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Old 09-17-2012, 09:32 AM   #1
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Selling from your own website

This may have been covered before - I know the topic has been mentioned under other threads - but couldn't find a detailed thread on the subject. (Hopefully someone will point me in the right direction if I missed it.) Anyway...

I was wondering what people thought about trying to sell their books off their own website: Have you tried it? What are the downsides? What are the upsides? What sorts of services work best for selling ebooks?
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Old 09-17-2012, 12:59 PM   #2
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This may have been covered before - I know the topic has been mentioned under other threads - but couldn't find a detailed thread on the subject. (Hopefully someone will point me in the right direction if I missed it.) Anyway...

I was wondering what people thought about trying to sell their books off their own website: Have you tried it? What are the downsides? What are the upsides? What sorts of services work best for selling ebooks?
Frankly, IMO, it is not worth it. I link to Amazon, B&N and so on from my site. I have sold via my site in the past, but the general public trusts Amazon more then they trust you. For very good reasons. Heck Amazon even lets you build a customized store front with your logo/etc and their products/payment gateway.

There is liabilities and etc that you face if you accept payments, security and the like you need to bake in... all of which goes away if you pass the buck on that. No to mention, inventory and shipping if you want to deal with print books. Then you have more detailed reporting, pending your locality, for sales taxes, businesses licenses and so on.

I know there are a couple-few people here that insist selling from their own site was best idea for them, but I still hold that in the general case, let the stores be the stores and you direct your energies else where.
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:49 PM   #3
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Unless you have traffic that is likely to want to buy a book in your genre, it will not work. How often have you ended up on a personal website when looking for a book? If you do get any sales you are then responsible for shipping and for all the mysterious "lost in the mail" "I want a refund" issues.
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Old 09-17-2012, 09:27 PM   #4
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I guess that one of the reasons I thought to possibly sell off the website was to offer the book in formats that a store like Amazon (for example) do not provide. I can certainly see that there could be problems, I was curious to know if anyone had experience on just how significant those problems really were.
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Old 09-17-2012, 10:51 PM   #5
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I guess that one of the reasons I thought to possibly sell off the website was to offer the book in formats that a store like Amazon (for example) do not provide. I can certainly see that there could be problems, I was curious to know if anyone had experience on just how significant those problems really were.
That is what Smashwords is for


The problems are trivial if your sales are trivial... the problems tend to become bigger as you sell more.
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Old 09-17-2012, 11:44 PM   #6
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That is what Smashwords is for
Touché.

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The problems are trivial if your sales are trivial... the problems tend to become bigger as you sell more.
Yes, that seems likely. But, then again, if I was selling enough I might be able to afford a better solution.
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Old 09-18-2012, 02:14 PM   #7
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I considered it, but it's probably best left to Smashwords and Amazon and the like. Higher traffic and those sites are already trusted by consumers. You could spend time making your site pass all the certifications and build customer trust but you'd probably rather be writing instead
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Old 09-18-2012, 02:28 PM   #8
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Since We put our books up on Amazon we have sold far more than what we have sold through our site. Its also a lot easier to do .
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Old 09-20-2012, 10:49 PM   #9
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1) I'd use Smashwords for the widest variety of formats, DRM-free and able to sell around the world. Plus great royalties. About as painless as it gets.

2) If you want to sell direct to readers, creat your "store page" on your site and use Gumroad.com for the hosting and transactions.

Format and upload your files (make it one big zip with all formats inside), you will get a custom Gum.to/ url (shortened, like Bit.ly). Post the url as your "Buy" link and promote the custom url as you would any other. (You can set up your own storepage and mask the gumroad links, too...it's on their blog).

You can have prices from $0+ (give what you want) on up to any set price you choose. Gumroad takes 25 cents + 5% per transaction, so the royalties work out at least as good as Smashwords.

The advantage for you is they handle hosting, commerce, fulfillment...all the challenging stuff. All you have to do is write a great book, format and upload it and let the world know it exists.

