Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is typically the most profitable outlet for authors/publishers. There is no charge for signing up, and publishers can choose either a 70% or 35% royalty option. The former requires the book to be priced between $2.99 and $9.99; the latter includes any book priced over $.99 and below the $200.00 maximum. A very modest delivery charge is calculated based upon the file size. No ISBN is necessary.

KDP Select is a special program (a subset of KDP) that allows an author to place a designated title into the Kindle Owner's Lending Library—to be borrowed only by Amazon Prime members—while also providing access via Kindle Unlimited, a monthly paid subscription service for readers. Kindle Countdown Deals, a time-based promotional pricing scheme, and the option to offer your book for free for a maximum of five days within the 90 day period, are bonus features for those who choose this program. Authors are required to exclusively distribute their eBook through Amazon during enrollment.

File upload type: mobi (AZW when sold to the public)

Digital Rights Management (DRM) is applied using Amazon's proprietary system, but publishers may opt out.

Barnes & Noble

NOOK Press allows authors/publishers to sell their eBooks through the world's largest bookseller. As in Amazon's KDP, there is no charge for signing up, and the royalty structure is very similar. For books priced between $2.99 and $9.99 the publisher will be paid a royalty of 65%. For those above the $.99 minimum but less than $2.99, or more than $9.99—with a set maximum of $199.99—the publisher will receive 40% of the list price.

File upload type: ePub

Digital Rights Management (DRM) is applied using Adobe's proprietary ADEPT scheme, but instead of using the standard identity-based authorization (Adobe ID), an ID and password-based authorization is utilized, i.e., the billing name and credit card number the customer used to purchase the content. Use of DRM is left to the publisher's discretion. No ISBN is necessary.


Apple's store is a viable option if you own or have access to a Mac computer. iTunes Producer is a free application provided by Apple to upload the ePub file. iTunes Connect is the website used to manage your published books. There is no charge for setting up an account. An iTunes account is mandatory, along with a credit card on file. Royalties are 70%. An ISBN is neccessary, and must be unique to the digital edition being sold.

File upload type: ePub

Digital Rights Management (DRM) is applied using Apple's proprietary Fairplay system.


Kobo Writing Life is the self-publishing portal for Kobo, a global distributor of eBooks and eReading devices with a robust market share in Canada, Australia, and Japan. There is no fee for joining, and no exclusive distribution agreements are required. Publishers can offer their books for free, an option that will appeal to those who want to maximize readership. Royalties are 70% of the suggested retail price for books $2.99 or greater (no maximum indicated), and 45% for those not meeting these terms. An ISBN is required.

File upload type: ePub

Digital Rights Management (DRM) is available if requested.

Google eBooks (Google Play)

After joining the Google Books Partner Center, publishers can market their books online by having a limited preview on Google Books. A link to Google Play (the sales outlet for Google eBooks) will allow any user of Google Books to purchase the content. Royalties are 52% of the list price. An ISBN is not necessary.

File upload type: ePub or PDF.

Digital Rights Management (DRM) is applied using Adobe's proprietary ADEPT scheme, but publishers may opt out.


Lightning Source

For those who want to sell through independent eBook outlets, Lightning Source is the best option. Ingram Digital provides the wholesale distribution necessary to reach such stores.

A publisher account, a signed contract, and setup fees (charged per upload) are to be expected. The publisher sets the list price and the discount. LS pays you the wholesale price when the retailer sells a copy. ISBN numbers are necessary.

Ingram Spark is another option for small and independent publishers, especially those with a limited number of titles to distribute. The pricing structure is very similar to Lightning Source regarding upload fees. Ingram will pay a 40% royalty on all eBooks (list or agency price). Certain limitations and requirements apply for those with existing content on the iBookstore (Apple), or publishers/authors who currently have eBook titles available for purchase on Amazon.

File upload type: ePub, PDF.

Digital Rights Management (DRM) is applied using Adobe's proprietary ADEPT scheme for ePub and PDF.

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