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Amazon can be great for exposure. It might be a smart way for new readers to discover your ebook.

While most businesses might immediately associate Amazon with ebooks as a way to publish, considering an alternative to Amazon has many benefits.

First, there is the often unspoken, hard-hitting truth. Unless you’re already well-established, it’s unlikely that selling exclusively on Amazon is going to result in a long-lasting, substantial income from your writing.

Rather, creating an ebook for your business can be part of a long term strategy for lead generation. Self-publishing in a way that works for you, is great for audience building and brand cohesion. It’s more than a plan to get rich quick from book sales.

The great news is that there are alternatives to Amazon for books when it comes to self-publishing. 

7 Reasons You Need an Alternative to Amazon if You’re Self-Publishing

  1. Keep all your profits
  2. Control how your ebook looks
  3. Build your mailing list
  4. Keep your customers focused on your world and their needs
  5. Build an audience
  6. Sell from your existing social media channels
  7. Ad-hoc marketing offers and viral sharing

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Read on to discover how to keep your profits, reach your audience with more engagement, and stay in control of your content when you self publish.

Why Self Publish?

Self-publishing is a great option for authors and business owners. It gives you the opportunity to create material and release it to audiences without the traditional publishing models.

You have total creative control over your content, your marketing, and your approach to your subject matter, free from the confines of a publishing house. 

The speed at which it’s possible to write and publish a book when self-publishing is incredibly fast, and far swifter than being part of a traditional publisher’s process.

Since you are the main stakeholder in your self-publishing efforts, you can bypass input from wider circles, and create material quickly, efficiently, and relatively easily.

Before considering self-publishing and alternatives to Amazon, it’s important to consider how an ebook might benefit your small business and help to achieve your goals.

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An ebook can provide a huge amount of value for your audience

An ebook can also be an efficient way to start a working relationship with customers, allowing your work to act as a lead magnet to reach new people globally, 24/7.

As a medium, ebooks give potential customers a cost-effective way to experience your brand, your tone of voice, and your way of working.

Your ebook can also link out to other resources that can add value to the people you want to reach. 

These might include:

  • Free opt-ins
  • Learning resources
  • Bonus Videos
  • Worksheets
  • Links to join your community

…and all kinds of additional extras that can allow people to engage with you further. 

Many people assume that Amazon is the only place to publish a new ebook.  After all, it has a global reach and that means that lots of people could find your ebook.

However, there are many downsides to publishing your ebook on Amazon. 

You’re losing control over the look and feel of your work and losing your customers to a sea of “Amazon recommends” distractions. With Amazon, you’re forgoing the ability to target your readers and customers through carefully segmented marketing.

Let’s look at 7 reasons to consider an alternative to Amazon when publishing your ebook

1. Keep all your profits 

When you publish on Amazon, Amazon retains the rights and information about your business. You’ll get credit as the author, but any sales that you make are subject to a percentage paid to Amazon. 

Compare this to hosting your own ebook on your own website, where you retain 100% of the profit from your book sales, and it’s clear that self-publishing is preferable financially.

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2. Control how your ebook looks

Self-publishing allows you to control the look and feel of the ebook you’re selling. 

Every sales page on Amazon looks the same; it’s all branded by Amazon and has a generic landing page.

If you control how your ebook is sold, you have a much greater say in what the landing page looks like. From how the testimonials and reader insights appear to how the reviews appear on your page, you are able to make a much more appealing landing page for your book with an independent website.

You also have more options for how your ebook itself looks. You can create your ebook using a range of digital tools and can be a far richer and more designed experience away from the restrictive .epub format of Amazon.

When somebody purchases your ebook on Amazon, the pub file goes straight to their Kindle. A lot of people have Kindles, and this is a really helpful format to provide an ebook in. However, if you are in control of how you sell your ebook, you can actually provide multiple formats within one sale. 

For example, you can supply the pub format, so that your audience can read your book on their Kindle. You might also wish to provide them with a colorful PDF, worksheet bundles, videos, or other useful material that can make the experience of buying from you much more interactive, interesting, and engaging.

Not only will this help you to serve your audience in a much more original way, but it will allow you to create a better experience for them. This enhanced ebook experience will help them to get to know you in a much more personal manner.

