Gazette U

Part 2: Retailers and Distributors

By Nancy Hellekson

Retailers and Distributors

Now that we know that Retailers are publishing companies that will sell your book only on their website. Let’s take a look at some of the largest Retailers

Amazon Publishing

         Amazon is probably the most recognizable name. It was the first online book seller/retailer. I remember, in 1995, when it started out in Jeff Bezo’s garage in Bellevue, Washington with $225,000 seed money from his parents. It quickly outgrew the garage and  is recognized worldwide.

         Amazon uses the POD concept and only prints copies of books that are ordered. Authors follow the print guidelines and upload their cover and interior.

Online Help: Extensive help center at https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help

Pricing: Free to Upload

Royalties:  60% of (List price – Printing costs)  

Print or e-Book? Print books

Kindle Direct Publishing

         KDP is a division of Amazon Publishing that publishes e-books exclusively. It is the largest e-book retailer. Authors must upload their e-books as a pdf or ePub. And the cover as a pdf. KDP is no longer accepting Mobi files.

ePub vs. PDF

         Perhaps, now is the time to discuss the difference between an ePub file and a pdf and why you should always upload an e-book as a followable ePub file.

         EPub stands for Electronic Publication and PDF is Portable Document Format which was created by Adobe in 1993. Essentially, a pdf is a photograph of your document. If you upload your e-book as a pdf, it will appear exactly as you formatted it and will not flow easily from page to page. It will not read well on e-readers. In fact, some e-readers won’t accept it. EPub files, on the other hand, can be created with flowable text which allows the reader on any device to have a good reading experience. 

Online Help: Extensive help center at https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help

Pricing: Free to Upload

Royalties:  70% if the e-book is more than $2.98;  35% if the e-book is below $2.99

Print or e-Book?   E-Books only





Apple Books

         Apple Books (formerly iBooks) is the second largest retailer of e-books. To publish directly on Apple Books, you must have a Mac device and upload in epub format.

This link will tell you everything you need to know about publishing to Apple Books.


Agreements, Tax and Banking
Set up Users
Create Your Book
Proof Your Book
Publish Your Book
Manage Your Book
Update Your Book
Manage Rights and Pricing
Market Your Book
Your Book on Apple Books
Sales and Payments

 Online Help: Available at https://itunespartner.apple.com/books/

Pricing:   Free to Upload

Royalties:   70%

Print or e-Book?   e-books



Barnes & Noble Press

Barnes & Noble Press (formerly known as NOOK Press) is the self-publishing arm of Barnes & Noble. Books published through Barnes & Noble Press are only available online at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/ or in their physical bookstores.

Online Help: Extensive online help at https://help.barnesandnoble.com/app/bnpress/main

Pricing: Free Upload


Print Book – 55% royalty rate of the List Price, minus the per book printing cost

E-Book –    $0.99 – $2.98 — 40%
$2.99 – $199.99 — 65%

Print or e-Book? Both


 Kobo Writing Life

Have you never heard of Kobo? Then it’s likely you don’t live in Canada. Rakuten Kobo is a Canadian company that’s a subsidiary of the Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten and as such, reaches the international market.

Kobo Writing Life is Kobo’s self-publishing arm. Self-publishing on Kobo does not require any exclusivity to their site. You can publish on multiple sites.

Online Help: Extensive online help at https://kobowritinglife.zendesk.com/hc/en-us

Pricing: Free to Upload

Royalties:  70% on books priced more than $2.99 ; 45% for books priced below $2.99

Print or e-Book? e-book only




Google Books

Google Books (previously known as Google Book Search and Google Print and by its codename Project Ocean) is a service from Google Inc. that searches the full text of books and magazines that Google has scanned. It also includes current e-books that are submitted through the Partner Program.

 Google does not ask for exclusive rights to sell digital editions of your books: you can sell your book through Google Play and other retailers at the same time.

Online Help: https://support.google.com/books/partner/?hl=en#topic=3424344

Pricing:  Free Upload

Royalties:  70%

Print or e-Book?  e-book


I think we’ve covered enough for today; my brain is spinning.

Yes, self-publishing isn’t easy. If you do it once, it’s overwhelming. After you’ve done it for a while like we have, you figure out the tricks, shortcuts, and pitfalls of publishing and are able to create an attractive book that will hold its own against any large publishing house.


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