Sell More eBooks with Walmart

Did you know that Walmart is the third largest online shopping destination? According to Business Insider, only Amazon.com and Ebay.com have more online customer traffic than Walmart.

Some sources claim that Walmart is the second largest bookseller in the United States. To compete with Amazon, Walmart has teamed up with Rakuten Kobo to sell Kobo e-readers and ebooks. Walmart’s new service, Walmart eBooks by Rakuten Kobo, launched late last month.

According to Walmart’s website, the new Walmart eBooks brings customers:

  • Kobo’s library of more than six million titles – from New York Times best sellers to a wide variety of indie titles and children’s books.
  • A new monthly audiobook subscription – Customers will be able to subscribe to the audiobook service for $9.99 per month, which includes one audiobook per month.
  • The ability to purchase digital book cards in 3,500 Walmart stores
  • Access to Kobo’s eReaders online and in-store – Customers can choose from a variety of Kobo eReaders on Walmart.com. In 1,000 stores the Kobo Aura will be for sale.

All Walmart eBooks are accessible through co-branded (Walmart and Kobo) iOS and Android apps and on Kobo eReaders. Interestingly, Walmart.com receives more mobile traffic than Amazon.com; 64% of Walmart.com’s traffic is from mobile devices, while only 58% of Amazon’s traffic is mobile.

To mark the launch of the ebook partnership site, Walmart eBooks is offering first-time customers $10 off their first ebook or audiobook purchase. And consumers who sign up for the audiobook subscription will get their first 30 days for free.

What does this mean for you?

If your ebooks (and audiobooks) are not available for sale on Kobo, you will lose out on potential sales. Every author should make sure that his or her books are listed for sales on Kobo. This will ensure that your books are also listed for sale on Walmart eBooks.

There are a number of options for placing your ebooks on Kobo. Here are three:

  1. Self-publish your ebook directly to Kobo via their publishing platform (think KDP for Kobo).
  2. Upload your ebook to Smashwords and list it in their expanded catalog.
  3. Publish your ebook through Draft2Digital and use their ebook distribution service.

Don’t miss out on sales. Make sure that your ebook is available through Kobo so that it is available for sale on the new Walmart eBooks.

Related Posts:
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Are you a Literature Missionary?

“I always wanted to be a missionary, but that dream was not fulfilled. Then one day I realized that I was a missionary—a literature missionary!”

This statement, made by the Director of the Write to Impact Lives conference I taught at earlier this year, made me stop and think.

It’s a true statement. If you write and publish books that point people to Jesus Christ, then, you too, are a literature missionary.

Even better, with the ability to sell books worldwide today, you don’t just have to be a domestic literature missionary, you can be a foreign literature missionary as well.

If your book is available for sale on Amazon, then it available for purchase in the following countries:

United States United Kingdom Ireland Brazil
France Canada Germany Japan
Italy Spain Netherlands India
Austria Belgium Luxembourg Mexico

If your ebook is available via Kobo, then it is also available in:

  • Portugal
  • South Africa
  • Turkey
  • Philippines
  • Switzerland

One method to gain more exposure in some of these countries for your books is to make sure that you set up an Author Central Page for each country. Currently, Amazon lets you set up Author Center Pages for just four countries outside of the United States: Germany, United Kingdom, France, and Japan. You access can Author Central for each of these countries at the following links:

With today’s technology, every Christian author has the opportunity to be a Literature Missionary!

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Photo courtesy of Porapak Apichodilok.

Best Practices for Selling eBooks

Smashwords, an ebook self-publishing and distribution platform, analyzes their aggregate ebook sales across their distribution network each year. This analysis of over 450,000 ebooks by 130,000 authors and publishers provides information for best practices for selling ebooks.

The vast majority (87.5%) of Smashword’s sales are fiction titles—well in line with digital book sales trends.

In his 2017 Smashwords Survey, Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, provides insights to help authors make their books more accessible, desirable, and enjoyable to readers. Here are three questions the most recent Smashwords survey answers.

1. Should I offer a free promotion of my ebook?

Smashwords survey found that free still draws readership, but that best results come from offering a first in series book free to hook readers on the series.

  • The number of downloads from free ebook offers has declined over the past three years. In 2016, offering an ebook for free produced 33 times more downloads on average compared to priced titles in the past 12 months. However, in 2015, the number was 35 times more and in 2014, that number was 41 time more.
  • Free is still a powerful sales catalyst for series or backlists. Series that offer the first book free earn 55% more on average than series that don’t offer the first book free.

2. What is the best price for an ebook?

On average, nonfiction ebooks sell at a higher price point than fiction titles. The Smashword’s survey found that the most common price point for indie authors fiction ebooks is not the price point that maximizes earnings.

  • The most common price point for indie author selling fiction books is $2.99.
  • The top four price points for maximizing unit sales (other than free) are $3.99, $4.99, $0.99, and $2.99.

3. Do shorter ebooks sell better than longer ones?

On interesting takeaway from the Smashword’s analysis is that the average length of books that are selling the most copies has decreased over the past few years.

