Aggregators and Self Publishing Distribution Platforms strategy

What To Know About Self Publishing Aggregators & Self Publishing Distributors

You’ve published your book, but how do you get it out for public consumption? This is where self publishing aggregators and self publishing distribution platforms come into play. If you’re scratching your head and going huh, don’t worry. I’m going to break it down and walk you through step-by-step, including how to weigh your options.

Learning the Lingo: Self Publishing Aggregators

First off, let’s start with definitions. Self publishing aggregators work to bridge the gap between authors and online retailers. Basically, they act as intermediaries between authors, libraries and all the different self-publishing distribution platforms.

What’s also nice about self publishing aggregators is they serve as a one-stop shop for you. Instead of you attempting to load your book individually to all of the vendor platforms, you can load it once to your aggregator. Many will even offer you a full dashboard to see all of the stores and places your book is available. They also display monthly sales reports, promotional options and more.

So who are some of these self publishing aggregators? You may recognize some of the biggest names like IngramSpark, Draft2Digital, and PublishDrive. I’ll get into some more detail below about the differences between them. 

Learning the Lingo: Self Publishing Distribution Platforms

Now for self publishing distribution platforms. These are the actual stores or vendors who are getting your book into the hands of readers. Some of the names you will probably recognize are Amazon KDP, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iBooks, etc.

It might feel obvious to try and get your book into as many places as possible. But before you choose an aggregator, make sure you strategize depending on your individual goals and target audience. 

For instance, if you write children’s books your priority is going to be getting into school libraries and places where parents shop. You also might focus less on ebook distribution and more on print distribution.

Romance authors however, might be okay skipping this step entirely and putting their books exclusively in Kindle Unlimited where voracious readers will devour them and go from one romance book to the next and the authors get paid by the page read.

Genres are different. Target age and readership are different. These factors should all play into your decisions and distribution needs.

Aggregators and Self Publishing Distribution Platforms Strategy

So, how do you find and determine these factors? Research. Look for data and statistics. For instance, Pew Research shows that the average American reads five books a year. This number increases as adults grow older. Good to know for authors targeting older adult readers. Cozy mysteries, romances, spy novels, etc. 

However, it would also be important to note that older readers are NOT the ones buying ebooks. The same Pew Research shows that as of 2023- 75% of ebooks were bought by readers ages 18-45. This is the same age group that is buying audiobooks. So if you’re writing for the 18-45 year old demographic you definitely want to make sure you’re getting your book into ebook and audiobook distribution. But if you’re targeting those older adult readers, focus on print distribution and libraries.

Comparing Your Options

With this information in mind, it’s time to look at these aggregators and determine their strengths and how to best use them. Ingramspark, for instance, is best for print distribution. But they’re not the best resource for ebook or audiobook distribution. Draft2Digital is an excellent ebook and audiobook distributor, but they’re just getting started and have limited print distribution. That’s where it might be best to use a combo of aggregators. I, for instance, use both Ingramspark and Draft2Digital to fulfill my needs.

If you’re targeting a demographic that might have voracious ebook or audiobook readers, you may want to look into an aggregator that distributes to subscription platforms. For instance, StreetLib and PublishDrive distribute to Bookmate and Scribd. If you’re not familiar with these platforms, see my blog post discussing ebook subscription services from last week.

All in all, there is some research to be done to best strategize your needs, but the tools are out there to help set you up for success. And luckily, once you decide, all that is necessary is uploading and pressing a button! 

If you have further questions about any of this, or just want to discuss the best strategy for you, feel free to reach out or ask questions below in the comments. Happy Publishing!

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2 thoughts on “What To Know About Self Publishing Aggregators & Self Publishing Distributors

  1. This is very insightful however you have got be thinking about the different authors out there and how can they choose the best platform that pays . Which can also bring to question which publish platform gives the best services and also pays very well.Some might want to go with amazon as it is a popular platform,but I also believe that there is a downside to every platform. What do you think about Amazon being the best publishing plateform

  2. Royalty rates are important, however, looking at just the royalty rates and what pays the best will not necessarily help if you’re targeting the wrong readers. I apologize in not mentioning Amazon here, but that is because I would not upload to Amazon though an aggregator. For Amazon, you need to upload to them directly. If you upload to Amazon through an aggregator- you’d get a reduced royalty rate. That is the only platform I would upload to directly though. The rest upload and distribute through an aggregator.

    Amazon does have both merits and downfalls. I do still get the bulk of my sales through Amazon. So as much as I might dislike their treatment of authors and their not so great customer service, I don’t think an author can survive by bypassing them entirely. Readers shop on Amazon. Libraries and schools even order from Amazon. And they do pay a 70% royalty rate. With that being said, I, personally, feel uncomfortable being entirely reliant on Amazon.

    Ordering print books through them has been very unpredictable. There is just no quality control. I had a festival and put in a bulk order and was left in a pinch when an unusable box arrived.The books were ripped and many had what looked like tire track marks across the front. I’m also still in a back and forth battle to get my royalty payments from the UK. Amazon insists they disperse them, but they never make it into my account. I’ve been back and forth between the bank and Amazon and it’s been a nightmare. No other payments from any other distributor has not made it into my account which leads me to believe it’s an Amazon glitch. Altogether, I felt it’s better to go wide to cover my bases and use aggregators to distribute elsewhere as well. But each author must make their own choice.

    And yes, part of the research you need to do is deciding the best royalty rate/ upfront payment for uploading what works best for you as you choose your aggregator. There is a definite pro and con list that needs to be made. I hope this helps answer your question. Please feel free to ask more.

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