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Basics Of Online Book Retailers: MIRAL SATTAR

Basics of Online Book Retailers: MIRAL SATTAR

Where do you go to sell you books and why?

Thinking about self-publishing and wanted to know about the biggest retailers for your digital and print books?

A few years ago you had to use a distributor to get your books into all the major retailers. Now, most retailers allow authors to directly upload their books. This is great because you can also maximize on royalties this way.

When uploading an ebook or a book I recommend uploading your book to the following retailers:

  • Amazon KDP
  • Barnes and Noble
  • iBookstore
  • Kobo

For print books I recommend either:

As you may already know, different retailers might require different file forms for readable conversion on their devices. The preferred file conversions for each device and retailer are as follows:

  • MOBI/PRC:  Amazon
  • EPUB:  Barnes and Noble (NookPress), Apple iBooks, Kobo (also now Sony)
  • PRINT READY PDF:  CreateSpace, Ingram Spark



  • Known as KDP, Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (http://kdp.amazon.com)
  • Over 60% of market (guesstimate)
  • 25% of revenues on Amazon come from self-published titles in US
  • Royalties: 70% if your book is between $2.99 and $9.99
  • You need a PRC or MOBI file: 50MB
  • Cover
  • At least 1000px on longest size, JPEG or TIFF, 1.6 height-width ratio
  • Don’t hardcode page numbers
  • To sell your book you will need to submit tax and bank Information

Barnes and Noble

  • Known as Nook Press (http://nookpress.com)
  • Formerly PubIt!
  • Roughly 25% of ebook market (guesstimate)
  • Royalties are about 65%
  • You will need to upload an EPUB File: 20MB
  • Cover size
  • Optimal: between 750px and 2000px in length, JPEG, 5KB to 2MB filesize
  • To sell your book you will need to submit tax and bank Information


  • Apple iBookStore
  • Roughly 25% of ebook market (guesstimate)
  • You will need to upload an EPUB File: 2 GB
  • Great for enhanced ebooks
  • Royalties are 70%
  • Cover size
  • Minimum 1400 px along smaller side, JPEG or PNG file
  • To sell your book you need to input your bank and tax information
  • You need a Mac and an iTunes Connect account
  • You will need to download iTunes Producer


  • Kobo Writing Life – kobowritinglife.com
  • Single digits market share* (guesstimate)
  • Royalties are 70%
  • You will need to upload an EPUB File: 200 MB
  • Cover size:
  • Optimal: 600px x 860px, JPEG, PNG
  • To sell your book you need to input your bank and tax information

To Summarize in a nice chart:


* The market share percentages don’t add up to 100%. That’s because they are guesstimates. No retailers actually reveal their market share, and since a lot of authors have stopped using ISBN numbers, the REAL numbers are not really known.


If you’re doing a print book, you may want to consider print on demand

Don’t spend money on a print run if you don’t already have a distribution deal. Without a deal, you may just end up with a few hundred books sitting in your garage.

If you have already found someone to distribute your books for you, you may want to opt for a print-on-demand service, like CreateSpace or Ingram Spark, where the book is printed and sent to readers when they buy it.

You’ve probably heard the buzzword ‘print on demand.’ With digital technology you no longer have to pay upfront for printing costs because now there are so many print-on-demand options.

With popular print-on-demand services, like CreateSpace or Ingram Spark a book only gets printed when someone buys it.



CreateSpace is an Amazon company that has no upfront costs to upload your book. CreateSpace sets wholesale discounts at 20% for the CreateSpace store, 40% for Amazon, and 60% for expanded distribution. There is an expanded distribution feature for $25.

Ingram Spark

We previously referred authors to Lightning Source, but since the launch of Ingram Spark (just for self-published authors), it looks like going with them is a much better option for authors. Ingram Spark authors have wholesale discount choices when setting up their titles for POD distribution—55% and 40%. They do have setup fees.


Ebook cover: If you want to just create one cover for you ebooks a size of 1600 x 2400 pixels in JPEG works for all

Print cover: You will need to design a front cover, back cover and spine for your book


If you’re self-publishing, you may want to consider getting an ISBN. ISBN rules vary from country to country. No retailers require them to self-publish, but having an ISBN may up your Google ranking and help other vendors pull out search data for your book. Also, if your book does well, an ISBN can help you get on the best-seller lists for NYTimes, USA Today, and other lists.

You should also make a decision about where you want to self-publish and pick your retailers. Do you just want to sell your book on Amazon? Do you want to publish an e-book? Or a print book? Or both?

Diversity is always good because you don’t want to be tied to one particular retailers.


If you’re looking to minimize all your uploads to various retailers you can opt for Smashwords or Draft2Digital.

About Miral Sattar:

Miral Sattar is CEO of Bibliocrunch, a platform that matches authors with trusted, prescreened book publishing professionals. Miral loves books and loves helping authors fulfill their publishing dream. Her company Bibliocrunch has helped numerous authors hit the Amazon best-seller list. Miral just published her free ebook, A Self-Publishing Guide for NaNoWriMo Writers. She and her writing have both been featured in numerous media outlets including BusinessWeek, BBC, TIME, Forbes, Money Magazine, Consumer Reports, PBS, and other media publications. She has a MS in Publishing (NYU) and a BS in Computer Engineering (Columbia). Miral describes herself as 1/3 engineer. 1/3 entrepreneur. 1/3 writer.



This Article is from the IndieReCon 2015 Conference, for more Agenda content please view our event archives

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