With an aggregator, or third party distributor, you set up a set up a single account, enter your ebook. And the aggregator sends your ebook to many stores at one time. Contrast this with the direct to retailer distribution, where you have to set up an account with each individual store. This can be a real time saver, but it's important to understand all the pros and cons before you make a decision. Here's five key questions you wanna have answers to before you begin. How much am I willing to pay? Because there is a cost. There is no cost to distribute directly to Amazon, Kobo/g, Apple, or Barnes and Noble.
But you will have to pay one way or the other. You might pay a commission, or you might play a flat rate or for a service package. You also give up some control. You're dealing with a single point of contact, who has contact with many different stores. Some of those stores you can't get into directly, like you can with Amazon. So, it might be an attractive opportunity for you. Another question is how active do you wanna manage all these stores? If you have lots and lots of books, it may be easier to use an aggregator to distribute those books to all the stores. At the same time, keep in mind that the aggregator is collecting information that's going to work with most of the book's specifications in other words. As we've seen with the direct relationships, taking categories as an example.
Amazon will allow you to enter in two categories, Kobo three, Barnes and Noble five and Apple five. So, if you use an aggregator, they're going to limit the amount of information that goes to each one of these stores. For kind of the least common denominator if you will. As I mentioned, the aggregators operate with different business models. Some you'll pay a flat fee and keep any of the royalties to yourself. Others will charge a sales commission. And you might wanna model these.
Because if you sell lots and lots of books, that sales commission can add up. On the other hand, if you don't sell any books, then the fee based business model is quite expensive. If they have a store, and some of them do, for example, Smash Words has a very popular store, you want to learn about its sales effectiveness. A number of aggregators are implementing stores because it makes you, as the publisher or author, feel like you have your book in another store. That may or may not be popular and so you have to decide whether or not it makes sense to go with that aggregator just to be able to get into their store. Some require additional service, for example, you might be charge a package price to do a print book along with an e-book.
So, it may seem like it's free but you have to buy a very expensive package in order to take advantage of it and to get into all of these extra stores. Another thing is that reporting and payments will take longer than direct store relationships. So when you're distributing through that aggregator, they send it to, for example, Amazon. So, Amazon has to pay the aggregator, and then the aggregator has to do the accounting and pay you. And that can take several weeks. This is one time where it really pays to read the fine print.
Make sure you understand what control you have over your book, how to make changes. Are they going to charge you to make changes? And how long does it take to receive payment and make those changes.
- Understanding ebook trends and how to make them work for you
- Using measurement, tracking, and analysis tools just for authors
- Working with Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, NOOK Press from Barnes & Noble, and Kobo Writing Life
- Becoming an approved publisher to the iBookstore
- Writing and distributing press releases
- Networking with authors and publishers
- Acquiring an ISBN number and copyright
- Pricing ebooks
- Selecting an aggregator
- Using Amazon services
- Selling ebooks directly