There’s a critical step between “I’ve created an ebook” and “I made a sale!”
You have to decide where to sell it.
There are plenty of options for selling an ebook, including Amazon Kindle Publishing, Gumroad, and NOOK Press. We think one spot rises above the rest, though—your own website.
If you already have a site set up, adding an ecommerce tool to help you sell your ebook is actually pretty simple. No fancy coding or bespoke payment processor required. Creators across every niche are already selling ebooks on their website, and you can get yours set up in ten minutes.
The benefits of selling your ebook directly
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of making your ebook success story come to life, we need to consider the distribution elephant in the room. Amazon is essentially a monopoly in the publishing world, especially for self-publishers.
When new creators try to learn about where to sell ebooks online, Amazon’s size and availability make them a convenient choice—but they certainly aren’t the best choice for creators looking to turn their passion into profit.
Instead, creators should sell ebooks on their website. It’s not as difficult as it may sound (we promise), and there are some very clear benefits:
More readers can access your documents on their devices
Book formatting and rights management through Amazon’s Kindle services can cause headaches. Creators have seen all the hard work they put into formatting their ebook go to the wayside when they convert to Kindle Direct Publishing formats. Plus, digital rights management (DRM) can pigeonhole compatible devices.
When selling an ebook on your website, you can choose a widely usable format like PDF for viewing across platforms and devices. Being in charge of the simple distribution also makes it easier to fix issues or make updates quicker.
You create a deeper relationship with customers
When someone buys your ebook on Amazon, their name and information live in Amazon’s black box for the rest of time. Translation: you won’t know who buys your books—and you won’t have any way of reaching them in the future to market your other offerings. Building relationships with your audience is one of the most fulfilling and lucrative prospects for online creators, so why would you relinquish that?
Instead, you can use your website and email list to provide value to your audience over time and connect with new buyers. Welcome emails, like the one from Angela at Stray Curls below, introduce new subscribers to your perspective and start the relationship on a positive note.
More money lands in your pocket
You put the hard work into creating content, and you deserve to be paid for it. Typically, you earn more per sale when you sell ebooks on your website.
Amazon ebook fees and royalties are…complicated. They consider factors like the file size and sales price and can take multiple fees for each transaction. Let’s say you sell 100 copies of your ebook for $15—after Amazon’s 65% commission, you would end up making $525 in profit.
Compare that to selling an ebook on your own site. ConvertKit Commerce is available on free and paid ConvertKit plans and has a 3.5% + $0.30 per transaction fee. That shakes out to $1,417 in profit from the same number of sales—a 35% increase in earnings. Not bad!
You can launch faster
When you’re excited about launching an ebook, any delay is frustrating. Creators who publish via Amazon should expect to wait a few days before their book and listing details are fully live.
Selling on your site puts you in control, though, and you can begin making sales right after uploading your ebook file. If you’re eager to launch your ebook quickly, consider repurposing existing blog content, so you don’t have to start from scratch.
5 creators selling ebooks on their website
Still not sure how to work an ebook into your website? We found five creators with ebook listings on their blogs, and they show the variety of places you can promote your digital products.
Since you can embed your ebook onto your website using your ecommerce tool or create a separate landing page, you have a lot of flexibility around how you present it. You could embed it at the end of related blog posts, list it on a “shop” or “resources” tab, or link to a landing page from your social posts or emails.
#1: Dr. Joy Harden Bradford from Therapy for Black Girls
Dr. Joy Harden Bradford runs the Therapy for Black Girls blog, where she uses her psychology background plus pop culture to encourage the mental wellness of Black women and girls. Her website features a search tool to find therapists in your area, episodes of her podcast, information on the Therapy for Black girls community, blog content, and a digital shop.
The Therapy for Black Girls Coloring Book lives on the site’s “shop” page and a ConvertKit landing page. When you give your ebook a spot on your website, you increase the chances that visitors exploring your blog or other content can discover the ebook without leaving your site.
#2: Embora Pets
The site also teams up with animal professionals and vets to create in-depth ebooks for pet owners. While Embora Pets has a dedicated page for ebook listings, they also put signup forms for related lead magnets within blog posts. In the Snake Care and Husbandry Made Simple ebook, Dr. Sara Redding Ochoa and T. Kern Campbell cover everything new snake owners need to know.
#3: Ruth Martin-Gordon from CODDLE
Ruth Martin-Gordon read all the books and advice she could get her hands on during her first pregnancy, but it didn’t prepare her for postpartum healing. So, she channeled her experience and what she wishes *she* had into her postpartum care brand, CODDLE.
The CODDLE website has blogs and products to help new mothers recover post-pregnancy. There’s also a dedicated ebook page with listings for two postpartum books. Ruth Martin-Gordon also includes links to related ebooks at the end of her in-depth blog posts.
#4: Sarah Elizabeth
Sarah Elizabeth is an entrepreneur who helps fellow creatives use Facebook and chatbots to grow their businesses. You’ll find blog posts, free resource libraries, consultation services, paid marketing courses, and an ebook on her website.
