Author Topic: Selling ebooks directly from your own website  (Read 2658 times)  

Offline starkllr

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Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« on: June 13, 2018, 07:24:51 AM »
Is anyone doing this?  And if so, how?

I mean in the practical sense - what are you using as a storefront, and how are you actually fulfilling the books to customers?

 
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Offline The Bass Bagwhan

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2018, 07:44:40 AM »
It seems like a good idea, given effective marketing, but the reason this isn't a more common approach - aside from questions of marketing and a secure mechanism for paying for any books -  is the problem of what's called "side-loading" your books into a Kindle device or Kindle software. Today, someone can choose a book on Amazon and with one click it will be downloaded onto their preferred reading device.

The process for downloading even an ePub or Mobi file directly into a Kindle (for example) directly from your website is convoluted and simply too hard for your everyday user. It's not a big deal, but it's not one click either. That's the challenge.

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Offline Doglover

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2018, 07:53:30 AM »
There is Payhip which will collect the money and release the e-book, but I agree with the other poster that this is not straightforward. I already have new subscribers who can't seem to to just click on the link to confirm but send me emails saying yes, they agree. How much harder would it be for them to download a book?

I've even had people asking me to send my books directly to their kindle, without any idea of what their kindle's email address might be. Paperbacks are much easier to sell direct, but of course, much more expensive.


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Offline VanessaC

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2018, 08:08:54 AM »
I haven't tried this but was watching the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing podcast recently and they had Damon from Book Funnel on talking about this very matter (among other things) - Book Funnel will fulfil e-books and, I think, other products, too - may be worth looking out the podcast (on the SFF website or youtube / other podcast app) or checking out Book Funnel's website as they have blog posts on this discussing the various options you can use for payments / taxes. 

Offline Gessert Books

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2018, 08:12:25 AM »
If you use kindlegen or Kindle Previewer to generate your MOBI files, then selling those MOBI files outside of Amazon is a violation of the EULA for that software. You can give them away for free, but not sell them.

Offline Bards and Sages (Julie)

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2018, 09:14:16 AM »
The process for downloading even an ePub or Mobi file directly into a Kindle (for example) directly from your website is convoluted and simply too hard for your everyday user. It's not a big deal, but it's not one click either. That's the challenge.

More importantly, the average consumer is becoming less adventurous regarding where they buy.  The average consumer doesn't want to go to AuthorSiteA to buy one book, AuthorsiteB to buy another, and then AuthorsiteC to buy a third. They want to be able to get everything they want in the fewest places possible. 

There is also the issue of workload. Modern consumers expect customer service. What happens when someone buys directly from you and then has a problem with the file? But you are on vacation and it is a week later that you see their email? Or, heck, a DAY later and they are meanwhile freaking out all over social media that you aren't answering their emails and they paid for a book they can't read? Direct selling on your website requires a secure infrastructure to both process payments and deliver files. It requires some sort of customer service to deal with consumers. It requires being prepared to adhere to the tax laws of a lot of different areas. The question becomes are you going to sell ENOUGH ebooks directly to justify all of the extra up front costs and time it takes to do it?

In most cases, the answer is going to be a big, fat "no."

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Offline Simon Haynes

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2018, 09:17:28 AM »
I wrote a storefront using php, with a paypal shopping cart. It all worked fine, but in Feb I went into Select so I took the store down. Now I'm out of select I haven't put it back up yet.

The best part was the 98% royalty, after Paypal fees.


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Offline BookFunnel (Julie)

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2018, 01:14:42 PM »
Hey, everyone! Julie from BookFunnel here, and I just wanted to chime in on how BookFunnel helps with this and, more generally, about selling direct. Short answer: you should give it a try. We're doing a whole blog series about selling and exclusive content over at:

https://blog.bookfunnel.com/2017/not-sold-in-stores-intro/

BookFunnel launched Sales Delivery Actions last fall that covers a lot of the issues mentioned here. You can use one of the existing sales platforms we integrate with (Payhip, Selz, PayPal, Shopify, and WooCommerce) to handle the store and all the money details, and BookFunnel will handle the delivery. If your readers have trouble, our support is there 365 days a year (yes, even on Christmas) to help readers "side load" their book onto their device.

You certainly don't have to use BookFunnel, but if you already have an account with us, you should give it a try (and, if you don't have an account, you can sign up for $20 a year). There are no extra fees, and BookFunnel doesn't take a cut of any of the sales. We just handle the delivery and all the support headaches. :)

And, to the question of whether readers are willing to go through all this, our CEO thought the same thing as others have said here. Namely that readers won't do it, it's too much trouble, they don't care, etc... He has since been proven very wrong. I just checked our numbers for delivery actions, and since launching back at the end of September, we have delivered over 18,000 books sold from authors' websites. Most through special offers, exclusive content or discounts, boxsets, and just plain appeals to readers. Readers love their favorite authors, and they want to support them.

We're happy to answer any questions about direct sales, even if you don't have a BookFunnel account. Just drop us a line at support@bookfunnel.com!

Offline TwistedTales

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2018, 01:33:21 PM »
Hey, everyone! Julie from BookFunnel here, and I just wanted to chime in on how BookFunnel helps with this and, more generally, about selling direct. Short answer: you should give it a try. We're doing a whole blog series about selling and exclusive content over at:

https://blog.bookfunnel.com/2017/not-sold-in-stores-intro/

BookFunnel launched Sales Delivery Actions last fall that covers a lot of the issues mentioned here. You can use one of the existing sales platforms we integrate with (Payhip, Selz, PayPal, Shopify, and WooCommerce) to handle the store and all the money details, and BookFunnel will handle the delivery. If your readers have trouble, our support is there 365 days a year (yes, even on Christmas) to help readers "side load" their book onto their device.

You certainly don't have to use BookFunnel, but if you already have an account with us, you should give it a try (and, if you don't have an account, you can sign up for $20 a year). There are no extra fees, and BookFunnel doesn't take a cut of any of the sales. We just handle the delivery and all the support headaches. :)

And, to the question of whether readers are willing to go through all this, our CEO thought the same thing as others have said here. Namely that readers won't do it, it's too much trouble, they don't care, etc... He has since been proven very wrong. I just checked our numbers for delivery actions, and since launching back at the end of September, we have delivered over 18,000 books sold from authors' websites. Most through special offers, exclusive content or discounts, boxsets, and just plain appeals to readers. Readers love their favorite authors, and they want to support them.

