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Amazon vs B&N vs Kobo, etc.


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#1 Andrew Nelson

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 03:27 PM

Just curious about the success that other self pub'd authors have had using the different distribution channels. When I first published Perfect Pawn, I put it in the KDP program.  I had several people lament that they had Nooks, so, thinking I would see new sales on that platform, I removed it from the program after 90 days and listed it on B&N and Kobo...... the results, 1 Nook e-book sold in 3 months. Obviously some people just like to have something to complain about.

 

Now I am getting ready to release my 2nd book and I am wondering whether I should just put both into the KDP.

 

Curious as to what has worked for others here and your advice.


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#2 KC Rivers

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 04:07 PM

I haven't had a ton of sales in general, but I didn't get hardly any bites from B&N. I ended up taking my book down from there so that I could do the Kindle Daily Countdown on Amazon, which did garner a few sales. My biggest thing has been getting book two ready for publication so that I can offer book one for free for a short time through KDP Select. My gut feeling is that once I have more than just one book to offer, sales will be better. Plus I'll have a whole different means of marketing at that point.

 

Eventually I plan to go back to having it available for Nook and Kobo, but I still want to participate in KDP Select for now. I'm interested to see if others had better luck with Select or with B&N.



#3 Darke

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 05:27 PM

I do well on BN and my sales are split even over Sony, iTunes and Kobo. Outside of the States and the U.K, Amazon isn't the big seller. Especially overseas. I think the biggest drawback to sites other than Amazon, is that many review places are Kindle only. I think if there were more places that review for the other sites, there would be more sales.

 

BTW..if you know of any, let me know. :)   


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#4 Andrew Nelson

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 09:18 PM

KC, I think that is the way I am going to go. The majority of reviews for my debut have been really good and I am hoping that with two books available things will increase. I like the options that are available with the KDP program, especially in doing the promotions so I think I will just enroll them there until I have a larger following.

 

Darke, I'm glad you are having better luck with the other outlets.  I was really hoping that I would see more sales on Nook, based on what people were telling me, but it just never materialized. Maybe after I have more to offer it will be a better fit. Then again, maybe I should start offering cookies with each book  :tongue:


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#5 Darke

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 06:18 AM

I think some of the reasons I do well is 1) I'm writing a series and 2) my first book is free. I'm looking at putting four more books out this year (hopefully, but three for sure), and one isn't part of my series, but I'm hoping the traffic will carry over to the 'loner'.


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#6 Darke

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 06:19 AM

I have more reviews on BN than for my other non-free books than I do on Amazon, too. So strange. 


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#7 AQCrew

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Posted 21 March 2014 - 06:19 AM

Andrew,

 

We assume you mean the KDP "Select" program, which is Amazon's 90-day exclusivity program that allows you to promote the book for 5 free days over the course of your 90 days "Select" enrollment, so long as you only distribute your book through Amazon during those 90 days.

 

The time to do this is definitely when you first launch your book.  

 

If you try to do it later, after uploading your book to multiple distribution channels like Smashwords and Kobo, it because extremely difficult to then delist your book in order to place it into Amazon's Select program, which requires 100% exclusivity.  

 

There have been discussions on other message forums about writers attempting to remove their book from Smashwords, and then enrolling in Amazon's Select program, and then receiving a nastygram from Amazon--threatening to close their KDP account for violation of terms of service--because their book still lingered within Sony or Diesel's catalog.  Same with Kobo, which has a number of international distribution partners like BookWorld.

 

Also note: you can do EITHER the free promotion or the Countdown deals within your 90-day Select run, but you can't do both.  Once you pick the free days promotion, you are ineligible for the Countdown promotions.



#8 Andrew Nelson

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Posted 21 March 2014 - 03:25 PM

Darke - I think you have a good point. I think your customer potential increases with several books available. This will be my second in the series, so I hope it will increase reader interest.

 

Crew - I hadn't thought about that before. I have it listed on B&N and Kobo and was just going to delist them, but I can see the issue if they drag their feet. I might just leave the 1st one up as is and just go the KDP route with the 2nd. 


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#9 Darke

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Posted 21 March 2014 - 03:37 PM

Darke - I think you have a good point. I think your customer potential increases with several books available. This will be my second in the series, so I hope it will increase reader interest.

 

Crew - I hadn't thought about that before. I have it listed on B&N and Kobo and was just going to delist them, but I can see the issue if they drag their feet. I might just leave the 1st one up as is and just go the KDP route with the 2nd. 

Might I suggest you leave those books where they are? The internet has a long reach, and so do the distribution channels of Smashwords. I found my books in sites overseas ebook sites via Kobo and you never know how long it'll take to remove them. Leave your first book alone, but for your second, put it up on Amazon first, then when the 90 days are over, put them on other sites.  


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#10 Andrew Nelson

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Posted 21 March 2014 - 05:47 PM

Darke - That's probably what I am going to do. I'm hoping that after the 2nd one is out it will generate more interest. If you don't mind my asking, whats your experience been with Smashwords ? 


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#11 Darke

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Posted 21 March 2014 - 08:40 PM

Fine, I guess. I use it mostly for distribution channels and coupons. Their sales reports aren't as detailed as Amazon ( I LOVE Amazon's reports), and they pay four times a year. I just uploaded to Google books too. Now there was an interesting experiecne. I'm trying to get my books in as many overseas markets as possible, and between the three, I think I've got about 60% of the market.


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#12 Andrew Nelson

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Posted 22 March 2014 - 09:44 AM

Darke - Thanks, I'll add to SW just to increase the exposure as much as I can. Overall I think my sales are good, but I'm hoping that with each new book more folks will be interested. 


