eBooks are the quickest, easiest and best-selling way to publish your book. Particularly for fiction, the vast majority of your sales will be digital books, and most of these will be through Amazon Kindle.

Publishing eBooks essentially involves two steps: you upload your book directly to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) for maximum control and royalties.

Then the simplest approach for all the other channels – there are so many that you won’t have heard of most of them – is to use a third-party distributor. This doesn’t cost anything, though you do get slightly less royalties. On the upside, if you make a change to your book on the distributor site, they should then update it on all the various channels.


Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, as of 2019, is by far the dominant sales platform for eBooks. It’s free to publish there and fairly straightforward. Technically it’s also easy as Amazon allows you to upload a wide range of document formats, and it then converts to a Kindle book (.mobi) for you. You have two important options when uploading: you can join the Kindle Unlimited (KU) program, which gives you access to promotional tools, but means you can’t upload your book to any other platform – it has to be exclusive with Amazon (though you can leave after three months) or you can just upload it in a regular way. From 99c to $2.99 35% royalties, from $2.99 to $9.99 70% royalties, above $9.99 35% royalties, KU pays per page read


Previously two separate companies that both distributed eBooks to a wide range of third party platforms, Draft2Digital acquired Smashwords in 2022 and the two services are being integrated.

  • Smashwords will offer your eBook for sale directly on its site (which enables maximum royalties) and also distributes to third parties. To do this, you’ll need an ISBN, but Smashwords will give you one for free. You can upload your work as a doc or an ePub.
  • Draft2Digital offers eBook and print creation and distribution. You can upload your work as a Word doc, rtf or an ePub. The service also offers Universal Book Links (UBLs).
(these may change due to the acquisition)

85% for books sold direct from Smashwords, approx 60% from distribution partners

15% all platforms for Draft2Digital


Lulu offers eBooks sales directly and through distribution, as well as printed book creation, sales and distribution. It provides free ISBNs, or you can bring your own. 90% of Net Profit for eBooks (there’s a Hosting Cost of ~99c) sold from Lulu, 40%-60% for books sold through third party channels


PublishDrive distributes eBooks to over 400+ stores. It has also entered the Audiobook market. It also has advertising options including Amazon Advertising which it can handle for you. PublishDrive takes 10% of royalties, or none for a $100 month subscription fee. You can switch between these options depending what earns you more.

Ingram Spark

Ingram Spark is arguably the most professional service for creating and selling eBooks and printed books, but it does charge a title setup (USD$25 for eBooks – or free if you’ve paid USD$49 for a print book set up). That said, you can often find promo codes for free setup. 40%, or 45% if you’ve opted out of Amazon

Other relevant articles: