Many tools exist to help create, publish, and sell an ebook — from producing the text to managing the sale.
Here is a list of tools to publish an ebook. There are tools to create and format ebooks, platforms to publish and distribute ebooks, and online retailers to sell ebooks. There are a variety of do-it-yourself tools, as well as customized services to develop your ebook quickly and professionally.
ePub Wiki. ePub is the official standard format by the International Digital Publish Forum. The format is used by publishers to use in-house, as well as for distribution and sale. In general, publishers will convert a Microsoft Word document in ePub for you. Price: Free.
Smashwords Style Guide. The Smashwords Style Guide has helped thousands of authors produce and publish high-quality ebooks. This free guide offers simple step-by-step instructions to create, format and publish an ebook. It’s required reading for any author who wants to distribute his or her book via Smashwords to major ebook retailers such as the Apple iBook store, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo, and Diesel. Price: Free.
Bowker ISBNs. An International Standard Book Number is a unique code assigned to every printed book published. The numbers are issued and managed by Bowker, though they are commonly provided by digital self-publishing platforms like Smashwords. ISBNs are not mandatory for ebooks. Price: 10 ISBNs for $350.
Kindle Direct Publishing Community Forum. This is the community forum for publishing your book on Kindle Direct Publishing. The Kindle forum is one of the most active with experienced authors and publishers. Price: Free.
Tools for Creating eBooks
Scrivener. Scrivener is a writing studio for structuring, writing, and formatting long documents. Scrivener provides all the tools you need to prepare your manuscript for submission or self-publishing. Price: $45.
Calibre. Calibre is a free and open source ebook library management application. It can convert to and from all the major ebook formats. Price: Free.
Sigil. Sigil is a free, open source WYSIWYG ebook editor. It is designed to edit books in ePub format. Price: Free.
iBooks Author. iBook Author is a free application that allows you to create ebooks for iPad. You can add galleries, video, interactive diagrams, 3D objects, interactive widgets and more to bring your ebook to life. Choose from a variety of templates and layouts, or create one of your own. iBooks will walk you through a step-by-step process to help you submit it to Apple’s iBook store. Price: Free.
PressBooks. PressBooks is an easy-to-use service to create and format an ebook. It features book design templates and customizable themes. PressBooks exports to PDF, ePub, and Mobi. PressBooks also has distribution partners to get your book sold through the major retailers. Price: Free to use with PressBooks watermark. $10 to remove watermark in ePub and Mobi exports. $200 for eBook full-service conversion.
Creatavist. Creatavist lets anyone seamlessly integrate text, audio, video, and interactive elements into ebooks, and then publish into an iPad or iPhone app, for Kindle and Nook readers, and for Web browsers (in HTML5). Its flagship publishing arm, The Atavist, features original pieces of long-form, nonfiction and journalism created on Creatavist. Price: Create, publish and export one project for free. Output unlimited ebook files for $10 per month.
Moglue. Moglue enables you to create an interactive book and publish it as an app. It features interactive actions for your readers such as drawing, magnetic puzzle action, user voice record, and actions triggered by a users specific coordinates. Price: License is $99/year for each user. Single app publishing is $199 for iOS and Android.
99Designs. Even if you format your book on your own, you’ll need to hire a professional to design your cover. 99designs is the world’s largest online graphic design marketplace and the pioneer of the design contest. Create a book cover content, receive dozens of designs, then pick your favorite. Price: Book covers start at $299.
eBook Publishers and Distributors
BookBaby. BookBaby is a publishing platform that can convert your files, provides custom book cover design, and submit your book to the major retailers. Supply a publish-ready ePub file, and BookBaby will distribute it to selected digital retailers. Get full access to the accounting dashboard reports and timely payments. Price: Plans start at $99, plus $19/year after first year.
Folium Book Studio. Folium Book Studio is a platform to take your manuscript to an ebook. Choose its DIY service for complete control over projects with tools, add-on services, and free training. Define the formatting of your text, create a cover or upload one from your computer, share a preview online, and export for ebook devices whenever you want. Get full concierge service to define the services you need and want, including unlimited edits. Price: Branded generic ePub is free. Standard plan for retail ePub & Mobi export is $40.
Lulu. Lulu is a publishing and distribution platform with DIY tools and add-on services. Convert to ePub and get a free ISBN. Upload a cover or choose the cover design add-on. Choose your own pricing. Lulu provides free distribution to the Apple iBook store, Barnes & Noble’s Nook Bookstore, and the Lulu Marketplace. Price: Lulu takes 10 percent of sales. Add-on services start at $99.
CreateSpace. CreateSpace, a division of Amazon, provides the tools and services that help you complete you book and make it available to millions of potential readers. Access do-it-yourself tools like Interior Reviewer, Cover Creator, and Image Gallery. Get the help you need with design, editing, and marketing services. Price: Start a title for free. Kindle conversion is $79. Editorial evaluation is $199.
Smashwords. Smashwords offers a fast and easy option for distributing an ebook to the world’s largest ebook retailers. Access free tools for marketing, distribution, metadata management, and sales reporting. Authors and publishers have complete control over the sampling, pricing, and marketing of their written works. Smashwords distributes books to most of the major retailers, including Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo and the Diesel eBook Store. Price: Sales originated by retailers earn authors 60 percent of the list price.
Additional Distribution Tools
EZBuyButton. The EZBuyButton widget gives your visitor the opportunity to purchase your book by first selecting the type of device they wish to read your book on. Once the widget has determined the type of device your visitor wishes to use, it gives them the choice of selecting an online retailer that supports that particular device that they’ve chosen. Price: Free.
Gumroad. Gumroad is a payment and delivery system that allows authors to sell ebooks (or any digital products) directly on their site. Upload the product and determine the price. Gumroad also provides conversion rates and analytics. Price: 5 percent + 25¢ per transaction.
SendOwl. SendOwl is a tool that allows you to sell your digital goods from your own website, blog, or social media pages. It features analytics and sales management tools. Price: Plans start at $9 per month.
FetchApp. FetchApp is an easy way to sell eBooks or other digital goods. It seamlessly integrates with popular shopping carts and payment systems like Shopify, Bigcommerce, Goodsie, Google Checkout, and PayPal. There is no commission on sales; plans are priced by monthly storage. Price: 1 MB per month is free. Premium plans start at $5 per month for 25 MB.
Apple iBook store. The Apple iBook store lists over 2 million books. Apple does not pay publishers until they meet payment requirements and earning thresholds, which vary by territory. Small publishers may get paid faster using an ebook aggregator. Price: Royalty rate is 70 percent.
Kindle Direct Publishing. Publish your books independently with Kindle Direct Publishing on the Amazon Kindle Store. Access a wide range of resources to prepare your ebook, such as formatting, conversion, and translation resources. Price: Royalty rates are 70 percent for titles priced between $2.99 and $9.99. For other prices, the royalty rate is 35 percent.
NOOK Press. NOOK Press is an online, self-publishing portal where independent publishers and authors can find everything they need to publish their ebooks directly to Barnes & Noble’s NOOK books. Price: Royalty rates are 65 percent for titles priced between $2.99 and $9.99. For other prices, the royalty rate is 40 percent.
Kobo. Kobo has over 3.5 million ebooks. Upload your book, and choose where you’re going to sell it. Set your price and hit publish. If you don’t have an ePub file, Kobo will automatically reformat your document for free. Price: Contact for pricing.