Before we get too deep into answering this question, know upfront this is like asking a mother of three which child is her favorite. Each platform comes with unique benefits and drawbacks. Digital publishing is a huge all-encompassing world of everything from e-books and Kindle to video and teleseminars. For the purposes of this article’s length and my own personal expertise, we’ll stay focused on e-book publishing. There are three primary platforms to publish an e-book: Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes and Noble’s Nook and Apple’s iBooks (iPad).
Kindle is the granddaddy (though still quite young to be a grandpap) of e-bookdom. To this day, the Kindle Store still holds the record for e-book sales—67% of the e-book buying market. While this number has fallen to Nook over the past couple of years (it was closer to 99%), it’s still a good chunk of the market share. And with Nook’s future being one huge question mark, Kindle still dominates the market.
When Amazon came out with the Kindle, it did a lot of things right:
- Kept readers affordable—Kindle reader devices actually cost more to make than their sale prices. Amazon is willing to accept the loss due to their ingenious in-tablet purchasing from the Kindle Store.
- In-tablet purchasing—If you’ve ever downloaded a Kindle book from your Kindle reader, you know how freaking easy they make it to purchase. From the time you search for a title (or just browse), to clicking the “Buy” button, less than 30 seconds will pass before that book is loaded on your personal reader to enjoy. It satisfies the instant gratification humanity craves, and Kindle has tapped into that craving to result in selling more e-books.
- Free Samples—Besides the brilliant “Look Inside” the book feature on Amazon.com, Amazon also allows you to download a sample (usually the first chapter or so) of an e-book. Then once you’re hooked on reading that e-book there’s a convenient “Buy” button at the end of the sample. It’s really hard to not push that button, which will immediately download the rest of the book to the Kindle and charge the credit card Amazon has on file.
- KDP Free Promotions—As part of their 90-day exclusive agreement for Kindle authors, Amazon allows you to choose five out of those 90 days to give your e-book away for free. This can generate a lot of buzz and add a bump to your sales after the free promotion is over.
- Kindle Lending Library—Another brilliant move, Amazon created Amazon Prime, an annual membership gadget junkies like me are addicted to for the free two-day shipping. As an added bonus, Prime members can download any single Kindle title that’s listed in the Kindle Lending Library (part of KDP exclusivity) to read—one per month.
Where to Publish?
If your book is primarily for lead-generation, a big business card, or a simple repurposed e-book, stick to Amazon’s Kindle. It will give you the most bang for your buck, and its free account setup and easy promotion tools make it a no-brainer. Also contrary to popular belief, Kindle books are readable on any other device, including iPad, iPhone, Nook, PC and Mac with the Kindle Reader app.
When in doubt, test your e-book first on Kindle. Play with the pricing, the cover design and the content. Once you’re happy with the sales you’re getting, and if your audience is asking for it on other platforms, expand to Nook and iBooks.
Do you have a positive or negative experience with the Kindle platform? Share your story in the comments below!