How to Sell Magazines & eBooks


As more people master publication design programs, they are venturing into the publishing field of magazines and eBooks. But the challenge they face is how to bring these publications into the market place. Ultimate success depends on quality design and compelling writing. There are steps, however, you can take to make a magazine or an eBook available for sale.

  • Target your market. If your magazine or eBook is meant for a niche market, attempting to sell it through Amazon or Barnes & Noble may be too broad a reach, and its requirements for electronic publications too restrictive, for too little return. If you can reach your market directly through emails and newsletters, do so.

  • Choose a format for electronic sales. Converting your design to a PDF format is the easiest step and most readable. To be readily accepted by online bookstores as of 2009, do not include multimedia components in the file, though eBook publishers continue to push the capabilities of eBook readers. For Amazon, PDF files need to be converted to the Kindle format. There are more choices of format for electronic magazines that allow multimedia content viewable on computers, but not on eBook readers.

  • Sell your eBook and magazines from your own website. If your eBook is available from a major bookseller, you can link to your eBook from your website as an affiliate. Your other option is to work with an online seller such as e-Junkie to store your files for your eBook or eMagazine and provide the means for a buyer to download them after sale. The online seller service will provide coding for purchase buttons to place on your site.

  • Set up an electronic payment method on your website for magazines and eBooks you sell directly. PayPal is a readily accepted payment service that allows online payments with credit cards, but other services are available, including credit card payment arrangements directly from your bank. If you use an affiliate link to a bookstore, you'll automatically receive a commission for each work sold via the link.

  • Contract with distributors to get your magazine on major bookstore shelves. Bookstores only accept publications available through a major distributor, mainly Ingram Periodicals or Source Interlink. Even then, the magazines have to be accepted by the bookstore corporate office. Local managers usually do not make the decisions on magazines accepted for sale.

Tips & Warnings

  • Contracting with a distributor is no assurance that a magazine will be picked up by a major bookstore chain. Independent bookstores may be more approachable, particularly for regional or special interests magazines. For eBooks, market and technology is constantly changing. The most advanced eBooks with multimedia capabilities are not carried by chain bookstores with their own specialized reader hardware. But they are readable on laptop and desk computers. Marketing is key for any eBook or publication sales, and there's no easy step-by-step way to succeed. It just takes hard work to bring the publication before the public's attention.


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