The Benefits of Having Your Own Online Bookstore
March 03, 2020Categories: Sales,
You list your ebook on Amazon. Assuming you set the price between 2.99 and 9.99, when someone buys your ebook, you get up to 70% of the retail price. Different price points, large files, and different retailers could mean that your share is much lower. This is a fair deal because the retailers are essentially selling the book for you. However, if you are putting your own labor or hard-earned marketing dollars into promoting your book on some third-party retailer, you are missing out on some serious opportunity for much larger royalties.
Here's the bottom line: Having your own online bookstore where you can sell your ebooks, audiobooks, and even print books can make you up to twice as much as you are currently making selling your books. This is especially the case if the vast majority of books you do sell come as the result of your own marketing efforts and not as a result of readers just stumbling upon your book through Amazon, iBooks, or other online bookstores. In addition, to making a lot more per book:
- You build a database of readers. When retailers sell your books, your readers become their customers. They can market to your readers, and you can't. When you sell a reader your book, you have their name and e-mail address. This can be very valuable.
- You have strict control of pricing. Retailers can adjust your price on a whim (as long as they still give you your royalty based on your set retail price), and if you want to change the price, it is quite an ordeal that can have a 2-3 week delay. With your own site, you change the prices as often as you like, and it takes effect immediately. This is great for price-point testing.
- You can offer promotion codes with special pricing. You will want to run special promotions where you offer promotion codes. You can give away books without dropping the price to zero this way. You can set the promotion codes to expire on a set date. You can only allow X number of codes to be used. You can even select if you want the promotion codes to apply to digital products only (and not paper books).
If having your own bookstore is such a no-brainer, why don't all authors have one?
- Technical Reasons. Perhaps the top reason that most authors don't have their own online bookstore is that setting up the bookstore and managing it usually requires a decent level of technical expertise or at least, the ability, willingness, and patience to push through the learning curve of generic e-commerce software.
- Investment. Setting up your own online bookstore where you don't share your royalties generally means that you are paying for the service, plus paying for a merchant account. Some authors realize that they will be lucky if they sell a few copies of their book a year, and just cannot justify the expense.
- Lack of Promotion. Some authors don't invest either time or money into their book(s); they simply list them with the online retailers and wait for the sales to come in. In cases like this, an author having their own online bookstore is unlikely to make a difference.
With any of our paid options (as low as $9.95/mo), you can have your online bookstore. Unlike generic e-commerce software, we created our bookstore exclusively for books—ebooks, audiobooks, and even print books. This means that authors can avoid the usual technical headaches one would get from attempting to navigate through the generic e-commerce software. And if you have already build your website with HostingAuthors.com, you have already made it over the learning curve.
As for the expense, you just need to be able to swing $9.95/mo. If you already have a merchant account and use AuthorizeNet, there is no other expense. If you don't have a merchant account and don't want to pay for one, you can get a free business account through PayPal and that as your merchant account.
Do the math. If your book sells for $10, selling just 2-3 books per month via your own online bookstore will cover the online bookstore expense (not to mention, pay for all the other additional features you would get with a paid account) and start making you more money.
Your bookstore is integrated with your book websites when you set the purchase URL for the book to your bookstore instead of another online retailer:
Your bookstore is also integrated with your author website and linked in the header menu:
Setting Up and Managing Your Own HostingAuthors.com Bookstore
Here is a look at my HostingAuthors.com online bookstore. It is fully integrated with the book and author websites, which eliminates the need for duplicating all your book's information and having to maintain multiple copies of the information. As someone who updates their books regularly, I can tell you how important this is.
Accessing the Bookstore Setup
When logged in, you will find the bookstore setup under the "More" button.
The first screen asks you some basic information, including your receipt e-mail address, some information needed if you are selling and shipping printed books, and your merchant account information. The web address of your bookstore uses the same name you assigned when you setup your author webpage.
Uploading Your Ebook and Audiobook Files
For each of your books, there will be a button that, when clicked, expands the section where you can upload all of the files associated with the book. These are the "digital downloads" that your readers will buy and instantly have access to after completing the purchase. For print books, you don't upload any files; you would need to maintain an inventory at your own location and ship to the customers. Currently, we only support print book sales for authors and customers within the United States.
Setting Your Prices
Your books, your prices. You can set the retail prices for each format of your book. You do this for all your books in one convenient page.
You can run up to 25 simultaneous promotions that apply to all of your digital downloads. You set up the discount code readers will enter to take advantage of the offer, expiration date if there is one, the number of codes available, and the discount they will get, which can range from 100% off (free) to 0% (full price).
Manage Your Orders
The wonderful thing about digital downloads is that there really is no management. The orders come in, the readers download the book, and the money goes into your merchant account. On occasion, you will be asked to resend the download links (the download links expire after 72 hours to deter unauthorized downloads). We can handle any technical questions readers might have on your behalf. If readers order print books, you can print shipping labels from this admin interface.
The final product is an incredibly slick user interface that makes it easy for your readers to buy your books. You do want to still distribute your book to all the major online retailers because they do sell your books for you, and some readers prefer to buy books from their favorite retailer and might not buy your book otherwise. Full distribution and your own online bookstore is the ideal combination that will ensure you are making the most revenue possible from the sale of your books.
If you are a free HostingAuthors.com account user and want to have your own bookstore, upgrade your account on the welcome screen when you login.