3. Build your mailing list

Using alternatives to Amazon allows you more options to engage directly with your audience through targeted post-purchase email marketing.

If you host your own ebook on your website using a service like Selz, you can communicate directly with your customers who buy the book. 

When customers purchase via Amazon, you don’t have access to their email addresses. This means you’re unable to start a relationship with them via email marketing, missing a powerful opportunity to engage and retain customers.

If a customer buys your ebook on an independent site, you are able to segment your customers depending on which books they have bought This allows you to target them with specific email campaigns, sequences, and broadcasts.

In this way, you can know exactly what they need and how you can serve them with your products and services.

Use marketing to develop relationships

Essentially, you are able to build a more meaningful relationship with your audience and your customers by controlling how you sell your ebook.

Email marketing platforms such as Convertkit, Mailchimp, Aweber and Active Campaign are simple to use and can be set up to nurture and engage your audience in a personal, powerful way.

For example, you could create a sequence of emails after purchase that follows up on the initial book sale. This email sequence adds additional valuable material to your audience.

Engaging with your readers in their inboxes allows a dialogue between you and them to begin, and an automated sequence can take care of nurturing your audience for you, 24/7.

Your follow up sequence could include:

  • An intro to you and your world and business
  • Behind the scenes/bonus extras
  • A survey or Q&A to invite your readers to share more about their needs. This will help you validate the need for future products and services directly from your audience.
There are tons of creative ways you can keep your readers engaged if you self publish your ebook on your own website as an alternative to amazon

4. Keep your customers focused on your world and their needs

By hosting your self-published book on your site, your customers and audience are totally surrounded by your brand, your business, and how you can help them with your products and services.

Selling through Amazon means that your customers are bombarded with similar products, recommended offers, and a raft of information that takes them away from your site, your content, and your offer to them.

Your customers landed on your site for a reason. An alternative to Amazon gives you a chance to offer upsells, special discounts, and further materials to serve your clients at a deeper level.

5. Build an audience

Including the Facebook pixel on your website is an incredibly easy way to build up an audience of people who you know in your niche.

When a reader lands on your site to read a blog post and to browse your products and services, you can build an audience to market to via Facebook ads.

Even if a site visitor doesn’t purchase your ebook immediately, tracking visitors is valuable. Showing them relevant content will funnel them towards your ebook so you don’t lose out on potential sales.

6. Sell from your existing social media channels

Using alternatives to Amazon makes it easy to sell through your social media channels.

Selz integrates with your Facebook business page, allowing you to sell directly from a Facebook store. In this way, you can leverage your social traffic to make sales without your customers having to leave the platform.

Selling online is hard work and you can grow your business with ebooks and other digital products when you pursue alternatives to amazon

7. Ad-hoc marketing offers and viral sharing

Using an alternative to Amazon for your ebook sales allows you to run special offers, promotions, and seasonal marketing offers for your ebook.

It’s easy to create a special offer code for a reduced price offer, early-bird sales, or similar promotions.

Key Takeaways: Why You Need an Alternative to Amazon if You’re Self-Publishing

  • Creating an ebook for your business can lead to adding more value to your customers and audience
  • Using an alternative to Amazon means keeping control of your profits, customer list, and brand experience
  • Self-publishing using alternatives to Amazon leads to opportunities for targeted marketing
  • Alternatives to Amazon offer a distraction-free buying experience, and opportunities to upsell your products or services
  • Using alternatives to Amazon can help you sell with a more integrated approach across social platforms

There are many advantages to using alternatives to Amazon for self-publishing. Have you published an ebook yet? Is it in your plans for your business?

Share in the comments below what insights you gained for your self-publishing goals.

About the author

Jo Gifford

A widely read contributor to Huffington Post, Selz, Regus, Prowess, YFS Magazine and many more interwebz rabbit holes, Jo is a respected UK voice on life as a pocket-sized enterprise owner.

Jo’s background – a seasoned blogger, copywriter, podcaster, and graphic designer with an MA and research interest in creative thinking for small business – makes for an eclectic and colourful killer content approach.

14 comments

  1. Nancy

    Thank you for this, I’ve been stuck and it helps.

  2. Eugene Dakin

    How do I publish an e-book that has added files?

