How to Sell Ebooks on Your Own Website
It’s not a huge surprise that eBooks are becoming more popular than traditional paper books.
They’re cheaper to buy and convenient to carry around since you can download them on your phone. This contributes a lot to their popularity among readers. Writers like eBooks because the market allows them to bypass agents and publishing houses and earn more money.
That’s why 50% of eBook sales come from self-published authors. In this guide, we’ll show you how you can get in on the action and how to sell books on your own website.
Here’s what we’ll discuss:
- The benefits of selling eBooks directly through your own website
- Explain in detail how to set up a store on your website and start selling
- How to price, protect, and market your eBooks for maximum profit.
Without further ado, let’s start…
The Benefits of Selling eBooks on Your Website
Working on an eBook takes a lot of effort. If no one notices the book, all of that effort will go to waste. That’s why learning how to sell eBooks on your website makes financial sense.
Here are the main reasons why:
- You look more professional: There are literally thousands and thousands of authors pushing their books online. Set yourself apart by creating a professional website.
- It will promote your brand: Whether you know it or not, every one of us has a personal brand. A website that explains your story and hosts your content can only do good for your brand.
- Your profit will be higher: If you get everything right, you have a chance to make a good amount of money selling your work through your website.
- It offers more flexibility: Selling eBooks on your own website lets you set the rules, control the branding, and customize everything as you see fit.
- You’ll get paid instantly: Many marketplaces will have systems in place that delay your payments, which you can circumvent by selling from your own site.
Should You Sell eBooks on Your Own Website or Sell Them on Amazon?
We’ve just listed five great benefits of running your own site. But what about selling eBooks on Amazon? Surely, they have a much wider reach than you’ll have on your own?
Indeed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do both.
Amazon will take a cut from your earnings in exchange for letting you sell on its widely-known platform. That’s not a bad deal, but there’s also no exclusivity clause.
That’s why we’d still recommend that you don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
How to Price Your eBooks
Now to the fun part: pricing your eBooks. The reason we mentioned Amazon just a minute ago is that selling on their marketplace will affect your profit margins, and hence the price.
Marketplaces will take anywhere from 30-70% of your retail price.
Amazon has been nice enough to create an app to help you price your books: KDP Pricing Support. But to make a long story short, your best bet is to price your eBooks between $2.99 and $9.99 for maximum revenue.
How to Sell eBooks on Your Own Website
We’re finally ready to talk about how to sell eBooks on your own website. While the whole ordeal might sound complicated, all you need to do is master the following four steps. Then you’ll be able to author and sell your first book in no time.
1. Set Up Your Payhip Account
You just need to go to the Payhip homepage, enter your email, and create a free account. From there, you can easily find a way to integrate the platform with your website. And don’t worry, whether you’re using Squarespace or WordPress, Payhip has you covered.
2. Upload Your eBook and Other Digital Files
Once your account is active, you can start adding digital products to your website. Go to your Payhip dashboard first. There, you’ll find an “Add New” button in the “Your Products” section. When you click on that, you need to select “Add Digital Products.”
This will lead you to a new page, where you can see several fields.
When you see the “Upload product file” button, click on it. Select your book – or books if you’ve written multiple ones at this point – and upload them. There is a generous 5 GB limit which is more than enough for any ebook.
You may want to consider the formats of your eBooks.
The most common formats are PDF, EPUB, and MOBI. The latter two formats are specifically designed for mobile devices, and you should read about some of the pros and cons of them before you decide.
That said, you’re always welcome to upload them in all three formats to give your readers the choice.
3. Connect Your Payment Methods
Once your ebooks have been uploaded to your Payhip store, it’s time to sort out your payment. You have the option of adding two of the most widely used payment methods. Let’s look at how to sell eBooks online with PayPal and Stripe.
Head back to the dashboard and do the following:
- Select “Account”
- Choose “Settings”
- Click on “Payment Details”
4. Embed Payhip Into Your Website
Go to the “Products” section on Payhip.com. Find your book, select the “Share/Embed” option. Once the modal appears, click on the “Embed Button” tab. There, customize the type, color, and text of the button.
You can also choose between two options:
- Direct Purchase Button: Directs your buyer straight to the checkout
- Add to Cart Button: Add your book to your buyer’s cart
Using embedded buttons, you can make the purchase process much easier for your customers.
Just look at Cherie Tu, the founder of Thriving On Plants. Using Payhip embedded buttons, she created a perfect landing page for her eBook. She placed the button after an attention-grabbing copy, which explains what her book is all about and motivates her readers to make a purchase.
Need another example? Check out this nice and clean Payhip integration by James Colgan. It easily connects his sales page to his website without sacrificing any branding.
If you want to make it even more subtle, then a simple link will do.
Head over to this writing blog created by Ali Ventures. Scroll down and click on “Buy Get Writing” or “Buy All Six Seminars” to see link integration in action. Similarly, Dr. Axel Rauschmayer has included a simple link to his Payhip store in the green boxes of his landing page.
For extra points, you can create a custom “Thank You” page. To do that, go back to “Advanced Settings” and find “Checkout Settings.” Add a link to redirect them to… and you’re done!
How to Protect Your eBooks With a Download Limit
Your business plan is to sell as many ebooks as possible and earn money in the process. But you need to protect your book from being shared around — that doesn’t make you any money.
Fortunately, you can do this by limiting the number of times a single customer can download your book. Payhip automatically limits the number of downloads to five — but you can change it if you want.
Here’s how to do it in five easy steps:
- Go to your Payhip account
- Click on “Settings”
- Go to “Advanced Settings”
- Find the “Download Limit” option
- Enter the new download limit
How to Market Your eBooks to Boost Sales
Before we wrap up, it’s important to stress the importance of marketing your eBook. This is absolutely essential if you sell eBooks from your own website without taking advantage of marketplaces.
Here are some tips on how to promote your eBook online:
- Create an accompanying blog about the themes in your books.
- Set up a pre-launch landing page to collect email addresses.
- Launch an email marketing campaign to nurture your mailing list.
- Run paid ads to promote your eBook on Facebook and other social media.
- Gather as many positive reviews of your eBook for added social proof.
Further reading: Check out our article on How to Automate Social Media to Sell eBooks to learn more.
Now that you know how to sell eBooks on your own website, all there’s left is to do it. Of course, it’ll take some time to learn every trick of the trade. But once you get the basics down, you’ll be fine.
Just to recap, here’s what you need to know:
- Play both horses by selling your eBooks on your own sites as well as on marketplaces.
- Price your books according to the place you sell them for maximum profits.
- Use the Payhip platform to make the sales process easier for you and your customers
Ready to get started? Visit Payhip, create a free account, and start selling right now.