While Sarah’s blog has shorter guides to chatbot marketing, she puts all the lessons together in Beginner to Profitable. Both the ebook name and description give readers a clear understanding of the transformation they can expect.
#5: Nourishing Amy
Amy publishes plant-based recipes (and mouth-watering photos) on her blog, Nourishing Amy. In addition to sharing recipes on her blog, she offers a newsletter and food photography services. Her monthly “Nourish Me” ebooks get a prime spot in the site’s main navigation.
Since you can embed a link to your ConvertKit Commerce product page anywhere you want, you have flexibility over how your ebook listing looks. Amy chooses to keep all of her ebook listings on one page, with plenty of images and a “Get Your Copy” CTA button that leads to the purchase page.
How to choose an ecommerce tool to integrate with your website platform
By the time you’ve created and designed your ebook, you’re likely eager to get it out there already. You could spend countless hours comparing fine details between ecommerce platforms, so it’s best to narrow your focus a bit.
Here are the four criteria you should keep in mind when considering ecommerce tools:
- Cost to transact. Look at per-transaction expenses, along with any recurring monthly fees. You want to make sure your ebook is making you money and not costing you money.
- Payments. Research how each platform processes creator payments and how easy it is to get set up as a new seller.
- Connectivity to your other tools. Chances are, you have a few different tools you use to run your business. The more elements of your sales process, like website and email marketing, that “play nice” with your ecommerce platform, the better.
- Ease of use. You don’t want to spend all day getting ebooks set up in your new platform or dealing with admin. Take time to explore demos, trials, and reviews of the product interface. It’s also wise to find supporting documents to answer your product questions.
Here are a few of the most common ecommerce tools you can use to sell ebooks on your website.
Add your ebook to your existing Squarespace website
If you’re already using a Squarespace website, you might have the option to sell your ebook through Squarespace. Selling digital products is a premium feature where you can upload a file, and then customers receive a link to download the ebook after purchasing on your site.
Squarespace has a native option for Business and Commerce plans, and transaction fees vary by plan. Here’s a summary:
- Squarespace Business starts at $18/mo (paid annually) with a 3% transaction fee
- Squarespace Commerce starts at $26/mo (paid annually) with no transaction fees
Sell an ebook on a Wix site with Wix Stores
Similar to Squarespace, Wix gives creators the ability to upload and sell products within the website builder. Wix Stores is available on Business and eCommerce plans, though features vary between plans. For example, storage space ranges from 20GB to 50GB, which you’ll need to consider if you sell multiple digital products.
Use WordPress ecommerce plugins like WooCommerce
There is no shortage of WordPress ecommerce plugins to consider, but to avoid overwhelming you, let’s look at one. If you use Bluehost to host your WordPress site, you automatically have access to WooCommerce, a popular ecommerce tool.
Annual Bluehost plans with WooCommerce start at $15.95 a month. If you have a WordPress site hosted somewhere else, you can still pay for WooCommerce separately. Transactions through WooCommerce Payments come with a 2.9% + $0.30 transaction fee.
Market and sell an ebook on any website with ConvertKit Commerce
When you set up your ebook with ConvertKit Commerce, you put your marketing, content, and sales on the same team. ConvertKit Commerce is available on all ConvertKit plans (even the free ones) with transaction fees of 3.5% + $0.30.
Once you’ve set up a product page, you can drive traffic directly to the ebook’s landing page or embed a “buy now” button anywhere on your website. It’s also easy to set up follow-up email funnels and automations with ConvertKit’s email tools.
Start selling your ebook on your website in 10 minutes with ConvertKit Commerce
If you decide to sell your ebook on your own website with ConvertKit Commerce, you first need to choose where on your site to show off the ebook. If you want, you can create a special “Shop” or “eBook” page like the creators we highlighted earlier. Or, you can get started right away with just a ConvertKit Commerce sales page.
To start accepting sales, you’ll need to enter your mobile phone number and email.
Once you've set up payments, you’ll notice the only option when you click “Create a New Product” on your products page is for a new product. You’ll hit that big red button and then fill in some basic product details. You can always
come back and edit these details later, so your product name and price aren’t set in stone.
As of publishing, creators can set up a one-time fee for their ebook. Recurring subscriptions are coming soon!
Once your details are in, hit “Next,” and then upload your file on the next page. After you’ve uploaded your ebook file, you need to choose a domain for your product’s sales page. Clicking on “Create Product” at the bottom of the page adds your product to the page URL you selected.
Your last step in setting up your ebook with ConvertKit commerce is setting up your sales, checkout, and confirmation pages. The editor for these important pages is nearly identical to the Landing Page Builder we covered in the previous section, which means it’s just as easy to customize.
One of the benefits of selling ebooks on your own website is the control you have over every step in the buying process. ConvertKit Commerce lets you customize branding and write copy that converts at each point in the sale, and automatically sends a receipt email.
Selling your ebook on your website puts more money in your pocket, and using one tool like ConvertKit Commerce to manage multiple facets of your business saves time.
Sounds like a win-win.