So you’re ready to get your book self published. Now what? With so many options out there, you’re probably wondering what the best self publishing companies are. The answer to that question is going to depend on what you’re looking for in terms of investment and commission, where you live, and the formats you want to publish in.
The best self publishing companies
It seems like there are so many options for self publishing out there. For eBooks, Kindle is the most popular and well-known, but there are other great contenders, too. If you want to sell printed books, those can be handled through print on demand services. Or you can even order a small run of your book to try and sell on your own.
Can you publish your eBook on multiple sites?
You can, just as long as you don’t select KDP Select when publishing on Amazon. With KDP select, your book can appear on Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited service and you’ll earn a higher royalty rate, but your eBook has to stay exclusive to Amazon.
If you want to publish your book on multiple sites choose Amazon’s regular publishing option (not Select). You can remove your book from the service, but unenrollment isn’t immediate.
The best self publishing companies for your book
eBooks are the largest part of the self publishing market share, and they have the best (and easiest!) options when it comes to self publishing. Most of them don’t charge anything upfront, instead opting to take a cut of your profit instead.
Printed books are more complicated. Even still, with the advent of print on demand technology, you can order single copies of a book.
Things to consider when choosing a self publishing company:
- Upfront costs
- Market share and reach
- Advertising options
- Print on demand options
Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)
This is the first stop in self publishing for most people. You’ll get global reach unlike any other self publishing company. Since the Amazon Kindle devices are the most popular, you’ll be publishing on a platform with a larger market share. It’s estimated that Amazon controls 70% of the eBook market.
The downside to Amazon is they aren’t always generous to their authors. If you participate in Kindle Unlimited, for example, you’ll earn (much) less than one cent per page read, on average, which doesn’t amount to much profit.
Royalty rates vary depending on pricing and what services you sign up for. Even with the drawbacks, Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing is one of the best self publishing companies, if not the best.
Amazon also offers print on demand services with their Kindle store. That means you can get your book printed for yourself, and sell printed copies to customers without any additional fees.
Barnes & Noble
This bookstore giant sells eBooks on their Pubit store directly to Nook owners. It works similar to the Kindle Publishing in terms of royalty, but you have the advantage of being in a market that’s not quite as saturated. Barnes & Noble does promote new and established authors, too.
Since it’s a US company you’ll definitely have a smaller market share than if you choose a self publishing company with a larger worldwide reach. You’ll also need a US bank account and tax ID for this one.
Barnes & Noble also has print on demand options.
Kobo started off as a Canadian company but is now owned by the Japanese company Rakuten. Kobos were sold and books were distributed through the Canadian bookstore chain Indigo originally, but now they have international reach.
In fact, Kobo accounts for over 13% of the world’s market share for eReaders. They’re the second biggest market for eBooks next to Amazon’s Kindle, so even if you’re not familiar with Kobo it’s definitely something to look into when self publishing.
Kobo is strictly eBooks and doesn’t have any physical book printing options.
The amount of people who read books on their smartphones and tablets can’t be ignored, and Apple is definitely a huge player in that market. Making your eBook available on Apple’s Bookshelf is a great idea for self published authors.
What’s nice is unlike the Kindle, you know people will be reading your book on a colour screen. That means it’s a great place for books with lots of photos like cookbooks, children’s stories, etc.
You’ll keep 70% of your profits, too, which is a great royalty rate. These are eBooks only; Apple doesn’t have any printed books.
Scribd is basically described as the Netflix for books. For a monthly fee, readers can borrow anything on their service. Authors are paid when someone downloads their book as a premium title, and the royalty varies based on the agreements they make with authors.
Some authors have earned revenue from Scribd, but most people find that it’s not a large money maker at this point. Scribd offers eBooks and also lets people upload documents that they can share for free, but they don’t have any printing services.
Smashwords is a bit different from other publishers. They actually publish your eBook on multiple platforms at once in exchange for a small commission on your royalties from those publishers. With their service you can publish to Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, OverDrive (public libraries), Scribd, and more.
They also get you set up with an ISBN, convert your eBook to different formats, and centralize all your sales information into one location. If you’re looking for something that’s kind of a one stop shop, and don’t mind earning a smaller royalty on sales, then Smashwords or similar services are a great option.
Blurb is unique in the way they do things. They’re more of a book printing company, but they also offer eBook publishing options. Unlike other companies, they partner with Kickstarter to give you more launching (and funding) options.
With them you can sell right through their bookstore, on Amazon, and even in select bookstores. They have print on demand options to lower your risk, or you can bulk buy copies.
What’s also great about Blurb is they have amazing design tools and you can use it to print personal items like photo books.
Choosing best self publishing companies
There’s a lot more self publishing companies than these ones out there. Depending on your region, there might be better local options. Most people will find Amazon to be a safe bet, since they have the biggest market share and largest reach. Then again, choosing a smaller company might me you don’t get lost in the fray.
A final option, instead of choosing one of the best self publishing companies, is to simply sell on your own. That can be done through your own website or by purchasing print copies and selling them on your own.