Aspiring authors frequently, and occasionally even those who have already published, seek advice about which self-publishing site(s) they should consider using. Consequently, a survey Which E-Book Publishing Site? was recently conducted by this website, in which more established authors were asked to share their experience and preferences. The results follow:
Question 1: Authors! If you have self-published an e-book, which of the following sites have you used?
(Note: This was a multiple choice question because many authors utilise more than one service. The aim was to determine the most used. The results are presented in declining use order.)
87.50% – KDP (Kindle)
37.50% – Draft2Digital
25.00% – Smashwords
25.00% – IngramSpark
18.75% – iBooks (Apple)
12.50% – Google Play
12.50% – Lulu
06.25% – Barnes and Noble Press
06.25% – Kobo Writing Life
00.00% – BookBaby
Question 2: If you have used more than one site, which do you like the most?
(Note: Participants were only permitted to select their preferred site.)
56.25% – KDP (Kindle)
18.75% – IngramSpark
12.50% – Smashwords
06.25% – Draft2Digital
06.25% – Barnes and Noble Press
No one selected iBooks (Apple); Google Play; Kobo Writing Life; Lulu; or BookBaby.
Question 3: What is it you like about your preferred site?
(Note: Participants were permitted multiple choices without referring to a specific site.)
68.75% – Ease of use
56.25% – Distribution extent.
43.75% – Popularity
31.25% – Quality
18.75% – Clear Guidance
12.50% – Other (Please Specify.) (See below for further details.)
00.00% – Ready made Templates
Only two respondents selected the ‘Other’ option. Their reasons:
1. ‘POD based in Australia as well as other countries.’
(This may be referring to IngramSpark.)
Note: POD is the abbreviation for ‘Print-on-Demand’. (Paperback copies are only printed when there is a specific request.)
Observation: The author is obviously based in Australia and therefore their selection is understandable and does bring out a valid point for those located in non UK, USA or EU countries.
2. ‘With Smashwords, the publication is immediate. Distribution to other vendors is rapid, as well. The only real disadvantage for me is that they don’t distribute to KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). You have to do it there yourself, if you want your work on Amazon.’
The following is not intended to imply preference or that one site is better than an other. These are simply observations arising from the survey results.
Most will not be surprised to see KDP (Kindle) at the top of the list. In part this is probably due to it being one of the oldest self-publishing sites and its association with Amazon, the largest worldwide online purchasing site.
Though Draft2Digital is a comparatively new service, anyone who has used it will probably attest to it being a fairly easy-to-use system combined with a good distribution extent.
Smashwords is also a longstanding publication service with an extensive distribution extent. Some may bulk at its specific requirements for manuscript formatting but provided the style guide, available for free, is followed, it is not overly onerous.
The writer has no experience of IngramSpark however, those they know who have used the service, frequently state how much they like it. Apparently it is particularly good for paperback editions.
The fact some respondents have also used most of the other services mentioned implies they find these equally useful.
Note: The survey specifically asked about e-book publishing services. However, naturally, many authors wish to also publish a paperback (print-on-demand) edition. Of the sites mentioned Kindle (Kindle Create), IngramSpark, Lulu, Barnes and Noble Press and BookBaby provide for the option. Draft2Digital is currently beta testing such a facility but as yet no full implementation date has been announced.
Obviously the survey results only provide the viewpoint of those who participated. Some may like to make their own judgments. To assist links to each of the sites are provided here:
Disclaimer: Neither T. R. Robinson Publications nor T. R. Robinson have any affiliation to any of the companies and organisations mentioned. Nor do either receive any remuneration for mentioning them. What has been shared is simply by way of assisting authors in their publishing career.