    I have written over 20 computer programming books and there are many examples (>50) that contain files to run the programs that complement the e-book. How can the publisher/store download the files when the e-book is purchased? I have contacted amazon, and they can’t do this type of download with their system.

    Thanks!

    1. Tara Storozynsky

      Hi Eugene, great question! I’m a little unsure of what you mean by the publisher/store downloading files, but I think I know what you mean. You have a couple options here:
      1. You can upload multiple files to a product page. This means that customers can access supplementary resources that complement your Ebook, with the purchase of your Ebook.
      2. You can go to the “Orders” page and download the files using the buyer’s download link.

      Let me know if you have any additional questions! We do offer a free 14 day trial, and you can publish products and start selling in that time. If you’re interested in seeing whether or not this would be the right solution for your Ebook business, you can sign up here.
      Have a great day!

  3. stephen

    I tried selling pdf form from my website, did get some sales, so got to keep most of the funds through paypal, though since payments are not personal, are for products, some customers after receiving the book/s as for their money back. The books I sell can range from $30 to $80 they are gambling based.

    So some try it on, they get the info and get their money back. If you ask for personal payment they can’t get their money back. Though only ever had one ask for his money back from all sales, the rest were happy, I know because received emails from them.

    In the end I thought it too much hassle and stuck to amazon. Plus amazon have this promote your books where you pay for them to be displayed on certain pages or categories etc. Amazon is by far the biggest and most people go to amazon by default these days when they want to buy books. After all amazon began selling books.

    That said I take your point about having a website, I have one and need to update it to generate more traffic, i display my amazon title on my site that are clickable to my amazon page or page of each book then my readers can buy from the click or go direct to amazon and buy.

    Also if you publish outside of amazon (though your book will end up on there anyway) you miss out on the pay for every page read business, KENP. If you have 300+ pages and keep on writing books that sell the revenue can add up. Thus it’s another stream of income as well as the paperbacks and kindle eBook sales.

    1. Bryce Patterson

      Hey Stephen, thanks for chiming in! It’s true that there are absolutely different ways to sell eBooks, and depending on your goals you might find that a personal site isn’t your preferred option. Great to hear about your experience selling!

  4. Alan Toner

    As a self-published author on both Amazon Kindle and Createspace, I found your post very interesting. Due to the hard slog of generating more sales on Amazon, I have now started to consider other means of selling more of my books. In regard to your comment that there still millions of potential buyers of PDF books, I was quite surprised to read this, as I thought Kindle buyers had oustripped PDF buyers quite considerably! So being able to convert my Word docs into PDFs, you reckon I could stand a better chance of selling more books in this format than in the Mobi format? In regard to offering paperback versions of my books, which alternative method to Createspace would you recommend, bearing in mind the cost of printing hard covers on demand?

    1. Hanna Whirty

      Hey Alan! First of all, thanks for reading. These are great questions. Due to the amount of royalties that Amazon takes out, we have found that most of our users get to walk away with more in their product if they sell from their own online store. There’s no way to tell if you will sell more copies by switching to PDFs, but we have seen similar successful results.

  5. AlTonya Washington

    Are there any safeguards to prevent ebook buyers from sharing titles with others once they’ve purchased them?

    1. Kristen DeCosta

      Hi AlTonya! Yes, there is a safeguard to prevent buyers from sharing your ebooks after purchase. You can set up license keys for your ebooks, which protects against sharing! Here are two great posts that discuss what license keys are and how to use them on Selz! Post 1. Post 2. I hope this helps!
      -Kristen at Selz

  6. Mark

    Hi, Im the protranslator, can translate ur landing page for 25$ and u will be able to atrract more traffic from Russia

    1. Kristen

      Hey Mark, thanks for checking in! We may be looking for translators in the future, so I’ll keep your info on hand for Russia. Thanks for stopping by :)

  7. Livingstone Osaretin

    When people buy my book through this medium, do I have to post the hard copy to them or they are to download and read?

    1. Kristen

      Hi Livingstone, if you self-publish, you can sell both a physical copy of your book and a digital copy. If a buyer purchases a digital copy, the book is digitally delivered. If you want to sell a physical copy, you would need to post it to your buyer.

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