We're happy to answer any questions about direct sales, even if you don't have a BookFunnel account. Just drop us a line at support@bookfunnel.com!

We've set up bookfunnel and payhip for direct selling and so far it's working well. The only issue we have is payhip also send a copy of the book when we only want it sent by bookfunnel. If you know how to stop payhip from doing that I'd be interested to learn.

Our next campaign runs aren't happening until September and we have all platforms including direct sales available through our website. For direct sales we can comfortably offer a 20 - 25% discount code and still make close to what we would selling through other platforms. When we sell direct we know who the buyer is, which means we can offer additional benefits like members only stories, discounts and freebies. There are so many potential advantages to selling direct that it's not an option I would write off lightly.

I expect September will be the first of many trials we'll run around direct selling while we learn how to do it right. Bookfunnel and payhip have certainly provided an easy to set up and use option, so thanks for your support. Some of us out here are quite impressed.

Offline Bards and Sages (Julie)

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2018, 01:45:41 PM »
I just checked our numbers for delivery actions, and since launching back at the end of September, we have delivered over 18,000 books sold from authors' websites. Most through special offers, exclusive content or discounts, boxsets, and just plain appeals to readers. Readers love their favorite authors, and they want to support them.

The question is not: Can I convince my dedicated fans to buy my book on sale directly from me?

The question is: Can I actually generate NEW BUSINESS selling directly from my site or increase my per sale revenue enough to justify the expense, time, and resources involved?

OF COURSE some people are capable of doing this. Just like some people are capable of hitting the bestseller list with every book.

18,000 sounds impressive, but if that is since last September, that works out to 2,000 sales a month. Across how many author accounts? In reality, is this a case of ten authors selling 200 books each (which merely means a handful of authors have successfully figured it out) or 2,000 authors selling one each (which means the amount of effort involved to get that one sale is excessive.)

The fact that you handle the customer service aspect makes the possibility of selling directly on site easier. And I am certainly not in the "don't ever do it" camp. But folks need to be very careful when they start direct selling, because you open a whole lot of doors that you may not be able to close. Particularly when it comes to taxes. Folks outside the U.S. in particular have to deal with things like VAT (which still makes my head hurt whenever I read about it). And even in some U.S. states, direct selling out of your home, whether digital or physical products, can cause certain issues depending on municipal laws (assuming, of course, you are selling above board and following the law and not doing a "How will they ever know? thing."

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Offline Al Stevens

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2018, 03:02:23 PM »
I did a lot of selling from my websites in the old days, mostly software for musicians, which did not include side-loading issues. The sales were relatively successful given that the market was a niche. Problems arose mostly with fulfillment and support. You sell a product, you have to deliver it, then  you have to support it. That's not always as easy as it might seem.

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2018, 04:24:10 PM »
Yup.

I sold almost $2000 worth since January, which kinda peanuts compared to the rest, but they're very good peanuts and I see potential. This includes both ebooks and premade covers, but the bulk comes from ebook sales.

I have it set up with Bookfunnel and it works quite well. There are a few things to watch out for. Educating your readers about the process helps a lot. If they already get your free series starters from Bookfunnel, that removes a barrier.

If you have a big mailing list, it's definitely worth doing, because people like to support authors.

Offline Rose Andrews

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2018, 07:36:09 PM »
What about taxes for something like this? I've been considering it lately but the taxes thing has been holding me up.

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Offline Abderian

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2018, 10:10:25 PM »
What about taxes for something like this? I've been considering it lately but the taxes thing has been holding me up.

Payhip takes care of the taxes for you. Don't know about other sites.

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Offline Rose Andrews

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2018, 11:21:00 PM »
Payhip takes care of the taxes for you. Don't know about other sites.
Awesome. Thank you for this information.

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Offline notjohn

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2018, 03:33:12 AM »
I've been on the web since 1993, and I agree that it's much harder to sell anything now. I was hugely excited by Payhip a year or so ago and set up PDF, Kindle, and epub versions of two books. Never sold one! Not one.

I do sell the occasional paperback or hardcover off my websites, but again, not nearly as many as ten or twenty years ago. In the 1990s people really needed gatekeepers on the web; but there's no need of us now. With Amazon accounting for 50 percent of US online sales, who needs to go anywhere else?



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Offline TwistedTales

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #16 on: June 14, 2018, 03:56:53 AM »
I've been on the web since 1993, and I agree that it's much harder to sell anything now. I was hugely excited by Payhip a year or so ago and set up PDF, Kindle, and epub versions of two books. Never sold one! Not one.

I do sell the occasional paperback or hardcover off my websites, but again, not nearly as many as ten or twenty years ago. In the 1990s people really needed gatekeepers on the web; but there's no need of us now. With Amazon accounting for 50 percent of US online sales, who needs to go anywhere else?

I think selling direct is about using the right marketing tools to find your target audience. You're also changing the profile of your target audience, and they'll need to be people willing to buy direct for permanent discounts (done using discount codes) and additional benefits like free books, stories not available elsewhere, etc. The Patreon model offers that sort of members benefits approach and some of that could be adapted for direct.

What I don't think will always work is just making the direct buying facility available. Sure, if you have a massive following then you can probably sell any way you want, otherwise you'll need a more structured approach, which is around the target profiling, marketing tactics, and sweeteners like permanent discounting, etc.

At this stage of the online sales game, I doubt direct will be a large percentage of sales for many, but successful book selling (outside of the KU ecosystem) is about incrementals. Every platform adds a percentage of sales, which in total is a respectable number and direct is just an additional sales channel. Over time, the percentages shift, so Amazon can start as 80% of total sales and (in my experience) erode to 20% as your reputation grows on the other platforms. Direct could easily go the same way by starting as 5% and growing over time to being much higher. I suspect it's a question of how well you promote direct as to what percentage of your sales it could become over time.


Offline scott.marmorstein

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #17 on: June 14, 2018, 04:17:38 AM »
I think about this in this way:

Would you go to one of your favorite author's websites (indie, or trad), like a Hugh Howey, or a Dean Koontz and try and buy directly from their website?

Or would it just be easier to click a link to iBooks, Amazon, B&N or Kobo because that's where your ereader of choice happens to be connected?

Let's say Stephen King was selling The Outsider (as an example) on his own website for $9.99 per ebook without anything extra inside it (just the lower price) or you can get the same ebook from Amazon for $14.99. The deal is, you could get that ebook directly from his site and try and side-load the ebook (kindle or generic) to your device. You'd need to read the carefully laid instructions for doing it. And the whole process would take you about 10-20 minutes to complete...

