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Some people build their business selling books online. Others have seen success promoting their business with online books

No matter what role you play in a small business, selling books online can be an important part of your strategy. Selling books is a great way to gain new clients and build authority in your niche.

Selling books online helps you to reach a new audience, to gain traction in the market, and to reach the people who need the information that you have to offer.

Sell Books Online: 4 Reasons to Sell Online Books Directly on Your Website

Why Sell Books Online?
Create an On-Brand Experience
Control Your Price and Profits with Online Books
Build an Audience and Offer Them More
Control the Online Book Buying Experience

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Why Sell Books Online?

Selling books online can really help you to build authority in the subject matter or niche that you are part of. 

By adding a book to the range of content that you provide on your subject area, it becomes clear that you know a lot about a certain subject. This helps you to become a visible part of the wider conversation.

Sell online books to give more value to your audience

For example, part of your audience may already engage with your blog content, your podcast, or your videos.  Reading a book is a much more in-depth way to consume your material.

As well as helping you to build authority, selling books can help you to reach a new audience.

People are searching for questions in the subject area that you know about. With strategic placement of your content and your books, you will invite new readers to engage with your material. In this way, they enter your online world to begin the process of discovering more ways to work with you.

In fact, a book is a great way to offer an inexpensive entry point for a purchased product. It offers a chance for customers to begin experiencing your brand, your approach, your expertise, and the way in which you work.

It’s also a really powerful lead generation tool, and we’ll come to that later in this post.

woman reading a book, showing the way that you can deepen your relationship with your customers when you sell books online

Create an On-Brand Experience

Selling direct from your website means that you can create a really on-brand experience for your book. You have more control over the landing page for your book, more control over the design of the page surrounding it, and over where your book appears.

Not only that, but you can surround your book with your brand images, plus any other social proof such as testimonials, videos, and customer quotes.

By creating an on-brand experience, your customer is also not lost in a range of overwhelming options. This includes sites like Amazon, where there are similar titles and related books and products all shown at the same time.

Your customer will be able to land on a beautifully designed personalized page and to find out more about you and how you work in an uncluttered environment, which helps to keep their attention on what you have to offer.

A person working on a travel book, showing how you can expand the ways that you engage with customers when you sell online books

Control Your Price and Profits with Online Books

When you sell direct, you also have greater control over profits, price and placement.

By selling direct on your own website, you keep all the profits of your book as opposed to selling on external sites that take a percentage of your fee.

You also get to decide how, when and how often you might like to run a promotion for your book.

You can make a price change, switch up any marketing offers that you might like to run, and it’s totally under your control.

Deciding how the book appears on your website is also a great benefit of selling directly.

You might choose to have a banner, a page, a pop-up, or a variety of ways in which to alert readers to the availability of your book. 

Sell books online to connect to your niche

Selling directly online means that you can build an audience of people who are dedicated to the subject area that they searched for. 

You can retarget relevant ads to website visitors who landed on your book page and on similar pages.

For example, by showing relevant blog posts, videos, opt-ins or resources to website visitors, you can stay in the minds and attention of potential clients who may have visited your site but not made a purchase.

You can also combine targeted paid advertising with email marketing to help to build your list. For example, when somebody purchases your book, or opts in to read a sample of your book, you can invite them to hear more about what you have to offer. In this way, you provide your audience with more ways to engage with you.

You can also segment your email marketing list to offer bespoke messaging, resources, and posts to different segments of people. In this way, it’s easier to offer your audience solutions to what they really want, which is more likely to lead to a sale.

Build an Audience and Offer Them More

By selling books online you can offer much more to a captive audience.

If your audience has searched for what your book offers, you can help them in so many other ways without them having to leave your website. If you sell directly on your website, it also means that you can create higher-priced items including secure book bundles or courses with books. 

Creating a book bundle is a good deal for the customer, and has a significantly higher purchase price for your business.

If someone has come to you and found your book through a search engine, or through a piece of social media and content that has led them to your book, it can be the start of real engagement and relationship that might turn into a long term client.

A woman reading an online book showing how you can control the experience of your readers when you sell books online

Control the Online Book Buying Experience

By selling directly on your website, you can keep control over the buying experience for your customers.

Right from the moment your visitor interacts with your business online – be it from a direct search engine inquiry, or from a social media post, blog post, or other means of referral – you have control over how you manage their experience.

You can brand every piece of copy, every visual image, every part of the experience from initial discovery to purchase to be totally aligned with your business.

Key Takeaways for Selling Books Online

  • Selling directly from your website means you keep control of your profits
  • Selling directly allows you control of the place, price, and promotion of your books
  • Selling directly online allows you to immerse your customers in your brand, and not distracted with other offers, books, and products.
  • Selling directly helps you to build an audience through targeted traffic and email opt-ins
  • You maintain control over the buying experience

If you would still like to have a presence on third-party online marketplaces while selling books online, you can maintain them and simply direct your own subscribers or fans to purchase on your website. In many cases, your customers would rather purchase from you directly anyway. 

Do you plan to sell directly from your website?
Have you done so in the past?
Share with us in the comments below what worked for you, and how the experience helped your business.

This post was originally published in July 2017 and has been rewritten for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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.


  1. john

    what themes can you recommend for a book store that sells both e-books & printed books

  2. Jana Rumberger

    Thanks for your question Shelly! It depends on how many digital products you’re selling, but we like OneUp and Simple for a clean and professional online store.

  3. Shelly R.

    Can you recommend some themes that would work well for a digital download shop? Thanks

  4. Ray

    Of course if you’re selling your print book on your website you have to take care of the shipping. With print on demand it’s all done for you.

  5. Martha Quixote

    Thanks for sharing those infographics. It really put it into perspective just how much money you can lose out on by selling on Amazon. You don’t think about it when you’re selling 1-2 books, but it adds up quickly doesn’t it?

  6. Chloe Simpson

    I had no idea that Amazon took so much of the profit! Good thing I’m on Selz :)

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