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Perfect Pawn and Queen's Gambit are now available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and KOBO.

 

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#13 Darke

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Posted 22 March 2014 - 11:58 AM

Darke - Thanks, I'll add to SW just to increase the exposure as much as I can. Overall I think my sales are good, but I'm hoping that with each new book more folks will be interested. 

 

It takes time. I liken it to blog followers or twitter followers; these things take time. Digital books don't have a shelf life, you can keep them there as long as you want. I think some people forget this in their bid to be 'successful'. It isn't the short stint you need to focus on, it's the log run. It's not a race either. Pace yourself and make sure you put out the best product you can, because in the end THAT'S what counts. Not quantity, but quality.


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#14 Robin Breyer

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 12:47 AM

I've done the full distribution through Smashwords and with Amazon for two years. My perma free title does better on Amazon, but I get more sales with Smashwords distribution.

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#15 Andrew Nelson

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 10:55 AM

Darke - I agree, this is all about the long haul and finding the right readership. I've always thought it just takes that one reader recommendation to get the ball rolling. Keeping it open to the widest market makes the best sense. I've decided to keep Perfect Pawn available through all the channels. It's currently up on Amazon, Kobo, B&N, Smashwords, and it doesn't make sense to try and remove it. Queen's Gambit will go live this week, and I will just keep that in the KDP select program and see how that does. I have a 3rd book that should come out around summer and I hope, that with more titles available, there will be increased reader interest. 

 

Robin - Newbie mistake, but I forgot to put it up on SW. Must be my old senile mind *L* I corrected that yesterday. Will be interesting to see how it does now on that outlet.


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#16 Darke

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 11:54 AM

Darke - I agree, this is all about the long haul and finding the right readership. I've always thought it just takes that one reader recommendation to get the ball rolling. Keeping it open to the widest market makes the best sense. I've decided to keep Perfect Pawn available through all the channels. It's currently up on Amazon, Kobo, B&N, Smashwords, and it doesn't make sense to try and remove it. Queen's Gambit will go live this week, and I will just keep that in the KDP select program and see how that does. I have a 3rd book that should come out around summer and I hope, that with more titles available, there will be increased reader interest. 

 

Robin - Newbie mistake, but I forgot to put it up on SW. Must be my old senile mind *L* I corrected that yesterday. Will be interesting to see how it does now on that outlet.

Even before I put my first book on perma-free, I didn't see any sales unlit the third book was out. How odd is that? I've also heard that it takes about three years before you start to see any significant sales. I'm not sure about that as I don't think it includes sales as a result of the perma-free strategy.


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#17 Andrew Nelson

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 05:53 PM

I guess I should consider myself lucky. The sales of Perfect Pawn have been fairly consistent. Mind you, I'm not breathing down James Patterson's neck, but it is nice to see at least some money going into the bank each month. 

 

One of the things that has made me hesitant to list a book 'free' is the opinion of some, that you run the risk of getting negative reviews by those that simply no longer have a dog in the race. I've seen some fairly horrific reviews from people that purchased 'free' books and blast it. I guess it is a game to some. Reminds me of the old adage "if you gave him a free bar of gold, he'd bitch that it was too heavy."


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#18 AQCrew

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Posted 25 March 2014 - 12:17 PM

This extremely dense -- and mostly anecdotal -- article outlines the demise of B&N due to Apple's iBookstore capturing more and more of its marketshare.

 

http://www.digitalbo...ler-in-the-u-s/

 

The only way most indie authors can gain access to distribution into Apple's iBookstore is through Smashwords.  Apple makes the process extremely difficult to upload e-books directly into its store.  Extremely difficult is putting it mildly.  

 

That said, if you have a Mac (you need a Mac to upload to Apple's iBookstore -- yes, the first of many, many, many hurdles) and love to control every aspect of your books' distribution (like we do), we think it's absolutely essential to avoid Smashwords and attempt to control the upload process directly into iBookstore yourself.  

 

Not only can you literally upload your book and have it available in about 24 hours (we've heard it takes weeks and months when using Smashwords to distribute to Apple), you also have control over all royalty reporting and YOU (not Smashwords) are listed as the publisher within Apple's iBookstore.



#19 Darke

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Posted 25 March 2014 - 02:00 PM

This extremely dense -- and mostly anecdotal -- article outlines the demise of B&N due to Apple's iBookstore capturing more and more of its marketshare.

 

http://www.digitalbo...ler-in-the-u-s/

 

The only way most indie authors can gain access to distribution into Apple's iBookstore is through Smashwords.  Apple makes the process extremely difficult to upload e-books directly into its store.  Extremely difficult is putting it mildly.  

 

That said, if you have a Mac (you need a Mac to upload to Apple's iBookstore -- yes, the first of many, many, many hurdles) and love to control every aspect of your books' distribution (like we do), we think it's absolutely essential to avoid Smashwords and attempt to control the upload process directly into iBookstore yourself.  

 

Not only can you literally upload your book and have it available in about 24 hours (we've heard it takes weeks and months when using Smashwords to distribute to Apple), you also have control over all royalty reporting and YOU (not Smashwords) are listed as the publisher within Apple's iBookstore.

 

BUT can a non-States author make an account. That's the problem with BN. I don't live in the States so I can't make an account there. Also, Kobo only pays every six months, where as Smashwords pays quarterly. Until these issues are resolved, I have no choice but to go with Smashwords. 


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#20 Andrew Nelson

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Posted 25 March 2014 - 03:31 PM

I haven't had any sales on Kobo in the two months I have been listed with them, but already had sales on SW in the few days I have been there. I guess it is hit and miss. 


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