by Adam Juda on Sunday, November 30, 2014
Even folks who aren't interested in my book on how to price software are fascinated by one of the decisions I made in publishing it. I decided to sell it directly on my website, rather than through Amazon's Kindle program.
Heresy I know! But there are some great reasons to ignore Amazon Kindle for your next non-fiction book:
- Email list - When someone buys your book from Amazon, you get notified that "somebody" bought your book. When someone buys a book from me, I get his email address. Many entrepreneurs believe that their email lists are their most valuable assets. Armed with their email lists, these lucky folks have the ability to sell future products and services directly to their existing customers at zero cost.
- Profits - When I sell a book, I pay a few percent of the sales price (to cover credit card processing). With Amazon, my expenses would go up immensely. That store takes a fee of 35% of the list price for items priced below ten dollars, and up to 70% or more for all others. That is a very hefty reduction in income!
- Price anchoring - Because of the fee structure discussed above, most authors price their books below the magic $10 price point. My current prices would look out of place when compared to those of the lower-priced ebooks.
- Less competition - On Amazon's site, every book's page is loaded with advertisements for other books. By controlling my own sales page, I can ensure that potential customers are only thinking about my product, not those of other authors.
That is not to say that it's a no-brainer. There are some significant downsides as well.Downsides:
- More complicated for the author - With Amazon, you upload your files and are done. I had to create a website and configure my credit card processing with Gumroad. This wasn't extremely difficult, but it does represent a bit of work. Do note that even if you publish on Amazon, you'll probably want to create a website for marketing purposes anyway.
- More complicated for the reader - When a reader buys my book, he gets a digital copy. He can load it on any device, but it's not as smooth a process as using a Kindle book. When a reader buys directly from Amazon, the book appears in his Kindle library very quickly.
- Harder to find - Potential readers will not find my book if they rely on Amazon's search box. Fortunately, thanks to my blog and other content, I am beginning to rank more highly in search engines like Google and Bing.
Did I make the correct decision? I certainly think so.
Using walled gardens such as Amazon is very tempting, but the greatest profits always come from cutting out middlemen and owning one's own sales channels.