Crimespace members have generated a lot of eBook discussion recently. There is one aspect of this subject that I did not see covered or I missed it.How many publishing platforms is enough to reach the broadest market? 

Here are some of the platforms mentioned: Amazon (DTP), Barnes & Noble's PubIt, Border' new "Get Published," INgrooves, Kobo, Ingram Digital, and Apple. I have not worked with a publisher to date, and all the hype about the digital publishing world can be misleading. How many eBook publishing platforms must a manuscript flow through to be available to most readers?

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What?  50 dollars per book?  And 5 % of sales?  I upload myself to all three (Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords) and get 70 % (if the price is at least 2.99).  And I set the price of the book.  Why negotiate?  Amazon offers the same deal to everyone. 

My expense is for formatting alone (because I don't want to be bothered with it) and there is a surcharge for Smashwords, which suggests that it has special problems.

Saw on PW today that Amazon will be adding a limited lending feature later this year (like B&N's Nook) but some customers are complaining "about Amazon's separation of itself from epub and thus their lack of integration with public libraries and Overdrive's library lending service." This led me to the epubBooks and Overdrive sites. I can see why Amazon might not want to connect with these site,s but as authors I see this as another opportunity (in the long run) of acquiring greater readership. It is interesting to watch all this positioning going on and try to understand their motivations. FYI.
It is my considered opinion, after what I've seen so far, that "readership" (i.e. those folks who don't buy your book) is not nearly as significant as the actual book buyers. Book borrowers traditionally are not into buying. They are, however, experienced readers. Book buyers tend to go for the latest thriller and are unwilling to wait for it to make it to a library.

I think those folks who get our books for free at the libraies should at least be made to post good reviews on Amazon. :)
I think those folks who get our books for free at the libraies should at least be made to post good reviews on Amazon. :)
That cracked me up, I.J. Thanks!
Hi there Mark :) I think this is the thing: It's not so much that manuscripts "must" flow through all these publishing platforms. Instead these various platforms must be viewed as a multitude of publishing opportunities. For example, one may choose to self-publish via Amazon (DTP) or PubIt BUT, publication via these platforms will not preclude a manuscript from being available through the distribution channels of B&N or Amazon, Kobo or Apple.

Accordingly, writers interested in self-publishing opportunities should note that there is a distinction between the platform which enables self-publication and those same entities operating as delivery/distribution channels.

There are definitely some disadvantages/limitations to digital publishing, but there are also many opportunities also. If anyone is interested, I author a website called BookBotics ( which tries to tackle a lot of these issues. Feel free to stop by if you seek some discussion on these issues.

Probably the most important thing for self-publishing authors to be aware of are the limitations to marketing, copyright and also royalties that may arise in some of these self-publishing contracts. I think that's probably the most important thing to watch out for.

I hope that this answer is of some help :) Thank you for posting on such a great topic!

Kind Regards,
Mel :)
Thanks, Mel. I'll check out your site.
I keep it simple and go to Smashwords first to get my books converted to all the available formats. Then I download the mobi version from Smashwords and send that to Amazon for the Kindle edition. It's easier for me than trying to negotiate Amazon's Digital Text Platform, which--despite improvements--still seems like it was written in Thailand in 1999. The results aren't at all "ugly"--or at least not as ugly as some of the Kindle books I've seen from major publishers.
I think I've read that they found that the demographics of Kindle users include a lot of used book buyers and library users. Buyers of new hardbacks seem to be less represented. (I assume because one of the motivating factors with Kindle is volume - used and library users tend to be voracious readers. The ability to carry hundreds of books around is a major selling point. As well as the ability to afford those books in such volume.)

Anyway, platform.... IMHO, Amazon is the most important. Some people offer through all the other platforms separately, but that takes a lot of time and management to deal with each vendor. At the moment I'm just using Smashwords to distribute to Apple, B&N, Kobo, Sony. (I opted to go through Amazon separately.)

This might give you some insight. Joe Konrath breaks down his sales by platform:
Thanks for this. I just sent the link to my agent. I think we all need to wake up.


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