business / marketing

Where you sell your books

I sell my fiction only on Amazon but my non-fic, I sell not only through Amazon but on my own website, through Facebook (though I have never sold even one), through an education marketplace (Teachers Pay Teachers), and Google Play (almost nothing sells there).

I did a poll a few weeks ago to find out where you-all sell your books and which outlet does the best for you. Here are the results (sorry for the blurriness–the charts didn’t transfer well for me): 

Where you sell your books

 

Which is the best for sales

Here are the comments added by authors:

 

  • Bookstores are still a good place to sell your books
  • I have had good sales on Kindle Daily Nation for YA. A week long campaign where my Amazon rating went to #33 for YA Science Fiction. I sell approximately 17-20 books on a two day weekend at local book fairs.
  • I sell most of my books through Amazon, so that would be the best place to sell them. But, I make most money when I sell them in person, so financially, that’s the best method. Not sure what selling books via Facebook or social media means. With ads? I “promote” Plunge on social media in posts and groups, but I have no idea how many sold that way as I send potential readers to Amazon to buy them.
  • Some people don’t have a Kindle, so Smashwords is a good alternative option.
  • for Grief Songs, I’m going with Ingram for wide distribution.
  • I don’t make huge sales on the outlets other than Amazon, but enough to make it worth publishing with them. I tried Google Play, wasn’t worth the effort
  • I sell most of my books on Amazon once the “launch” is over, but my publisher did a “pre-order” for my latest book – FLASHES OF LIFE – and we sold more with that promotion than any other place. Another place I’ve sold more books than Amazon is when I give a talk at a book club, and the participants all buy my book first (I did this for my two novels). Oh, and a neighborhood get-together about my children’s books was another big seller. I’m not sure how many books I sell from blog followers, since they buy the book on Amazon.
  • Book Promotion Sites help me sell far more books than I do in a normal month without promotion. Most of the time, I make a small profit after paying the fee, but it depends on the site and perhaps the time of year.

A few surprises for me:

  • Yes, for Indie authors, Amazon owns the market. But, I was happily surprised that B&N.com did better than other online outlets. I had a lot of trouble with them about a decade ago, gave up. Maybe I should give them another try.
  • In-person surprised me. I do none of that and you-all are telling me I should spend time there. I’ve read anecdotal stories of success at presentations and readings but never took action.
  • Social media like Facebook garnered 20%. I don’t think I sell anything on my FB store. That was an interesting statistic.
  • Google Play–I’d just about given up on that. I’ve tried several times to rejuvenate my store there with no results. I’m glad it is working for others.

How about you? Did you see any surprises?


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular prehistoric fiction saga, Man vs. Nature which explores seminal events in man’s evolution one trilogy at a time. She is also the author of the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers and Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. Her non-fiction includes over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, reviews as an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Natural Selection, Winter 2022.

74 thoughts on “Where you sell your books

  1. Thanks for putting the poll together and sharing the results here, Jacqui. I wish I could do more in-person events. Yes, it chews up an entire day, but if an author can sell ten paperbacks during each event, that’s actually real money. When I sell my books online, I make about $3.50 a copy (paperback or eBook). When I sell the paperbacks in person (at full price, just like online), I make about $10 a copy…

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Interesting, Jacqui. Not too many surprises there fore me. I joined Google in May, but no sales so far. I did a recent promotion site event and offered my first book for free and got over 100 downloads on Google, but don’t know if there’ll be any sales. I do encourage you to try in person sales, particularly at local Christmas craft fair markets, once things get back to normal. Customers are always looking for inexpensive, unique gift ideas, and signed copies tend to sell well for me.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Great information, Jacqui. Of course, I was interested in the Teachers Pay Teachers website. I’ve spent a little money over there over the years, though retirement has pulled me in other directions.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Very interesting, Jacqui. I buy most books online through Amazon, and I bet there are a lot of readers like me. I’ve helped my sister sell books at conferences.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Interesting to read, but nothing to add to the conversation, except to say I buy through Amazon for my kindle, but I also buy from a local online store and convert the books to kindle format. I also buy hardcopy from a number of stores.

    Liked by 3 people

      • I don’t uses D2D. I upload an epub onto 3 platforms: Amazon, Smashwords and Google Play.
        Smashwords does everything else, loading automatically onto: B&N, Kobo, Apple, and a few others, and providing the links. I find it fairly effortless.

        Liked by 2 people

        • I did look at Smashwords, once, quite a while ago. They seem very professional. I spent days loading all of my materials onto Google Play (I have over a hundred education books) to almost no sales–the rare $20 month.

          Hmmm… I wonder if fiction would be more productive–though Amazon won’t like that. Sigh.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Maybe fiction works better. I don’t know so I can’t help with that. What you give up on Amazon by going broad is the ability to run freebies and participate in kindle unlimited. That’s it. What I’m doing now is offering new books (The Ferryman and the Sea Witch) on Amazon exclusively. I’m going to run one freebie when sales stagnate, and then when that bubble bursts, I’ll go broad. Even if Google Play doesn’t bring in much normally, it’s part of the Bookbub offering, so if you decide to try a Bookbub promotion, it’s a good idea.

            Liked by 2 people

  6. HI Jacqui, I was most interested in these results. I sell my books through TSL Publications (my publisher), Lulu.com and Amazon. I also sell some locally but these are to schools or libraries and rarely individuals. In person doesn’t really work in South Africa as [according to a survey a few years ago] only 40,000 South Africans buy new books. Our economy is very poor right now due to the pandemic so that figure has probably dropped. Going to in person events are not worth the time for me. I’ve thought about branching out to Smashwords, B&N, Google play and others but, based on the above, it isn’t worth the effort and I don’t have that much time.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Do you sell much through Lulu? I looked at them a long time ago but ultimately went with me doing everything. You do more outreach than most authors I know–and I don’t know how you manage it. I would think that boosts your sales on Amazon or wherever we-all find yours. For me, I always click through to Amazon.

      Interesting feedback, Robbie.

      Liked by 2 people

      • HI Jacqui, I do have some sales through Lulu and I am working hard to promote those links. I do sell more on Amazon. I find that Americans generally only buy from Amazon while other people are happy to buy from Lulu or my publisher. Amazon seems to give American authors less grief than non-Americans from what I’ve read and my own experiences. Some authors from the UK won’t sell their books on Amazon anymore, preferring to take the knock in sales. It is quite interesting.

        Liked by 2 people

        • That is interesting. When I was on Amazon Advantage (their sub contractor side), they were a ton of trouble. Their KDP side has been pretty easy once I capitulated completely to their demands and requirements. I’m glad to hear there are good alternatives.

          Like

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