks for your email address?
That’s because an email address makes it so much easier to sell products. In fact, an email list is often considered a cash cow in the internet marketing industry. With that in mind, you should encourage every customer to join your email list.
Start a Newsletter
If you followed the advice listed above and collected emails, then you have to make sure to send out a newsletter. In the eBook industry, most sellers will send out a weekly or monthly newsletter with updates. Some will even send out a newsletter with affiliate links to non-book, but still relevant, products.
More importantly, you should use the newsletter to promote your new releases or give some updates about your personal life to build your writing brand. This is especially true if you are a prolific fiction author.
Benefits of selling eBooks on your website
There are a ton of benefits of selling eBooks on your own website. This section will cover some of the advantages. Keep in mind that most of the advantages are in relation to the amount of control you have over sales.
You can Bundles eBooks
First, you have the ability to bundle different eBooks, or even products, on your website. For instance, you can sell an eBook on raising chickens along with an eBook for building chicken coops. Of course, you can discount these bundles as well.
This will improve your revenue and profit. And it will also increase your authoritativeness.
Marketing control is another huge benefit of using your website to sell eBooks. It’s your website, so you can do whatever you want with marketing.
Want to advertise on Facebook?
You can do that.
Want to write a sales letter above your sales button?
You can do that, too.
Want to run discounts on some of your eBooks?
You can easily do that without paying any extra fees or jumping through hoops.
As you can see, you can do pretty much anything you want on your website, which is a huge advantage compared to being a sales box on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
If you use the payment processors listed above, then your customers do not have to worry about creating an account to make a purchase. Think about it, someone probably isn’t going to make an account just to read your book.
Fortunately, all that is required to purchase an eBook online is a credit card. If your website is using Paypal but your customer doesn’t have a PayPal account, they can still use it. Paypal has the option to use them and it will appear on the credit card statements. It’s easy, and it’s something that people are already used to doing.
I briefly mentioned pricing control earlier, but I’ll go into more detail here. The book eBook sellers do not allow you to choose your own price. Sure, you can choose a general price, but most of them only allow you to sell in increments of $0.99, which is a little annoying.
If they do allow all increments, then they will pay different commissions based on the price. Amazon, for instance, pays a smaller commission for eBooks priced at $0.99 than for those priced at $2.99.
You don’t have that problem on your own website, but you do still have to pay processing fees. It’s still better than having less control over your price, though.
More Tracking Options
None of the eBook marketplaces allow sellers to view customer data. You might get some generalized data, but it’s nothing specific enough to make much use of. In fact, you won’t know anything about your readers.
That isn’t good if you want to increase your reader base.
You have access to all this information if you’re selling ebooks directly on your own website via Google Analytics. You can see data about website viewers, time on each page, bounce rate, and all kinds of other useful information. Some tracking apps even tell you where customers place their mouse or will even record the screen.
That’s just not the kind of information you get with Amazon, you know it, your customers browsing and go to a shopping cart, etc. So, all you data geeks will definitely love all that data you receive. Plus, it allows you to make more informed decisions such as future books to write or the best type of cover art.
Collect Email Addresses
Collecting email addresses is one of the most important things you can do to increase your eBook sales. Unfortunately, Amazon will ban you if you even try to collect emails.
Well, that isn’t a problem with your own website. You can collect all the emails you want. Just make sure that you have the proper legal disclaimers on your website.
More Reading Options
Most publishers have a very restrictive DRM that doesn’t allow readers to read their books on non-proprietary apps or hardware. In other words, you can’t read an Amazon Kindle eBook on your computer or phone without software or an app.
Many customers don’t like that at all. They want to easily read their eBooks on all their devices. And they can really only do that if you sell an eBook on your own website.
In my opinion, this reason alone makes it worthwhile to sell on your own platform as opposed to the major platforms.
Selling eBooks on Your Own Site – Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about selling eBooks on your own website.
Can I sell eBooks on my own website together with Amazon (or any other platform)?
Yes. You can sell eBooks on your own website and other websites IF you have the appropriate license. For instance, Amazon requires exclusivity from books published on Amazon KDP Select. But that’s an exception, not a rule.
You will generally be fine selling your eBook on multiple platforms.
How much does it cost for a domain and hosting?
This depends on the amount of traffic you receive. You should expect to pay anywhere from $5 to $20 per month in hosting charges. A dot com domain will cost $13 per year. Other domains may cost more or less, but $13 is about average for a dot com. Don’t go with GoDaddy, Bluehost. Most of the online reviews give them high scores because their affiliate commission is high. Go with HostWinds, SiteGround instead.
What is a good domain name for selling eBooks on your website?
Most authors simply use their pen name as their domain name. It’s easy for customers to remember and it helps build your brand. If your pen name isn’t available, then simply choose a variant of your pen name.
Well, that about covers it for selling eBooks on your own website. The entire process really isn’t that hard. Most authors can get the entire website set up in under a day, which is actually really impressive.
And the benefits really do make it worth it. Simply put, you have so much more control over your eBooks with your own website. You can still sell on other platforms for more exposure, too. Many authors simply have a website for their more devoted readers to stay updated.
Also, you don’t need to worry about piracy when selling eBooks on your own website IF you have DRM software. Our DRM software has all the features you need to protect yourself from eBook pirates. The best part?
It’s affordable and available on a monthly plan, so you still come out ahead when compared to selling on Amazon or other platforms.
To make things even better, we have a 30-day free trial that allows you to see if you like the software. No credit card required.