The big advantage of Gumroad is for the customer: All they have to do is enter their email address and credit card #, so buying is a piece of cake, making for a very streamlined and easy buying experience.

With both options, you have to promote to make it work...but both Smashwords and Gumroad are open to worldwide customers, great royalties, a variety of formats...all very good things.

Last edited by BillSmithBooks; 09-20-2012 at 10:53 PM.
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Old 09-21-2012, 05:41 AM   #10
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[...]2) If you want to sell direct to readers, creat your "store page" on your site and use Gumroad.com for the hosting and transactions. [...]
Thanks in particular for the Gumroad link, I was not aware of them, it's very good to know. Their pricing would come out at around 15% (close enough) of a $2.99 book; around 30% of a $0.99 book; and around 10% of a $5 book.
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Old 09-21-2012, 09:03 PM   #11
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Thanks in particular for the Gumroad link, I was not aware of them, it's very good to know. Their pricing would come out at around 15% (close enough) of a $2.99 book; around 30% of a $0.99 book; and around 10% of a $5 book.
I get very leery of the "Internet startup of the week" syndrome, but Gumroad seems to be the real deal, with solid people behind it. It's catching on because it is so simple and easy. They have great support on Twitter, too...they are doing all the right things IMHO. I haven't heard any horror stories, unlike a lot of other payment services (not mentioning names).

David Gaughran's blog post back in March turned me on to Gumroad.

Like PayPal's special merchant rates or Amazon's send money program, the % you get depends on your retail pricing because of the flat 25 cent fee (but they have to cover their credit card processing fees somewhere).

Worst case scenario (99 cents) is a very-Smashwords like 70% cut and that's at 99 cents...as you go higher in price, you keep a higher and higher percentage...again with no work besides uploading your source files and posting the links...not a bad deal at all.
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Old 09-30-2012, 05:21 PM   #12
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I and others have posted about Web Sites. I have started at least one thread, if not 2, and contributed to others. I strongly believe in Web Sites and I think they will only grow more important in the future.
Actually, I have several sites (his voice dropped and he glanced around) because I write under several names in different genre.
I don't sell from the sites because my plate is full and I don't have the time to keep up with it and do a good job.

I don't think it hurts but I would advise doing it only if you need a break from your writing or your job and you are taking proper care of family matters.

1and1 (host) will set you up if you want to try it.
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Old 10-01-2012, 01:39 AM   #13
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I and others have posted about Web Sites.[...]
I knew I had seen other posts on the subject, but when I went searching I couldn't find them (or not quickly) ... and new stuff does turn up, like that Gumroad option that looks particularly promising for the sort of think I was thinking about.
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Old 10-01-2012, 10:15 PM   #14
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I and others have posted about Web Sites. I have started at least one thread, if not 2, and contributed to others. I strongly believe in Web Sites and I think they will only grow more important in the future.
Actually, I have several sites (his voice dropped and he glanced around) because I write under several names in different genre.
I don't sell from the sites because my plate is full and I don't have the time to keep up with it and do a good job.

I don't think it hurts but I would advise doing it only if you need a break from your writing or your job and you are taking proper care of family matters.

1and1 (host) will set you up if you want to try it.
I was in a hurry, and made several mistakes.

That line above the last line should be:
I would advise doing "some" of your selling only if you need a break from your writing or your job and you are taking proper care of family matters.

Also, I looked and I never started a thread on websites.
What I was thinking primarily about was the thread by:

morantis
Title: "Author Website"
05-31-2012

I contributed there. As did others.
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:21 AM   #15
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Well unless I misunderstood.. this thread was not about whether or no you should have a web site, but whether or not it made sense to sell your own stuff instead of using Amazon, B&N, etc. I think most would agree having a web presence is required anymore, but I personally think handing the selling yourself instead of linking/imbedding places like Amazon is not the best use of time and resources. It is doable, but that does not make it wise.
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