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First Time Author Guide to the Top Publishing Companies – Part 1

Self-publishing is now responsible for around 40% of all eBook sales and eBooks themselves account for around 40% of the total books sold across the world. This year, sales are expected to outstrip sales of print books in the USA and this is fantastic news for anyone who is thinking about self-publishing their own eBooks. More and more people are turning to e-readers like the Kindle over buying a book from a bookstore, and self-published authors are also gaining more ground as people move from physical bookstores to Amazon and other online stores. Right now, self-published authors are on an equal footing with traditional publishers.

There are, as with anything, pros and cons to both self-publishing and traditional publishing but the main difference between them is cost – it is cheaper to self-publish. I’m going to discuss the top publishing companies that are happy to accept independent authors with all of them offering a range of services. From converting your manuscript into a format that is ready to publish to offering a couple of retail platforms, these companies provide most of what an independent author needs without the cost of going down the traditional publishing route. Some will even provide you with services that offer editing or cover design, help with distribution and help with promotion and marketing.

Before we get into those companies though, you do need to understand the difference between the two major publishing service types – retail and aggregate.


Publishing companies that only sell books through their own retail stores are, as you would expect, retailers. Examples of this include Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing), Apple iBookstore, CreateSpace, Kobe, and Barnes & Noble Press. Some have gone one step further and launched partnerships and programs that mean they can send books to other retail stores, like the Expanded Distribution program on CreateSpace.


Aggregators do two things – they are an eBook publishing platform that also has their own retail sector and they have several online libraries and retailers that they partner with for book distribution. This is great for authors as their potential audience is widened significantly without them having to go through the hassle and expense of formatting their books to the guidelines of each individual publisher. Nor do they have to juggle and keep on top of several publisher accounts – it’s all in one place.

An aggregator can also push eBooks into certain channels that are not directly accessible to authors, such as Scribd. An online digital library that works on subscription, Scribd has over 80 million users but will not accept books direct from an author.

Retailers charge commission on each sale that varies from store to store while an aggregator will charge a further commission of between 10 and 20% of each sale on top.

“Aggregator” refers to an eBook distributor but “distributor” refers to companies who send print books to physical stores, libraries, academies and so on, like IngramSpark. Some aggregators will also distribute and sell print books, like BookBaby and Lulu so, given that there is a certain amount of overlapping and no small amount of similarity, both can be called “distributors”.

In part 2, we’ll start to look at the top publishing companies.

Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Anne-Marie Reynolds