how to start an online shop for your books

Why Sell Your Books From Your Own Website?




In a former blog post: Successful Book Selling – the Non-Traditional Way  we mentioned that authors could sell books from their own website – which resulted in lots of questions how this could be installed and successful managed.

Great Benefits for Authors
Take advantage of these three fantastic benefits of selling your books from your own webpage:

  1. You will have higher Revenues
  2. You get paid faster
  3. You will know your readers

Higher Revenues
Directly selling means you earn around 85% from your retail price, way more than the maximum 70% you receive from Amazon, and on a 99 cent book or one above 9.99 you get nearly double the amount you would receive from Amazon.  It also helps your readers who live in areas where Amazon requests a surcharge, e.g. in parts of Asia, Africa and Middle East – and sometimes even when customers want to order books from countries.  A while ago I ordered a 99-cent book from Germany that was not available on, only through and at the end I paid almost $4.00. I certainly was not happy about this surcharge.
Faster Payments
You get paid before your customers downloads your books. Unlike with online book retailers, you don’t have to wait until you receive a statement months after your book was sold. The money for your books is right away in your account.
Who are Your Readers?
Having your book solely on Amazon, Barns & Noble, Apple etc., you will never know who orders and reads your book,s no matter how many are sold. These are not your customers anymore, but the retailers’ and they won’t let you know any details about your customers.
A very important tip:  ALWAYS include your website, blog and social media information in your book, no matter if e-book (where readers can have a direct link to your sites) or print book.

How to Set up an Online Bookstore
There are dozens of ready-to-go online stores available, called “e-commerce” which can be installed in your existing website or blog – relatively easy and quick. You have to have your own (hosted) website or blog, the paid versions – not a free website.
The e-commerce shops take a small fee every month. Some like Ecwid for example are free if you have less than 10 books to offer. E-Junkie provides shopping cart and buy now buttons to let you sell book downloads. They offer one week trials and their fees start with $5/month for less than 10 downloads. They also offer lots of features, such as tax and shipping calculators, discount management, affiliate management etc.  Almost all e-commerce shops work with PayPal systems for secure and easy payments.

Another option, if you are an IT / software professional or have one (can be virtual) on hand, to help with the technical aspect, is to install your own custom-made online store. However, it has to be monitored and you have to choose a very reliable hosting company, as every down-time on their servers means lost sales for you.

You can even sell “by hand” over your computer: Customers pay with PayPal and you deliver your files for your e-book via email, or shop your print book via regular mail. This is the most labor-intensive and you are required to deliver almost around the clock, as customers expect to receive your book immediately after their payment goes through.

The very best option however, is Gumroad, a company who charges just 5% + 25¢ per transaction. Working with them means: there are no hosting fees, no monthly fees, no bandwidth fees, no refund fee. You just give a link on your website to potential customers and all the transaction go through their website – but you will get and keep all your customers data.

So, with all these options, you have plenty of reasons to sell your book directly from your website – additionally to your sales via online retailers. Put your eggs in several baskets! You never know! And it is good to know who is buying and reading your books, in order to notify them for your next works.





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Tagged: direct sales of e-books, e-book download from your website, e-commerce for authors, how to start an online shop for your books, Sell from your website

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