OR you could just click on the link and with no hassle have it arrive in your eReader ready to go? The customer is probably willing (on average) to pay the extra for the less hassle. Us being indies would jump at the lower price pretty fast--lower sale, great author, a good book, and a little extra effort for us is a no-brainer. But for the average consumer? They'll probably say 'no thanks.'
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Offline Simon Haynes

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #18 on: June 14, 2018, 04:26:48 AM »
I liken it to buying games on Steam vs getting DVDs from a games store. I will actually buy Steam versions of games I've owned for years, just to have them in one place, automatically updated and always available.

I also get credit on amazon for affiliates sales, and I use that to buy ebooks.


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Offline TwistedTales

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #19 on: June 14, 2018, 05:04:08 AM »
I liken it to buying games on Steam vs getting DVDs from a games store. I will actually buy Steam versions of games I've owned for years, just to have them in one place, automatically updated and always available.

I also get credit on amazon for affiliates sales, and I use that to buy ebooks.

Maybe, but I'm set up and have campaigns scheduled, so I prefer to give it a go before writing it off as impossible. Now it's set up, it's no effort to add the direct sales channel to campaigns and I wouldn't expect to sell enough initially for it to add much, if any, admin effort to manage the customers.

Personally, I can't see any reason not to give direct a go. I've got nothing to lose and potentially a lot to gain. Taking a swing at it is a no-brainer for me.


Offline Puddleduck

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #20 on: June 14, 2018, 06:07:02 AM »
I think about this in this way:

Would you go to one of your favorite author's websites (indie, or trad), like a Hugh Howey, or a Dean Koontz and try and buy directly from their website?

Or would it just be easier to click a link to iBooks, Amazon, B&N or Kobo because that's where your ereader of choice happens to be connected?

"Would you do something" and "would it be easier to do something else" are not mutually exclusive questions. People don't always do the easiest thing. Yes, I might very well buy direct from an author's website, even though it's not easier, because of three things: 1) support the author (some readers really do want to do this), 2) get a better price (authors can use coupons on their site to offer better prices on their books without actually pricing them lower, thus not running into Amazon's lowest price enforcement), 3) get it easily in all formats. Sure, it's easier in a way to buy from one store and download to your e-reader, but if a reader likes to have more control over their e-library (and there are a lot of us out there), paying a single price to get it properly formatted in both mobi and epub at once (rather than using a converter like Calibre) and not have to worry about DRM or other such issues, that's desirable.

Sure, a lot of people don't know how to sideload. This option isn't for them. A lot of people do know how to sideload and have no problem doing it. That's why storybundle and such sites exist. Those sites couldn't exist if there weren't a good number of people out there who will happily side-load while supporting the author (or other worthies) and paying a better price. Simplicity of downloading is not the sole determining factor of all readers.

And as far as tax, check with your tax professional for where you live. My accountant told me I don't have any sales tax/VAT obligation for places other than the state I live in (unless sales get over some certain amount, where other states' sales taxes might come into play, though my bet is those thresholds are well above what I will ever actually sell).

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #21 on: June 14, 2018, 06:13:43 AM »
The question is not "would they"?

The answer is: they do. People absolutely buy from author websites.

For the same reason that I order items from companies direct: because I'll go into their customer system and they will email me when they have new stuff.

Offline Rob Martin

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #22 on: June 14, 2018, 06:54:01 AM »
With the caveat that I'm not currently selling from my site, but I intend to do so shortly, I don't see any reason not to. There a plenty of ways to do so, some of which have already been mentioned. I've got mine ready to go through Woocommerce.

I figure it like this, if a reader is already on your site, for whatever reason, they've physically expressed an interest in what you're publishing. So make it easy for them. Under the description of the book, include a buy now link that will allow them to purchase a mobi or pdf from your site. Under that, in slightly smaller font, include retailer links directly to the book. I want to give readers the maximum number of opportunities to purchase the book as possible. I may even include a discount off the retail price for buying directly from my site. If I only get 70% from Zon for my 3.99 book, sell it for 2.99 and advertise the dollar off. The reader that buys thinks they're getting a good deal and I'm still making more than I would from Zon. Even more if they buy from other retailers. Sure some, or even most people may still go to Zon/Apple/Kobo/BN or elsewhere from my site, but by giving them the option to buy from my site, I'm also limiting distractions from competitors and have an additional opportunity to get them on my mailing list for future sales.

Writing is a pleasure, but publishing is a business. As a business, it doesn't make sense to forego a revenue stream, even a small one, that is easily managed and under my control. And as for the argument about side loading, I'll leave that to other, more experienced people. I only know that I've never had a problem opening or reading a PDF in iBooks, and for android, I know there are a ton of apps that can be used.

Offline Nate Hoffelder

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #23 on: June 14, 2018, 07:23:43 AM »
I think about this in this way:

Would you go to one of your favorite author's websites (indie, or trad), like a Hugh Howey, or a Dean Koontz and try and buy directly from their website?

Or would it just be easier to click a link to iBooks, Amazon, B&N or Kobo because that's where your ereader of choice happens to be connected?

I bought from Hugh Howey's website.

I also buy direct from a few publishers
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Offline Arches

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #24 on: June 14, 2018, 08:07:37 AM »
The question is not: Can I convince my dedicated fans to buy my book on sale directly from me?

The question is: Can I actually generate NEW BUSINESS selling directly from my site or increase my per sale revenue enough to justify the expense, time, and resources involved?



Julie has it exactly right.  The question for the author is whether it's worth the time and hassle to go in direct competition with Amazon and the other major retail outlets.

The main advantage for the author seems to be keeping Amazon's 30% of the retail price, but the real question is why would the reader switch to a process much more difficult to navigate? The main attraction for a reader seems to be getting the book for less money, but I'm 99% sure Amazon isn't going to like an author discounting below the Amazon price. At a minimum, when it figures out what you're doing, they're going to price match, and you will get much less net income from what it probably a much bigger market than selling on your own website.

In short, maybe this makes sense for a non-fiction author where direct selling has been common, or for someone with a large backlist or extremely popular books, but I'm skeptical that it's worth the hassle for most self-pub authors.

Offline Puddleduck

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #25 on: June 14, 2018, 08:27:40 AM »
The main attraction for a reader seems to be getting the book for less money, but I'm 99% sure Amazon isn't going to like an author discounting below the Amazon price.

Think outside the box a little, bud.

I set mine up using Wix, since I have a Wix site. It's incredibly easy and free to set up. Like, super duper easy. I only have digital content currently, but I'll probably add physical books at some point, which I guess might be a little more complicated to figure out.

I set the price the same as everywhere else (including Amazon). But see, as a retailer, I get to control my store. Which means I can make coupons. Very, very easy to set up on Wix. You can do 15% off everything, $5 off an order of $20 or more, $0.50 off a specific book, whatever you want. You can do it short-term or just leave it up all the time. You can make the coupon code visible on the site or only send it out to people who sign up for your newsletter (I have a separate one set up as a publisher to alert people to new products/sales, separately from my author newsletter, because I know not everyone wants the sales info). I have payments set up to go through PayPal, so I don't get any of the financial info, and Wix delivers the goods automatically.

I as the retailer have control of my own store. You make it sound like setting up a store is some huge, time consuming process with little return. It's not hard or time-consuming. If you're wide anyway (and I know you are not, but for those of us who are) and you have your own website, it's a pretty simple thing to add.

Sure, I guess you could choose to be a slave to Amazon and take whatever they're willing to toss at you, or you could take more control of your business in every way possible. Maybe I'm just inherently averse to bullying, but the more Amazon tries to control my business, the more I want to make them the least-preferred retailer (not the most, as they want to be--for everything they sell).

Offline dianapersaud

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #26 on: June 14, 2018, 08:44:52 AM »

And as far as tax, check with your tax professional for where you live. My accountant told me I don't have any sales tax/VAT obligation for places other than the state I live in (unless sales get over some certain amount, where other states' sales taxes might come into play, though my bet is those thresholds are well above what I will ever actually sell).

That seems like odd advice. Every documentation I've ever read says you have to collect VAT from specific countries (in the EU). I've never seen an exemption based on a specific dollar value. Amazon and Smashwords collect VAT on ebooks. I don't think small businesses (Indie authors) are exempt from this.

Does anyone have documentation that suggests we are exempt from VAT?

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Offline Puddleduck

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #27 on: June 14, 2018, 08:49:23 AM »
That seems like odd advice. Every documentation I've ever read says you have to collect VAT from specific countries (in the EU). I've never seen an exemption based on a specific dollar value. Amazon and Smashwords collect VAT on ebooks. I don't think small businesses (Indie authors) are exempt from this.

Does anyone have documentation that suggests we are exempt from VAT?

There seems to be a belief out there that just because foreign governments want us to pay them tax, that we are under any legal obligation to do so. This is why I say to contact a tax professional where you live, rather than just taking common belief from the internet or foreign laws at face value. Amazon and other corporations are obligated to pay those things for their own reasons--they just decide to take VAT out of our cut instead of theirs. We can't really do anything to stop them, even though it's their obligation, not ours. If we've got a store on our own website, then the obligations of these larger corporations doesn't come into play, and we as small business owners don't necessarily need to do the same things that a worldwide corporation does. Don't assume. Don't take "everyone says so" as evidence or fact. Don't let a government that is not yours tell you what you have to do without verifying that your own government actually requires you to do it. Check with a professional.

Offline ibizwiz

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #28 on: June 14, 2018, 08:59:59 AM »
We're preparing to launch a serious test of direct ebook sales and expect to develop answers to many of the questions raised by the OP and others. "Serious" means heavy advertising in Facebook, with clicks going to a custom landing page which is Woo Commerce enabled and delivers via Bookfunnel. (Hi, Julie!). I used Patty Jansen's approach as my model. (Thanks again to you, Patty, for this and for years of solid guidance in this forum.)

Before starting our new publishing company, I had ten years as an Amazon apparel merchant, and had concluded that Amazon will never be a reliable business partner. I was willing to publish with KDP, but quickly learned that introducing a new series the conventional way in Amazon was not likely to succeed economically.

I came to Indie publishing from a forty-year career in technology development and marketing, so I'm used to hearing lots of doubts and skeptical observations.  I've never been offended since this kind of resistance is a very necessary part of the process of introducing a new way to do an old thing. The doubters force us to deal up front with buyers objections. In every new application design project I managed from the very first days of mainframes and online systems, the skeptics always made us think of better, simpler ways to do the job.

Julie's experience with her "CEO" is a case in point. In fact, Bookfunnel's decision to expand into direct sales support and integrate with Woo Commerce is what persuaded me to give this a determined try.

I won't attempt to convince any others to go this route, just give a nod to TwistedTales and the few who've pioneered it.

I will list a few of the things I've learned so far, however:

1  Volume is the problem to solve first, not after you've assembled all the pieces. To build a direct selling and customer support platform and then settle for a few hundred sales each month is an economic waste of time.

2  Go big or go home -- if your pilot effort earns out, be prepared to scale rapidly. Scaling is really hard, especially in Facebook ads. After sending the first two novels our series to the editors, I spent months poring over the accumulated wisdom of Facebook advertising consultants. This was in addition to taking Mark Dawson's course. I learned via reading and then my detailed emails from the best of them that they don't know that much about scaling, beyond increasing the ad spend. That won't work reliably or significantly or quickly with Facebook. Can you drive traffic to your content-rich landing pages with other ads? Or other traffic-gen tools like the excellent ones from UpViral? You need to know, and now. Solve how you'll do this before you invest in the several building blocks you'll need. Be ready to exploit launch success before you spend a single dollar on advertising.

3   Become an expert in landing pages. The folks at Instapage and its competitors know a very great deal, but their expertise is mainly in B2B marketing, not B2C, and certainly not in "converting" finicky readers. A successfully designed landing page will convert twice as many visitors to trying a free book or buying one as a slap-dash, copy-cat, template page will. Meaning doubling your direct sales revenues.

4   Limit your audience. Target a selected group of readers carefully and shape all your program around their needs and expectations. I agree with the several skeptics that many mass-market readers will not want to try this new channel. Forget them! Build a smarter, more demanding audience, especially those frustrated with Amazon's continuing decline in shopping quality and new book discovery.

5   If you have a new author name, or a new series with no branding, take even more care with your landing page and follow-up email campaigns. Selling a new series direct to readers means not just explaining the Woo + Bookfunnel delivery scheme, but engagingly presenting a new author and new main characters.

6   Given this doubled persuasion challenge, give your niche audience an entirely new experience. If they really want something, and cannot easily get it in the big stores, they'll be much readier to try the new delivery method. And make quality your lodestar: read-through will be the key success factor in selling series directly.

7   Read all of Patty Jansens comments on this topic, and when you do, see particularly how she uses her method to capitalize on her boxed sets. In our case, we'll have the first three-novel series boxed and ready for sale by November.

8    Sales taxes are potentially a major concern if one intends to build a substantial sales channel. Ive spent the better part of two weeks with reps at the two major services, Avalara and Taxjar, and have developed our strategy for handling tax filing if we succeed with our stealth launch phase. Mind, our books are written for a global target market, so well have issues both in the US and other countries.

I'll leave this topic for now with one, to me, all-important mantra: Facebook users are not looking for books; they're looking for entertainment. Engage their imagination and sense of humor, or curiosity, or dread, or mystery, or romance, and the selling will come naturally.

Best of luck to other wide authors and self-pubbers attempting to master this challenge. 

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #29 on: June 14, 2018, 02:49:40 PM »
That seems like odd advice. Every documentation I've ever read says you have to collect VAT from specific countries (in the EU). I've never seen an exemption based on a specific dollar value. Amazon and Smashwords collect VAT on ebooks. I don't think small businesses (Indie authors) are exempt from this.
Does anyone have documentation that suggests we are exempt from VAT?

It's not odd advice, but sounds like it's advice about other United states rather other country states. Everyone selling to customers in the EU have to collect tax. The hoo-haa over the switch to VAT rates being based on the customer's address in 2015 brought the earning possibility to other countries attention and from memory Google Play have informed me about new VAT type policies for Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. Not sure of the precise countries but Japan was the first I received a notification about. Any business without an office in the EU has had to charge VAT based on customer's address since 2008 for digital products. So Second Life lowered my annual fee when I moved from Ireland back to the UK in 2008 (i.e., Irish VAT rates were higher). Exemption from charging VAT applies only to residents of that country. E.g., if I sold in the UK to only UK residents I could avoid registering for VAT until my income (not profits) reached something like 85,000 pounds. Ireland has a similarly high rate, but as I am no longer a resident of that blessed isle I would have to charge VAT from the first euro of income. There was a kboards thread recently titled "Help Canada says I owe GST." International GST/VAT laws are complex so professional advice is recommended. Hoping they won't notice little old you is a fine policy until they do notice you when it becomes a completely stupid [mule] policy.


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Offline Puddleduck

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #30 on: June 14, 2018, 04:01:35 PM »
It's not odd advice, but sounds like it's advice about other United states rather other country states.

No, I specifically asked my accountant about both other states' sales taxes as well as other countries' VAT. Because, again, just because another country wants me to collect and pay taxes to them doesn't mean I have any obligation as far as my own government is concerned to do so. And as many times as this issue has come up on these boards, I've still never seen anyone point to an actual US law that says US citizens selling online from a US address are required to collect and remit taxes to a foreign government. I'm inclined to take my tax professional's opinion over hearsay on the internet or opinions from non-Americans (who will obviously be less familiar with US tax laws than a US tax professional). This isn't "hoping they won't catch me". This is me not having any actual legal or ethical obligation. (And anyway, due to the way my store is set up, I don't even collect enough customer information to know where they live.)

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #31 on: June 14, 2018, 05:04:48 PM »
And as many times as this issue has come up on these boards, I've still never seen anyone point to an actual US law that says US citizens selling online from a US address are required to collect and remit taxes to a foreign government. I'm inclined to take my tax professional's opinion over hearsay on the internet or opinions from non-Americans (who will obviously be less familiar with US tax laws than a US tax professional).

Every time someone has a thread like this my response is to note that in 2008 Second Life (based in California) started charging me VAT because I lived in the EU. I am sure that Second LIfe can afford top notch tax professionals.

From the Smashwords Site Update of December 2014
Quote
Smashwords has always distributed books through our global retailers at a VAT-inclusive price.  This means that VAT for European sales was deducted from the sales price, and only then did the retailer take their cut before sending the remaining proceeds to Smashwords.
Smashwords (a California company) can afford good tax professionals (based in Bainbridge Island, Washington State).

Maybe your tax professional is smarter than those employed by Second Life and Smashwords. Maybe not.


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Offline Puddleduck

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #32 on: June 14, 2018, 06:31:23 PM »
Maybe your tax professional is smarter than those employed by Second Life and Smashwords. Maybe not.

I tend not to base business (or personal, for that matter) decisions on assumptions about why some company/person that is very much not me has made the decisions they have. I like to go to the source and get information of my own. And every time this issue comes up and people ask for specific US law that they can look up and read for themselves which compels US citizens to pay foreign taxes like VAT, no one can ever come up with an actual source document. It's always, "Well, obviously," or, "The EU says," or "So-and-so's doing it." None of which is an actual US law that we can read for ourselves. I'm open to someone pointing such a law out, but until I see something like that, all I can do is ask a professional who actually knows about the tax laws in the state and country that I live in.

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #33 on: June 14, 2018, 08:35:26 PM »
No, I specifically asked my accountant about both other states' sales taxes as well as other countries' VAT. Because, again, just because another country wants me to collect and pay taxes to them doesn't mean I have any obligation as far as my own government is concerned to do so. And as many times as this issue has come up on these boards, I've still never seen anyone point to an actual US law that says US citizens selling online from a US address are required to collect and remit taxes to a foreign government. I'm inclined to take my tax professional's opinion over hearsay on the internet or opinions from non-Americans (who will obviously be less familiar with US tax laws than a US tax professional). This isn't "hoping they won't catch me". This is me not having any actual legal or ethical obligation. (And anyway, due to the way my store is set up, I don't even collect enough customer information to know where they live.)

I'm not going to get into VAT or GST/HST filing requirements, but I say this as someone who works in public accounting and prepares state sales tax filings for some of our clients, I would revisit sales tax discussions with your accountant. What experience does he/she have in SALT? I ask because CPA doesn't necessarily = current on all state sales tax laws. We have a group that does nothing but state income and sales tax. A lot of our Tax CPA are not current on all state/local sales tax rulings and need to defer to our SALT group when needing to address client questions. I'm hesitant to sell direct from my website b/c as someone who has to deal with state sales tax filings in my day job, I know what a pain in the you-know-what it can be. After discussions with one of my sales tax managers, I agree with him that selling through Amazon creates nexus, and wherever Amazon has physical location & is required to pay sales tax to that state, I would be required should I sell to someone in that state. Also, I hope that you are collecting enough information to know where you're selling to. Even should your accountant disagree with me about Amazon & nexus, at the very least you should be collecting & readmitting sales tax in your own state. If you aren't collecting information, how would you know when you do so? Lastly, I'm confused about this "threshold" you must meet before being required to pay sales tax to another state. I'm not aware of one. If you're only selling direct from your website & nowhere else, then you only have to worry about your own state. But if you're selling through Amazon and/or B&N, I strongly recommend another discussion with your accountant.

Offline Abderian

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #34 on: June 14, 2018, 09:57:35 PM »
I tend not to base business (or personal, for that matter) decisions on assumptions about why some company/person that is very much not me has made the decisions they have. I like to go to the source and get information of my own. And every time this issue comes up and people ask for specific US law that they can look up and read for themselves which compels US citizens to pay foreign taxes like VAT, no one can ever come up with an actual source document. It's always, "Well, obviously," or, "The EU says," or "So-and-so's doing it." None of which is an actual US law that we can read for ourselves. I'm open to someone pointing such a law out, but until I see something like that, all I can do is ask a professional who actually knows about the tax laws in the state and country that I live in.

To be honest your accountant sounds a bit dodgy. I would hesitate to work with someone who bases their professional decisions and client's best interests on their personal interpretation of the rules and not what is standard interpretation/practice.

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Offline The Bass Bagwhan

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #35 on: June 14, 2018, 10:09:23 PM »
Even if Book Funnel is a solution to the side-loading problems (sorry, I haven't researched BF yet) isn't there an added issue if you're doing audiobooks through ACX? Because Audible demands any audiobook be available as a book on Amazon. So you'd be selling direct and through Amazon to meet audiobook requirements?
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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #36 on: June 14, 2018, 10:23:03 PM »
Even if Book Funnel is a solution to the side-loading problems (sorry, I haven't researched BF yet) isn't there an added issue if you're doing audiobooks through ACX? Because Audible demands any audiobook be available as a book on Amazon. So you'd be selling direct and through Amazon to meet audiobook requirements?

Of course. Selling direct doesn't mean that you don't put books on Amazon. It can mean that, but most likely, it doesn't.

Offline ibizwiz

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #37 on: June 15, 2018, 10:36:19 AM »
Emphasizing this:

Of course. Selling direct doesn't mean that you don't put books on Amazon. It can mean that, but most likely, it doesn't.

If my long comment gave anyone the impression we won't make our books available at the proper time on Amazon, let me apologize. We want Amazon along with readers who prefer the other stores to have access to our books once we're ready to officially release them. By pre-releasing them however we can discount and give away as we see fit. Try different pricing points. Experiment with special sets and collections. And when we're ready, offer the boxed set to our list at a price well under what we'll be charging in the stores.

Before I decided to go into systems in the middle of the last century I was trained in mathematical economics and operations research. Thanks to several professors who showed great patience with my impatience, I'm able to draw inferences from numbers reflecting behavior. Just ask my current wife!

This approach we're about to test is merely an adaptation of the commonly accepted thinking behind A/B testing. I found the conventional way of launching a new title or series in Amazon maddening, because the various promo channels could not be tested. The numbers couldn't be compared with any precision. Success (for the few who found it) was willy-nilly. It seemed obvious to stop throwing money at the problem when one had no quantitatively reliable method to decide how much to spend, and no way after the nail-biting to say with certainty if it was worth it. Instead, find and adapt a statistically reliable method to book launching. As Mark Dawson recognized three years ago, Facebook is really the only promotional platform that has the numbers and operational stability over time to allow one to say "This stategy works!" And then repeat the performance over and over.

So yes, we'll list the books in Amazon and the other stores, but only after we have solid data on what the early-bird readers think of them -- and how much they appear to be willing to pay for them. And, just to be clear, after a good many have signed up for our series mailing list, so we can go into Amazon with momentum.

As I said, I'm not touting this time-consuming, costly method to anyone. I may well be wrong about one aspect or technique or timing assumption or another. As a quantitative analyst, I expect to be wrong. That's a good thing, because I'll have numbers that tell me where I messed up, and why, and how to fix it.

« Last Edit: June 15, 2018, 03:09:41 PM by ibizwiz »

Offline Puddleduck

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #38 on: June 15, 2018, 12:06:11 PM »
Also, I hope that you are collecting enough information to know where you're selling to. Even should your accountant disagree with me about Amazon & nexus, at the very least you should be collecting & readmitting sales tax in your own state. If you aren't collecting information, how would you know when you do so?

The answer to that question is always: never. Why? Because I live in a state without any sales tax.

I went to the IRS website to see if I could email them directly to ask about this. And apparently it's impossible to email a question to the IRS. You can only phone. What is this, the seventies?

Offline ibizwiz

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #39 on: June 15, 2018, 03:08:14 PM »
I didn't want to comment on sales taxes here, since it's a large subject. But several commenters seem to think they can simply ask a lawyer for advice regarding sales from their own site, while others assume they aren't liable for some reason or other, obtained from soneone or other. In fact the sales and use tax laws in the US are muddled and even problematic. The long accepted assumptions of "nexus" is in question, as states and localities try and tax sales made over the internet to their residents. Plus there is a pending Supreme Court decision due this month or in early July that could utterly redefine the groundrules for taxation of sales made by out-of-state sellers. And certain states are not waiting for the the legal ruling: Illinois has decided to tax all "economic" sales beginning in October of this year, while Iowa passed a law to tax Internet sales beginning in 2019. With all due respect, I suggest many local tax accountants and business lawyers are probably uninformed with respect to the current ecommerce tax issues in states other than the one where you're operating.

If you are selling direct you need to get the real information, or risk a costly audit and potential legal action down the road. My business (not legal!) advice is to:

1  Not ask me for help or guidance.
2  Do the basic research on nexus using the many free resources online.
3  Subscribe to the free monthly Sales Tax Institute newsletter at salestaxinstitute.com.
4  Sign up for free at Taxjar.com and gain access to their well-organized, hugely helpful archive of state-by-state data. It is kept up to date, right down to the local sales taxes.

I won't go into non-US taxes, other than to say I've found the (free) library of "foreign" resources at Avalara.com to be very helpful. Uniquely among smaller business tax services, Avalara has actual service offices in six or so overseas locations, as well as numerous offices around this country. For a seller who is wide, their info is a good starting point IMO.
 

Offline Diana Kimpton

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #40 on: June 16, 2018, 06:37:33 AM »
As an avid ebook reader, I want books to download direct to my Kindle so wouldn't buy from an author website. I suspect I'm not alone in feeling like that. 


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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #41 on: June 16, 2018, 06:40:30 AM »
As an avid ebook reader, I want books to download direct to my Kindle so wouldn't buy from an author website. I suspect I'm not alone in feeling like that. 


Bookfunnel allows you to do that. Your book goes to whatever device you want.

Offline Al Stevens

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #42 on: June 16, 2018, 01:39:42 PM »
I just browsed Bookfunnel to see how they address the sideload issue. Typically the buyer tells bookfunnel the email address of the e-reader device. That's a bit of a distance from the one-click delivery you get with Kindle and others. For them, the buyer needs to have the device registered with them. That's more than one click too, but it's only one time after which it's one click for each purchase. The registration process also automatically senses from the device how to make the connection. The buyer doesn't need to look up and type in the e-reader's email address. Or even know that there is one.

[geel alert]
If I was going to do this, I'd download Calibre's source code. Then I'd reverse-engineer the code that effects their sideload via USB cable from the computer to the e-reader device. A plug-in for browsers comes next. All the buyer would need to do is connect the device to the computer with its USB cable and click download for the book being bought. If the plug-in hasn't been installed, the user would be asked to allow that.

One cable connection, one click.
[/geek alert]

This explanation is a simplification, I admit, but a good programmer should be able to implement it.

Now expecting the usual, "If it's all that easy, Al, why don't you do it?" To answer: I don't need it, don't want it, and I retired from programming, distributing and supporting software a long time ago.

But I'm willing to discuss it. Preferably where geeks hang out. :D Good luck.

Offline Al Stevens

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #43 on: June 16, 2018, 01:45:15 PM »
A much simpler solution would be for your website to ask the buyer for the e-reader's email address. Store that in a cookie for future purchases and then email the book's file as an attachment by using the html mailto: tag.

Offline Damon J Courtney

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #44 on: June 16, 2018, 05:18:21 PM »
I just browsed Bookfunnel to see how they address the sideload issue. Typically the buyer tells bookfunnel the email address of the e-reader device. That's a bit of a distance from the one-click delivery you get with Kindle and others. For them, the buyer needs to have the device registered with them. That's more than one click too, but it's only one time after which it's one click for each purchase. The registration process also automatically senses from the device how to make the connection. The buyer doesn't need to look up and type in the e-reader's email address. Or even know that there is one.

[geek alert]
If I was going to do this, I'd download Calibre's source code. Then I'd reverse-engineer the code that effects their sideload via USB cable from the computer to the e-reader device. A plug-in for browsers comes next. All the buyer would need to do is connect the device to the computer with its USB cable and click download for the book being bought. If the plug-in hasn't been installed, the user would be asked to allow that.

One cable connection, one click.
[/geek alert]

This explanation is a simplification, I admit, but a good programmer should be able to implement it.

Now expecting the usual, "If it's all that easy, Al, why don't you do it?" To answer: I don't need it, don't want it, and I retired from programming, distributing and supporting software a long time ago.

But I'm willing to discuss it. Preferably where geeks hang out. :D Good luck.

Hey, Al! Creator of BookFunnel here, grain of salt, I think we're awesome, yada yada yada. :)

BookFunnel goes a good bit further than what you saw. If you're being asked for an email address, that's not the download page, that's the page where a reader can sign up to join your mailing list. They don't receive the book download until AFTER they sign up in most cases.

Once you hit the download page, BookFunnel automatically detects your device and walks the reader through the process based on that device. You probably only saw what was there for the one device you're browsing on. We support dozens of device and app manufacturers and hundreds of devices and apps, and our support team is trained on all of them to be able to help any reader.

For any iOS device (about 48% of our downloads), it's two clicks, and the book is in their app. For Android, they download a small app from us that makes the process one click (after installing the app the first time). We do the same for the Kindle Fire, though it takes a few more steps because Amazon has locked it down more than your typical Android device. Kindle and Kobo e-readers can download directly to their device via the tiny, built-in browser with a few simple steps. We did a lot of work to support every major device in the easiest possible way.

Your idea of using Calibre's internals is not a bad one, and they actually have a command-line tool that will do just what you're describing. You wouldn't even need to rip apart their source. You just point the command-line tool at the file and your device, and away it goes.

The problem there is that the vast majority of readers are on mobile devices. Many of them browsing from their very reading device. And they HATE having to dig out a USB cable, connect it to a computer (many don't have one anymore, or at least not one they can reach easily), and then copy files over. Even if it were as simple as downloading and connecting. We consider a USB cable the last possible resort for a reader to get a book, but our support team will walk the reader through it if they need it.

I tell people all the time that side loading can still be an issue for some readers. Our support team can attest to that. But, that's the best thing you get with BookFunnel: our support team. Our software walks them through getting their book, but if there is any problem, or if they have a question, our team is there to help them every step of the way. All Texans, and all super polite and friendly. We specialize in technophobic, little old ladies. :)

Online Kwrite

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #45 on: June 16, 2018, 05:40:35 PM »
The answer to that question is always: never. Why? Because I live in a state without any sales tax.

I went to the IRS website to see if I could email them directly to ask about this. And apparently it's impossible to email a question to the IRS. You can only phone. What is this, the seventies?

Okay. I didn't realize you lived in one of the 5 states that doesn't require state sales tax. I may have skimmed over that if mentioned earlier. Still, my advise is to again speak to your accountant if you're selling through Amazon. Also be aware of the pending Supreme Court case South Dakota v Wayfair Inc. Depending on the results of this case, you might have to collect sales tax in states you don't have nexus or a physical presence in.

Also please note: the IRS has nothing to do with state sales taxes. Anything sent to the IRS has to be fax, not email. And hold time is usually 1-2 hours. At least based on all of my experience.

Offline Nate Hoffelder

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #46 on: June 17, 2018, 03:43:53 AM »
There seems to be a belief out there that just because foreign governments want us to pay them tax, that we are under any legal obligation to do so.
the US govt is pretty insistent that Americans have to collect the VAT on sales to EU:
https://www.export.gov/article?id=European-Union-How-the-EU-s-Value-Added-Tax-VAT-Impacts-U-S-Exports-2016

I don't, but then again I don't do enough direct sales for it to matter.
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Offline ibizwiz

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #47 on: June 17, 2018, 07:14:15 AM »

Once you hit the download page, BookFunnel automatically detects your device and walks the reader through the process based on that device. You probably only saw what was there for the one device you're browsing on. We support dozens of device and app manufacturers and hundreds of devices and apps, and our support team is trained on all of them to be able to help any reader.


Thanks, Damon for clearing the delivery process air. And to Al Stevens and the several skeptics for raising issues and asking questions. Like Al and Damon, my background is in software, where one needs to begin the design process with the user's needs and "buyer's objections", then make a product or service that deals with each one.

The greatest strength of Damon's approach is the emphasis on after-sale customer support. But having been in his industry I'll add another strength he modestly failed to emphasize. BookFunnel evolves. Having started their business model-design at the end of the process, they've committed their company to the never-ending process of keeping current with end-user reader technology. Now they've "backwards-extended" their scope to include the selling process. I'm launching a business that will sell books all over the globe, and being able to satisfy every buyer's needs is a fundamental requirement.

Will there be issues with one device or another over time? Naturally; that's the nature of networked interaction technology. Will anyone other than BookFunnel be likely to solve the issue as speedily as Damon's team? My long experience in the industry says no.
 
I have a mantra stuck to one of my PC displays that reads "MOPA". It means "My Own Private Amazon", and serves to remind every day that I'm not simply trying to patch together services like BookFunnel and Woo Commerce. I'm creating a full "customer experience" to use the current jargon. My little platform doesn't simply sell books. It has to incorporate the entire process of marketing, discovery, sales admin, and customer support.

Sales tax collection and filing is another part of this process, and, like the reader technology, taxes on Internet sales are messy now and will get messier still for online booksellers. Having correct, up to date info is the first step to coping with your potential liability, and my previous comment in this thread tells where to get it for free. EG, you'll see that there are just two US states that do not collect sales taxes, not "five". You'll also fathom the complexity of "nexus".

Obviously, building an economically viable direct selling platform is not a realistic option for the vast majority of Indie author/publishers. First one has to understand that we're in a trade which, like so many others, roughly adheres to the Pareto principle, where the 20% effort to create a commercially marketable book leads to the 80% effort of production, promotion, sale, delivery, and post-sale reader base/community building. One needs a saleable catalog. One needs a large, qualified list to drive buyers to the selling site/landing page.

A well-thought-through direct selling platform can make this daunting challenge manageable. You may decide you're not a candidate now to build your own selling channel. But be aware that, thanks to BookFunnel's gritty commitment to service and Damon's integration with WooCommerce and other selling solutions, the single messiest part of the direct selling process is solved. We're at the point IMO where direct selling has become viable for a much larger number of Indies than it was just six months ago.



Offline Arches

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #48 on: June 17, 2018, 07:33:29 AM »
 
I have a mantra stuck to one of my PC displays that reads "MOPA". It means "My Own Private Amazon", and serves to remind every day that I'm not simply trying to patch together services like BookFunnel and Woo Commerce. I'm creating a full "customer experience" to use the current jargon. My little platform doesn't simply sell books. It has to incorporate the entire process of marketing, discovery, sales admin, and customer support.

Sales tax collection and filing is another part of this process, and, like the reader technology, taxes on Internet sales are messy now and will get messier still for online booksellers. Having correct, up to date info is the first step to coping with your potential liability, and my previous comment in this thread tells where to get it for free. EG, you'll see that there are just two US states that do not collect sales taxes, not "five". You'll also fathom the complexity of "nexus".

Obviously, building an economically viable direct selling platform is not a realistic option for the vast majority of Indie author/publishers. First one has to understand that we're in a trade which, like so many others, roughly adheres to the Pareto principle, where the 20% effort to create a commercially marketable book leads to the 80% effort of production, promotion, sale, delivery, and post-sale reader base/community building. One needs a saleable catalog. One needs a large, qualified list to drive buyers to the selling site/landing page.

A well-thought-through direct selling platform can make this daunting challenge manageable. You may decide you're not a candidate now to build your own selling channel. But be aware that, thanks to BookFunnel's gritty commitment to service and Damon's integration with WooCommerce and other selling solutions, the single messiest part of the direct selling process is solved. We're at the point IMO where direct selling has become viable for a much larger number of Indies than it was just six months ago.

I think you've captured the heart of the issue, namely creating MOPA. Some people enjoy that kind of thing and eagerly face the challenge of creating their own private marketplace. For me, however, I'd much rather focus on writing more books to put on an existing marketplace that sells them pretty well. I don't have any particularly objections to Amazon that I don't have with other large businesses, so I avoid the hassle of selling through other vendors or on my own. It's a personal choice.

Offline Al Stevens

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #49 on: June 17, 2018, 10:30:55 AM »
If you're being asked for an email address, that's not the download page, that's the page where a reader can sign up to join your mailing list.
No, I was not at that page. I went to the page with Chrome on my PC to download your sample Alice in Wonderland book. It asked which kind of device I had and then it asked for that device's email address.

Once you hit the download page, BookFunnel automatically detects your device...
That assumes the user connects from the e-reader device. Obviously it can't "automatically detect" a device that is not connected to the computer being used to visit your site.

You probably only saw what was there for the one device you're browsing on.
No, I was browsing on my PC and I saw the two choices mentioned above.
The problem there is that the vast majority of readers are on mobile devices. Many of them browsing from their very reading device. And they HATE having to dig out a USB cable, connect it to a computer (many don't have one anymore, or at least not one they can reach easily)...
Hmm. I wonder how they charge them. :D

I tried using my Kindle Voyage's experimental browser to access Bookfunnel.com. Not ready for prime time. (the browser, that is.)

Offline Al Stevens

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #50 on: June 17, 2018, 10:35:27 AM »
Your idea of using Calibre's internals is not a bad one, and they actually have a command-line tool that will do just what you're describing. You wouldn't even need to rip apart their source. You just point the command-line tool at the file and your device, and away it goes.
If I were doing this, I'd prefer to implement it from within my page rather than ask the little old lady from Pasadena to find and install Calibre.

Offline Going Incognito

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Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« Reply #51 on: June 17, 2018, 10:36:15 AM »
Beautiful bookfunnel post. Thank you, one Texan to another.  :-*

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