Self-publishing gives authors unlimited control over the writing, production, and marketing of their books. But being the CEO of your own publishing venture means you have to make a lot of tough decisions. At Self-Publishing Relief, we know one of the most fundamental choices is determining whether to publish exclusively on Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited platform, or to “go wide” across multiple book vendors. For many self-published authors, wide distribution makes a lot more sense. Here’s why wide distribution is a smart choice for self-published authors.
Here’s Why Wide Distribution Is Right For Your Self-Published Book
Protection From Sudden Business Changes
Your grandmother warned you about putting all your eggs in one basket. That wise adage applies to self-publishing as well. Publishing exclusively through Kindle Unlimited (KU) does have perks—including enrollment in their popular e-book subscription service—but there are drawbacks as well. KU has been known to change its page count and payment policies with little warning, and Amazon is constantly modifying its book-discovery algorithms. Some of those changes, such as removing the “also bought” carousel from book pages, can have a negative effect on your sales. If you go with wide distribution using several platforms, seismic changes in just one of those vendors won’t cut your profits nearly as deeply.
A Broader Audience
Amazon sells about 50% of the e-books in the United States. The other half of the e-book audience is buying its books elsewhere. Readers on iPads or iPhones may buy e-books through Apple Books. Android phone users might get their reading fix on Google Play. The Canadian e-book market is dominated by Kobo. Other readers remain faithful to Barnes & Noble and their NOOK Books. All these vendors welcome self-published authors, so an author who “goes wide” doubles their potential audience. Furthermore, using a vendor aggregator like Draft2Digital or PublishDrive can simplify the process by giving you a “one-stop shop” way to utilize wide distribution.
Access To Library And Subscription Sales
U.S. libraries spend over a billion dollars every year acquiring new books and e-books. Through distribution platforms like OverDrive, Hoopla, and Bibliotheca (and with the help of e-book aggregators like Draft2Digital), authors can now offer their self-published books for library acquisition. “Going wide” through an e-book aggregator also opens up other e-book subscription services such as Scribd and 24Symbols. Neither of these options are available to self-published authors who choose the KU exclusivity option.
More International Markets Available
Amazon e-books are available in only twelve international marketplaces. Meanwhile, Apple e-books are available in over fifty territories, and Google Play e-books are available in about eighty countries. Not all countries have adopted e-books as enthusiastically as the United States, but those countries will likely experience exponential growth as more readers jump on the e-book bandwagon. Smart self-published authors will make sure they’re positioned to take advantage of this possibility.
Finally, when it comes to this important self-publishing choice, it’s smart to step back and consider the Amazonian elephant in the room: Any industry ultimately benefits when there are many competing players, rather than just one. By “going wide,” self-published authors have an opportunity to support multiple platforms while encouraging industry efficiencies through healthy competition.
Question: Did you self-publish exclusively on Amazon or did you “go wide”? Which platforms did you use?