Independent ebook platforms in 2021
November 24, 2021 2:06 AM   Subscribe

If I wanted to avoid tech giants like Amazon to release an e-book on my website or on an indie platform with a "pay what you want" slider, what software do authors typically use for that these days? Wondering too what has changed in the e-book world since this 2012 thread -- whether people still would recommend services like Smashwords.
posted by johngoren to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
If you have a wordpress site, you can use a Stripe plugin and do this quite easily.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:23 AM on November 24 [1 favorite]

I investigated this and ended up using Amazon. Other writers who tried selling from their own sites said that the customer support angle was just too much of a headache. Dealing with people who didn't know how to sideload book files, didn't know what format book their device could read, wanted to return books for various reasons, and all the usual payment complications.
You might not find that to be a hassle, and maybe there are other platforms that have solved these issues.
Do investigate Book Funnel as a way of offering a pretty friction free way of making the ebook available for download.
As far as I know they don't offer a payment system, but they do create a way to seamlessly let people download an ebook to a range of devices.
posted by Zumbador at 5:00 AM on November 24 [2 favorites]

ePub is very mature at this point. I’m still a pretty big fan of the DRM-free PDF, for accessibility and portability. Although maybe you’re actually asking about the distribution platform?
posted by aspersioncast at 6:16 AM on November 24 [1 favorite]

Gumroad and for DRM-free downloads, assuming you already have a PDF, ePub, etc.

Draft2digital seems a more popular choice these days than Smashwords, you just upload a Word doc and it takes care of formatting and publishing to multiple ebook retailers (including Amazon if you want) but those marketplaces typically do not support "pay what you want" but do support "free" (except Amazon)

The vast majority of your readers will prefer a Kindle download, as Zumbador said.

For nonfiction, Medium/Substack/Patreon subscription model seems popular too.
posted by credulous at 8:48 AM on November 24 [2 favorites]

I recently bought a book on leanpub based on the author's overview of a technical topic in a YouTube video. Just figured I'd mention it, I don't know what it would be like from the author's side.
posted by forthright at 4:33 PM on November 24

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