Amazon is not the only way

IMG_0622 2Readers buy books from many places; paperbacks from ‘bricks and mortar’ bookshops, airports, souvenir shops at visitor sites, at events, launches, the charity shop, from the author direct as well as online. As for ebooks, there seems no end to the number and variety of e-tailers, the dominant one being Amazon.

Sometimes we forget that Amazon is not the only ebook gladiator in the arena;  there are other choices, e.g. iTunes,  Nook (Barnes & Noble) and Kobo, plus aggregators like Smashwords.  An Ofcom study into consumers’ digital consumption has found that Amazon had a dominant 79% share of the e-book market in the UK (67% in the US – The Future of Ink).

Other retail platformsApple’s iBookstore was the second most-used e-book platform in the UK with Barnes & Noble’s Nook giving iBooks a close contest in the US. And Kobo, the Canadian company was very much in marketing mode at the London Book Fair in April. New independent players such as Libiro are popping up giving readers another option.
FYLBS website button
Independent bookshops are the Aladdin’s cave, with knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff, from Foyles in London and Bristol to the smallest local owner/manager shop. You can find your local (UK) bookshop here:

So the choice is yours. Of course, all the Roma Nova titles are on these other platforms, here are the links for  INCEPTIO to get you started: 

Ebook Paperback
B&N Nook (USA) Barnes & Noble (USA)
Nook Book (UK)
iBooks/Apple (US)
iBooks/Apple (UK)

Of course, if you’re an Amazon (Kindle) reader, don’t let me stop you… 😉


Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers, INCEPTIO, and PERFIDITAS. Third in series, SUCCESSIO, is now out.

Find out about Roma Nova news, writing tips and info by signing up for my free monthly email newsletter.

10 comments to Amazon is not the only way

  • Where is everybody? Sorry Alison, you must be getting fed up of me popping up so often, but I always find your Roma Nova so interesting and helpful. Amazon is so easy with its “one click” et al but you are so right about the other ways and means of obtaining books. I would mention Wordery in that I have used them before and their service is 100% excellent. Anyone who is an Amazon only fan will find them there too as one of the sellers. Thank you Alison. Leila.

  • Alison

    Thank you, Leila. Always happy to hear from you.
    I think everybody is back at work today and possibly too depressed to comment! 😉

    As with everything, choice is vital.

  • Hi Alison, this is very useful and I have put my first book out wherever I can but am I right in thinking that if you list your book with Smashwords it distributes to all the other outlets anyway? Thanks Georgia

    • Alison

      I believe it does, Georgia, but I have direct accounts with the main players and use Smashwords to ‘catch the rest’. Smashwords is probably a sound place to start with your first book, rather than set up individual accounts, but I think they require some special form of wording in the front matter. It may be a good idea to check with colleagues in the Alliance of Independent Authors.

  • You’re so right, Alison – and whenever I go into a “proper” bookshop to seek out a new book, I’m reminded of how well-informed and helpful the staff are, compared to dopey online search engines that are almost impossible to use for anything other than really basic searches. For example, I asked the lovely assistant in my local bookshop in Nailsworth for “a book that might be a comfort to my friend whose mother has just died”, and she immediately came up with a heart-warming novel embracing family life, set in the era in which my friend and I grew up. I know this will make my friend remember all the good times when her mother was in her prime, rather than when those final years of dementia, and when we were having fun as carefree teens. By contrast, Amazon’s top suggestions against that search string were a children’s picture book called “The Man Whose Mother was a Pirate”, “Wake Up, Mummy: The heartbreaking true story of an abused little girl whose mother was too drunk to notice”, a self-help book called “When You and Your Mother Can’t Be Friends”, and various dodgy erotica. I rest my case!!

    By the way, it’s worth reminding people who don’t realise that you don’t need to buy an Amazon ereader to read Amazon books, or a Kobo one to read Kobo books, etc – just download their free apps to your tablet, PC, phone or laptop.

  • Alison

    Have to admit that for browsing and searching a good bookshop can’t be beaten. I always go in several when I’m in the UK.

    Very good point re readers and apps, Debbie. Although I use a Kindle (Keyboard) for general reading, I also have the app on my Mac desktop in case I want to look something up quickly. Such apps are excellent.

  • Great article Alison; I’ve alternated between KDP Select (which requires exclusivity) and KDP + Smashwords for the past 3 years, but was thinking of moving to the individual platforms for the latest book. However, I’ve stopped while the European VAT debacle is played out. Amazon does all the admin on VAT for us. Have you found that the others do the same – and have they all caught up with the Jan 1st changes?

    • Alison

      Thanks, Elizabeth. Well, my Amazon prices haven’t changed – I’ll just get a 17% slightly lower royalty after the VAT has been deducted. You have two choices: accept the lower royalty or put your prices up to maintain your income level. I’m going with the first one, so my readers get my books at the current price.

      My books at the other retailers have always been the VAT inclusive price, but now, like Amazon, they will base their royalty on the amount left after the increased VAT has been deducted.

      I think that readers like a choice of platforms and formats, and as author/publishers we should do what the readers like. 😉

  • Little Angelic Rose

    I do like Smashwords as they email you the book so it isn’t stuck on one device. Great for reviewers.

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