  • In 2012, the average wordcount for the top 60 best-selling romance titles was 112,195.
  • In 2016, the average wordcount for the top 70 best-selling titles romance was 92,725.

I would love to see more statistics about Christian ebook sales. Sadly, Smashword’s does not break out statistics by categories. However, they do provide ranking for sales of books by category for overall sales. Smashword’s survey found that Christian fiction ebook sales ranked 14 out of 17 categories. For nonfiction books, the Religion & Spirituality category ranked fourth out of 16 categories.

I think the two most noteworthy takeaways from this study are that the best price points for maximizing earnings for a fiction ebook is $3.99 or $4.99 and that free can still drive discoverability for an author.

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Photo courtesy of Dylan Siebel

Deterring eBook Piracy

Nielson, a data research company that tracks sales of books, recently teamed up with Digimarc to conduct a study on book piracy. From the study, Nielson believes that publishers in the United States are losing around $325,000,000 each year from lost revenue due to illegal downloads of ebooks.

Following are a few other interesting findings from the Nielson’s book piracy study:

  • The majority of illegal downloaders are 18 to 34 years old, educated and wealthy (the digitally savvy generation).
  • Roughly 30% of illegal downloaders either obtain their content from friends via IM, email, or flash drive or from downloading from public/open torrent sites.
  • Illegal downloaders acquire, on average, 13 to 16 ebooks per year—only 3 to 7 of these ebooks are acquired illegally.
  • Men are more likely to pirate a book then women (66% of illegal downloaders are male).
  • 44% of illegal downloaders surveyed reported that they would be much less likely to illegally download ebooks if they believed it harmed the author.

I find this last finding fascinating. What is says is that many of these illegal downloaders don’t understand how obtaining an ebook illegally affects an author. They currently don’t think it does.

If you are concerned about book piracy, this finding gives you an answer as to something you can do to deter piracy. After all, piracy hurts all authors and artists.

When was the last time you heard a public service announcement denouncing piracy and telling people that piracy is harmful to the creators of the content? Maybe the book publishing industry needs to start sponsoring public service announcements about piracy to inform the public how it harms authors.

I know that movies include warnings on piracy and the consequences if you are caught pirating a movie. Here is what is usually presented:

Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to five years in a federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

Have you ever seen this warning in an ebook? I haven’t. Yet, you can use this warning in any copyrighted materials including books.

So, if you are concerned about piracy and in particular people pirating your ebook, I encourage you to put this warning in your ebook. Put it right in the beginning of the book either on the copyright page or a separate page all by itself. You could even add a line about how obtaining copyrighted materials illegally harms the author.

After all, if 44% of illegal downloaders would be much less likely to obtain ebooks illegally if they believed it harmed the author, tell them that it does. Your statements may deter these people from continuing to illegal download yours and other authors’ ebooks.

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Photo courtesy of Alejandro Escamilla.

Global eBook Sales are Within Your Reach

Imagine that someone in China or South Africa is reading your book. The good news is that it is possible. With ebooks, selling books internationally is easy.

Did you know that with a click of a button, you can sell your ebook in multiple countries?

  • Amazon will sell your ebook in 12 countries.
  • Kobo ebook stores sell your ebook in 36 countries.
  • Apple eBook store sells to over 40 countries.

Author Earnings recently completed a report on ebook sales in the top five English-language countries: United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Below is a chart that shows the annual ebook sales broken down by country.

Author Earnings study revealed some interesting points. Here are three of the salient ones:

  • Amazon is the majority retailer in just about every market.
  • Taken all together, Amazon accounts for more than 80% of English-language ebook purchases, Apple another 10%, Kobo 2% and Nook 3%.
  • Self-published indie authors are verifiably capturing at least 24% to 34% of all ebook sales in each of the five English-language markets.

Once again, the news is that Amazon dominants book sales in English-speaking countries. However, it is important to remember that Amazon is not the only ebook store.

Many independently published authors publish exclusively with Amazon. If you publish exclusively with Amazon, you might be missing out on sales both in the United States and worldwide. Following are three reasons NOT to have your ebook exclusive to Amazon:

  1. You are missing out on offering your book for sale in at least 28 countries.
  2. You are missing a potential 20% more sales for your book.
  3. You reduce the impact of external marketing and sales for your book as everyone does not purchase books via Amazon.

Don’t shortchange yourself. While it is easy to publish a book on Amazon, remember Amazon is not the only player in the ebook sales industry. If you want to sell more books, you need broader distribution. Make sure your ebooks are listed in Kobo and in the Apple store as well as in all the ebook retailers. You can do this by making your ebook available for distribution through one of the following ebook distributors:

If you have already published your ebook on Amazon, that’s okay. You can still use Smashwords or IngramSpark for broader distribution. Both services will respect your existing relationship with Amazon.

Don’t miss out on worldwide sales for your ebooks. Indie published ebook sales continue to grow. Your book sales will benefit from the exposure wider distribution brings.

Related Posts:
Promoting Your Books to English-Speaking Countries
Notable Data on Book Sales
Selling eBooks Worldwide

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Photo courtesy of Slava Bowman