Should You Sell Your Book on Amazon? Pros and Cons for 2024

If you are a self-published author or looking to enter the publishing game for the first time, you may be wondering whether or not to sell your book on Amazon. As a retail giant, Amazon has undoubtedly revolutionized the publishing industry, creating opportunities for aspiring writers to reach a wider readership than ever before. However, with the opportunity to sell your book on Amazon comes a range of pros and cons you’ll want to consider before making the leap.

Continue reading to find out whether Amazon is the way forward or if you should pursue another route, such as self-publishing a book on your own platform. In the meantime, let’s dive into the pros and cons of using Amazon as your chosen publishing platform.

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4 Pros of Selling Books on Amazon

Amazon has become the largest online retailer in the world, and it’s a great platform for independent authors to publish and sell their books. Look at some benefits of opening a seller account for books on Amazon.

1. Access a Wide Audience

One of the primary benefits of selling your book on Amazon is the vast audience. With millions of customers actively browsing Amazon daily, there’s a higher probability that potential readers will stumble upon your book. Amazon has an infrastructure in place for shipping and payments, making it a convenient and professional option for independent authors to sell their work.

2. Earn Royalties

Authors with a seller account on Amazon may be able to earn royalties on book sales. Amazon offers competitive royalty rates, with authors earning between 35% to 70% on every sale. The exact percentage you earn depends on your book’s list price, the location of the buyer, and whether the book is published exclusively on Amazon.

3. Tracking and Development Tools

Along with this, Amazon provides easy-to-use tools for tracking book sales and audience engagement, allowing authors to make informed decisions about promotions and pricing. Amazon allows booksellers to take advantage of its advanced marketing tools, such as targeted advertising and email campaigns, to promote and sell their books.

4. Distribution Resources

Another benefit of Amazon publishing is its efficient distribution system. Once your book is uploaded to Amazon’s publishing platform, it becomes available to customers worldwide in electronic and paperback formats. Fulfillment by Amazon, or Amazon FBA, means that you don’t have to worry about the logistics of printing and shipping your book, as Amazon takes care of all this for you. Instead, you can focus on your book marketing strategy.

Keep in mind that Amazon is not the only fulfillment center of its kind to sell and ship books. Other partners, such as Print Bind Ship, also offer e-commerce fulfillment, along with book printing and fulfillment options.

Cons to Selling Books on Amazon

Publishing on Amazon is not without drawbacks. Take a look at some of the disadvantages you might experience with Amazon book selling.

1. Expensive Fees

Amazon takes a commission on each sale and charges additional fees such as referral fees for services like Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) and advertising. You may also need to pay Amazon FBA fulfillment fees or even storage fees in some cases. In other cases, selling fees can be offset by the increased exposure and potential sales that come with selling on Amazon.

However, it’s essential to consider them carefully as they can eat into your profit margins. In some cases, you may be better off with another bookseller or by self-publishing.

2. You Won’t Own Your ISBN

One of the downsides to selling your book on Amazon is that once you have listed it, you cannot entirely remove it from the platform. This is because, once you publish your book on Amazon, they own the ISBN (International Standard Book Number) for your book.

The ISBN is a unique identifier for books, and it is used by retailers and libraries worldwide to track and sell publications. Amazon assigns an exclusive ISBN to each book published on its platform, which in turn makes it impossible for authors to completely delete their book from Amazon’s database.

It’s important to carefully consider the implications of publishing on Amazon and understand that relinquishing control over your book’s ISBN means you won’t be able to remove your book entirely from the platform. You may want to explore alternative strategies such as publishing your book through other platforms or self-publishing options to maintain more control over the distribution and availability of your work

3. Less Control Over Pricing

Another disadvantage of selling your book on Amazon is the potential for price undercutting. Amazon’s platform is highly competitive, and many authors and publishers are vying for the attention of consumers.

As a result, some Amazon sellers may choose to undercut their prices to attract buyers, leading to price wars and a decrease in your book’s perceived value. This factor can be particularly frustrating if you’ve invested significant time and resources into writing and publishing your book only to have its value diminished by others’ actions.

Likewise, Amazon booksellers also have less control over their author brand. They’re subject to author bans and Amazon’s content guidelines for books. In fact, it’s quite common for authors to have their books removed from Amazon for a variety of different reasons.

4. Your Book May Get Lost in the Crowd

As the largest online marketplace in the world, Amazon has become a crucial platform for authors looking to publish and sell their books. However, it can be challenging for new or lesser-known authors to get noticed and attract readers.

The sheer size of the platform means that smaller authors may struggle to compete against established bestsellers or other titles competing for attention. At the very least, you’ll need to have a strong book description, author page, and book title as well as an Amazon SEO strategy.

Is Selling Books on Amazon Worth it?

It can still be profitable to self-publish and sell books on Amazon, even with the platform’s high commission rates eating into 30% to 65% of your profits. If you’re a top-selling author, you can profit from volume, even with a smaller profit margin.

Most writers publishing on Amazon won’t see huge money. They would be lucky to get a few thousand dollars in the first couple of months their book goes on sale, even with a substantial marketing campaign that could eat into the book’s profits.

How to Sell Books on Your Own Platform: 3 Alternatives to Selling on Amazon

Amazon book selling isn’t the only option for getting your work into the hands of readers. You can find other avenues that can be just as effective — if not more so — for reaching your target audience and keeping more of your profits.

1. Local Bookstores

One option is to partner with local bookstores. Many independent bookstores have a loyal customer base and are happy to support local authors and publishers. By establishing a relationship with these stores, you can offer signed copies of your book or hold book signings and author events. This can be a great way to build a following and generate interest in your work among a dedicated group of readers.

2. Your Website

Designing your own website provides you with the opportunity to build a strong online presence, showcase your book, and expand your reach beyond traditional channels. It’s not as complicated as you might think as you can use website builders such as WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace. 

One thing about advertising your book through your own website is that you can opt to sell an ebook, a printed book, or both. By partnering with a 3PL, you can easily sell and distribute print books. You can also choose from different fulfillment options to cater to your customer’s preferences.

3. Social Media

Selling your book on social media can help you reach a wide audience. One of the key benefits of using social media is the ability to target specific audiences. Social media platforms offer advanced targeting tools that let you narrow down your ideal readers based on demographics, interests, and location. This method helps to ensure that your book is seen by those who are likely to have an interest in it. 

Customers can use social media to leave reviews and comments on your book. That kind of interaction positions your brand as a trusted and reputable one, which makes it easier to convert readers to customers in the future.

3 Pros of Selling Books on Your Own Platform

Many writers decide to create a website as a way to gain control over their brand and book distribution. The upsides of this are many, and a few of them are listed below:

1. Potentially Increased Earnings

Selling books on your own platform can be an effective way of increasing the author’s profits. By operating independently, you can eliminate the need for middlemen, thus maximizing your earnings. Selling books through your website or another e-commerce marketplace creates a direct connection with readers, providing them with access to exclusive content, offers, and discounts. This approach can incentivize a wider range of people to purchase your work and foster customer loyalty.

2. Greater Control Over Your Brand Image

Another important benefit of selling books on your own platform is that it allows you to manage your brand image and reputation. In traditional publishing, writers often have minimal control over the visual appearance and marketing of their books, which can undermine the effectiveness of personal branding. 

Self-publishing allows you to oversee the entire creative process, from designing the cover of the book to creating an engaging website or social media presence. By establishing your unique voice and style, you can attract a wider audience and create a strong identity around your work.

3. Build a Connection With Your Audience

Selling your books on your own can incentivize a wider range of people to purchase your work and foster customer loyalty. Creating a connection with your customers can also help you become a more successful author by providing you with valuable feedback about your work. By reaching your audience via your own website or social media, you’ll have the opportunity to create an email list to use for your marketing strategy.

Cons of Selling Books on Your Own Platform

Some sellers find that it works best to stick with digital storefronts like Amazon to host their books.

For starters, building your platform will take more work. You’ll have to deal with the upkeep of your site, security and cyberattacks, hosting issues, and other technical problems you won’t be as likely to face with Amazon.

You’ll have to start from scratch. No one is going to just “find” your website — so you’ll have to put in the effort to market it. This can take time, effort, and funds to promote your book.

How Print Bind Ship Can Help

Maybe you decided that selling on Amazon is so easy that it’s worth having 30% to 65% of your book profits go to Amazon. The interface, the uploading, the hosting — it’s all so simple. But perhaps you think that the profit potential and control of self-publishing are more for you. If you decide to take the self-publishing route, you’ll need an awesome third-party logistics (3PL) partner like Print Bind Ship for fulfillment services. 

We specialize in getting books printed, stored, and shipped all around the world. Think of us as your partner in not only printing and creating your book but also overseeing all aspects of the fulfillment process. Whether you’re looking to sell a children’s book, textbook, comic book, novel, or self-help guide – we do it all. Get in touch with Print Bind Ship for a free quote and estimate for your project!

FAQ

What are the benefits of selling my book on Amazon?

Some benefits of selling your book on Amazon include a wide reach, easy access to customer reviews and the ability to control your book’s pricing and availability. Amazon can handle the shipping and distribution of your book, potentially saving you time and effort.

Are there any downsides to selling my book on Amazon?

The main downside to selling your book on Amazon is that it can be a very competitive marketplace, which means it may be difficult to stand out among other authors and books. Additionally, Amazon takes a percentage of each sale, so you will need to factor this into your pricing strategy.

How can I optimize my book listing on Amazon?

To optimize your book listing on Amazon, you should focus on creating a clear and engaging book description, product page, choosing relevant and effective keywords and using high-quality book cover art. You should also consider using Amazon’s promotional tools, such as sponsored ads, to boost your book’s visibility.

Do I need to handle shipping and delivery when selling my book on Amazon?

Amazon provides sellers with two main options for shipping: Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) or Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM). With FBA, Amazon takes care of storage, packing, shipping, and customer service. However, if you prefer to handle all aspects of shipping yourself, you can choose FBM. Another option is to work with a leading book fulfillment partner – Print Bind Ship.

What are some pros and cons of self-publishing on Amazon?

Self-publishing on Amazon offers authors faster publishing times, higher royalty rates, and access to Amazon’s large customer base. However, Amazon’s self-publishing platforms also come with exclusivity requirements in some cases, an inability to distribute print books through Amazon unless using their printing services, and minimal marketing support which leaves promotion largely up to the author.