Amazon is not just one of the biggest online sellers but is also one of the biggest online sellers for self-published authors.
As the self-publishing industry has ballooned in the last decade, so too needs places to find and sell these books.
Amazon was pretty quick to jump on this particular bandwagon, with their Kindle Direct Publishing platform (also known as KDP for short) quickly becoming probably the single biggest in the business.
However, while it is the biggest out there, it is by no means the only one you can find.
So, if you’re looking to find other self-publishing platforms online, or are looking to take your books elsewhere besides KDP, here are some of the best alternatives that you can use.
Because while Amazon may have the biggest slice of this pie, many companies have their slices that you can take advantage of for your work!
Starting with arguably the biggest competitor to KDP, we have Apple and their online self-publishing service Apple books (also known as iBooks).
We say the biggest competitor, but even this next biggest online self-publishing platform is significantly smaller than its Amazon counterparts, coming in at around 12% of the overall market share of self-published books online in 2021.
Still, 12% of a worldwide potential of millions is a huge amount, so it’s not like there’s not a huge audience that can potentially see your work.
First started in 2010, Apple books has full integration with apple’s long line of products, as well as support for many different languages, opening up any given work to a truly global market.
Add to that the fact that regional Apple bookstores can give you certain bonuses or perks for using them, and you have a service that can be surprisingly tailored to your needs.
So, if you are an Apple customer that uses any of their products, and are looking to get your work self-published, you can do a lot worse than Apple Books.
Based in Toronto, Canada, Kobo is a major retailer of books both physical and online up north and even has its self-publishing wing of its enterprise.
And given that up to 25% of all e-books are sold in Canada, that is a very respectable number, both in terms of how it compares to the juggernaut that is Amazon’s e-book services, as well as the potential access to a wider market for your self-published work!
Plus, with a maximum royalty rate of up to 70% on works sold over $2.99, that’s a pretty commendable amount that you’ll be seeing from your work for using this platform.
So, if you’re willing to look outside of the big 2 e-book sellers, we can easily recommend Kobo to you!
Like its big tech counterparts, Google has opened its e-book reading and publishing app of its own. With Google having over 3 billion users worldwide on android, that’s quite a market you could be tapping into!
Google Play Books (formerly known as Google eBooks), is not just an ideal site to read and publish e-books, but also audiobooks and other formats for reading, making it more user-friendly and able to tailor that part of the experience.
After all, while many people love to read books and stories, some people have trouble reading, or can’t read thanks to a physical impairment, so features like this help people enjoy their favorite pastime, whilst also giving you access to a bigger audience base.
Add to that a 70% cut of all of the works that you sell on the platform, and active service in over 70 countries, and that’s plenty of regions for you to find an audience for your published work!
(As a final note, make sure that you do not get confused between Google Play Books and Google Books. They are 2 separate apps!)
Perhaps one of the biggest names in the world of book retailing and Publishing, Barnes & Noble Press has all the experience and know-how necessary to help anyone get their finest works published.
So, it’s nice to see that they are also giving a helping hand to self-published authors through their e-book publishing service!
If you’re worried about a lack of exclusivity meaning that using this service will hamper the sales of your books, don’t worry.
The books that you’ll find at Barnes and Noble Press are all exclusive to the company, both online and in the store, so you’ll have a product and book that can’t be found anywhere else online!
Plus, if you’re trying to get those paperback copies sold for your book that just isn’t going anywhere, Barnes & Noble has your back here too, providing a print-on-demand service for your self-published needs, in case you plan on going physical with your work!
While the maximum payout cut for each book is a little lower than other companies, around 65% for books over $2.99 sold, this is still a very good service to consider for getting your self-published works off the ground finally!
What? The place where you can buy old typewriters and niche memorabilia is a viable place for e-books too?
Well, Etsy is certainly no stranger to helping small businesses get their name out there, so perhaps it isn’t too surprising that they may also have a service that is helpful for self-publishing work!
Outside of a small listing fee for listing your book (whether in a PDF format or physical print) and a transaction fee of around 6.5%, everything else sold on your Etsy age goes straight back to you, giving you a much bigger cut of the book that you are selling.
Plus, with Etsy being one of the most popular platforms for small businesses, and still growing, you’ll have access to a massive audience that can see your book!
Smashwords is much more than a platform on that you can publish books. This is a site where virtually any kind of written work can be published to. From non-fiction pieces to full fictional works, to journal reviews and even research papers!
Plus, through Smashwords, you can even get your self-published books into major retailers and high street stores.
That is quite a helpful marketing and publicity tool to have in your corner and a key feature for becoming an established name out there!
Plus, with features that allow you to create digital libraries, listing favorite books and authors you can link to, as well as being both debit/credit card and PayPal compatible, how could you resist this platform for your work?
Perhaps one of the oldest companies out there when it comes to businesses that are prepared to support and help self-published authors find their audience, Lulu has been in this business since 2002, predating even Amazon’s e-book service.
So you know that you’re dealing with an experienced hand at this game!
Add to that their physical bookstores that it is possible to sell your self-published work through, and you have a very tempting platform to try your hand with!
Even their distribution and physical printing services come included with this package, and that’s not even touching on, such as their editing services, their book cover designs, or their marketing team!
It’s all the benefits of going through a publisher, with almost all of the freedoms that a self-published bookseller comes with too!
IngramSpark has the benefit of being yet another global distribution platform for self-published works, so there are plenty of potential buyers and audiences for your book or books to reach.
150 countries are registered to be active points areas for IngramSpark, so you won’t be short on places that may show interest!
Plus, IngramSparks makes it possible to distribute your book amongst not just one of the major e-book platforms, but pretty much all of them, from Amazon KPD to Apple books, to Google Play Books, to even physical stores such as Barnes & Noble.
That’s a seriously impressive set of connections you can use for your e-books!
Draft2Digital is in many ways very similar to Smashwords. It has plenty of countries where there are both active authors and readers, as well as being useful for publishing many different kinds of materials, from scientific journals to fictional works.
However, the fact that Draft2Digital not only has all of these features but as well as being able to provide a free-of-service formatting service, you have a very strong contender for one of the best self-publishing platforms out there.
Not only that, but they can distribute your work through Amazon too, giving you a MUCH bigger audience and market to aim for!
So, as you can see, there are plenty of options that budding authors can choose to go with when finding a place for their self-published work.
From direct Amazon KDP competitors at the highest and biggest levels to some of the most niche platforms that you can find when it comes to publishing.
The only question left to answer now, is which one will you choose?