Chris A. Baird | November 9, 2020
Is Self-Publishing Books Through Amazon A Good Idea?

If you are looking for places where you can publish your books online, then this article will help you decide. Find out whether or not self-publishing books through Amazon is the right one for you.

My Books On KDP

Today's question has three answers and you are going to want to stick around because the third answer is going to tell you why this whole Amazon issue is the wrong question in the first place.

So, let's get into it. The question that was sent to me today was, is self-publishing books through Amazon a good idea? The person who asked this question is wondering for a whole series of reasons.

You might be wondering if you are going to make more money on Amazon. Or maybe Amazon's a terrible location to put your books on, the royalties that they take too much of a percent.

But there's another reason that some people wonder a little bit it's because Amazon has been accused of being a monopoly. Having too much control over the sale of books. Major traditional publishers have found it difficult to compete with what is going on on Amazon.

Where they control the prices and they control the distribution channels. That makes it difficult. So from an ethical standpoint, there can be a little bit of hesitation of wondering maybe you shouldn't be going with Amazon in the first place.

This is just a little bit of what I'm hoping that we will be able to answer today. But before we get into the answers, check out my absolutely free Self-Publishing Checklist to help you get started with your self-publishing. And make sure you are not making the mistakes that the majority of self-publishers make.

So, let's get into it, supporting a monopoly. Well, when I first got started with self-publishing, I wanted to get as many sales as possible. I wasn't really worried about who I was pushing my books through to but that they were making sales.

I chose personally to go with Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing or Amazon KDP. When I first got started publishing and I started putting my books out onto the market, my very first ones and I wasn't seeing that many sales.

Check out this related article: How To Start Self Publishing Through Kindle?

The other thing I found that was a problem with Amazon and it's a bit of a secret that it's true with everybody else. It's that it can be confusing to what to do with those royalties that are coming in. You're getting tax forms and all sorts of stuff that's very confusing.

Then, you start wondering, is the government going to start coming after me? Am I paying the right taxes? All of the rules and forms make things very very complicated.

This is especially true with Amazon and this is one of the downsides of self-publishing books through Amazon. It is that for all of the different regions they don't just pull the money together, take out whatever and then send you the money.

They rather send you individual little payments from a few dollars from Mexico or from this area or that area. Japan sends you 10 cents.

These sorts of things create a lot of confusion about how are we supposed to handle all of this information. That can make it very difficult that maybe it's not worth going with Amazon. It may be better to go with something a little bit simpler.

Hiring An Accountant

But then an expert guide came and pointed out that I completely misunderstood how the game is to be played. When the money is really low in most countries, the taxes aren't kicking in at that point. But once the money starts to go up, you now have the resources to hire an accountant.

What you want to do is you want to find an accountant who can do online accounting. You don't have to meet with the person and all this sort of stuff. You want to find somebody who's got a good reputation that other freelancers and such are going to.

They should say that they understand the Amazon business and how this taxing works. So that all of the covering of all the expenses and you gathering all of the receipts that they can put it into the book.

When they are doing that and following it all up on your balance sheet and such, that it's able to easily report to the tax authorities. To make sure that you don't have a problem at the end of the year. I took their advice and I did exactly that.

My accountants were also able to help correct some of the problems that I was having with the accounting. Because I'm not an accounting expert and so I was dependent upon them to also help me out. When it came to the whole accounting and what is the best practices for the following up.

As well as which receipts I need and what is too much tracking versus too little. How I can most easily do this based upon the bank accounts where the money is coming into. Even these restrictions have gotten higher because of whitewashing that's been going on globally.

So, it makes it a lot harder than the counting has to be perfect. But even if it's not exactly perfect, generally, you are not going to have a problem. They understand most people don't follow it exactly right.

Check out this related article: Self Publishing With Kindle?

If you have an accountant, you are already going to be ahead to make sure that you are doing it right. I have never had any problems with different tax authorities in Norway or the United States because I report and I pay my taxes.

I pay my fair share concerning the taxes that are due on the royalties that I earn. I use my accountants to make sure that it's all perfect. So there will not be a need to audit me or anything like that because I will have the stuff that's in place.

The final thing is that what I discovered was then I could expand into additional air markets, additional websites that would do the distribution to make even more money. Then I have the accountants to do that.

I should say that on this monopoly front, I didn't allow it to get into my head too much. The reason for that is because I began to realize that when you're getting started, you can't change the whole planet.

You have available options and those distribution channels like Amazon have so many customers that are there. The customers sort of define where you are going. If you are making billions of dollars through your self-publishing, then maybe you should consider going with a different distributor.

If it matters that much to you but ultimately it's the consumers who are going to determine that. And you simply, by having your little storefront on Amazon is not going to change much of anything. So if your book or two are placed out there, it's not going to tip Amazon one way or the other.

We have to realize that consumers like to go to the places where the best deals are. So if you have one website that's giving insanely good deals compared to everybody else like with Amazon Prime and all of these other things, then it's difficult for everybody to compete with them.

Amazon Is The Biggest

I don't know if I would call it monopolistic practices. I would just say they have created a huge opportunity for small business owners to expand their reach. Simply by using the existing website and the amazing platform that they have built regardless of whether you like Amazon itself or not.

That's something you need to think about. So, when you are feeling bad about going with Amazon, I would suggest taking a step back. You will realize that it's not going to make that much of a difference for them one way or the other what you do with them.

But it's not unethical to go with them, go with a big guy maybe when somebody else takes over. Let's say Google Books were to be bigger than them, then going with Google Books will not be a problem. So we don't have to feel conscientious about that particular aspect of it.

So, is self-publishing books through Amazon a good idea? The first answer is yes, they are the biggest. There is nobody bigger than they are.

They are easy to publish if you break the steps down. I found overwhelming at the beginning and the pain associated with that. I don't know if you do, you should let me know.

But otherwise, I did feel that but then I realized the other sites are even more complicated in terms of the whole process. Amazon is the winner there, it costs nothing to put your books onto Amazon. So you should definitely think about that.

They supply the ISBNs and all these other codes and things that you don't even have to think about. It's automatically done for you so this is something that should be part of your decision-making process when you're putting your videos or books onto Amazon.

The next is as I mentioned earlier, they have the largest customer base. So that you are not going to be losing sales just because you went with Amazon or went with some smaller distributor who nobody has heard of. Amazon at a minimum is the important part.

But let's get to the secret answer you've been sticking around for. It is that you will leave a ton of money on the table if you stop with just Amazon. So that is why "Is self-publishing books through Amazon a good idea?" is a bad question.

Of course, Amazon is a good idea but you should not stop with them because you should be putting out your eBooks through Smashwords which gets an even bigger distribution channel. You can go with Ingram Spark both for their paperbacks and also their eBooks.

If you have a way of getting cheap ISBNs, it would be Lulu for your hardbacks. You get free ISBNs there and you only have to pay for a proof copy if you wish to get your hardback books through Lulu.

Check out this related article: Self Publishing Lulu VS Amazon?

So that's a little bit of the constellation of distribution outlets that I would be doing for. I hope that clarified a little bit about the question, is self-publishing books through Amazon a good idea?

Well, tell me, have you hesitated about going with Amazon? If you found it difficult and you have hesitated a little bit, write the word "Yes" below in the comments. And if it's been easy from the beginning you knew Amazon was going to be right for you and it was right for you, write the word "No" down in the comments.

I really want to hear it. I need to know from you your input on this one. Check out my other blogs and videos for more answers to your self-publishing questions.

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