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First Time Author Guide to the Top Publishing Companies – Part 3

Welcome back to part 3 of this mini-series.Before you make a decision, read on for more top publishing companies:

Barnes & Noble Press

Once called Nook Press, this is Barnes & Noble’s self-publishing platform, accounting for around 3% of all eBook sales, mostly in the USA. Print-on-demand publishing is also supported and any book published through the platform will only be sold at Barnes & Noble online stores and physical stores. Their royalties are between 40% and 65% but that will depend on the book price.


If you are a fan of puzzles then you likely spotted that, rearranged, the letters in Kobo read ‘book’. Accounting for around 2% of all the eBook sales from the five top English-language book markets, Kobo is more prominent in Canada where 25% of eBook sales come through their platform.

Like Amazon’s Kindle, Kobo also has an e-reader device and apps for other mobile devices. If you publish your eBook on Kobo it will be made available in more than 190 countries as well as being the owner of the Kobo eReading Program. Together with the ABA (American Booksellers Association), the program means that customers can access the more than 5 million titles that Kobo offers. Kobo is also in partnership with a number of global eBook retailers.

They pay 45% or 75% royalty rate depending on the price of the book.


IngramSpark is one of the largest self-publishing companies in the world. It was established by the leading print book distributor in the world, Ingram, with connections to almost 40,000 bookstores, online retailers and libraries in over 150 countries. IngramSpark is also eBook distributors to Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble and other online retailers.

IngramSpark publishes hardcover print books, also offering premium printing which is great if your book has loads of illustrations and images. Authors are offered an option called Book Return – opting in means you get a far higher chance of your book being stocked at physical stores that don’t normally touch self-published books.

Commission stands at 53% for bookstore sales and 30% for online after production costs have been deducted. They also charge a one-off set-up fee of $49 and an annual fee of $12.


Smashwords is a popular name in the book world. They are one of the better-known distributors and aggregators of eBooks, distributing to some of the top retailers, including Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and Kobo. They provide extensive guidelines for book formatting that enables books to be easily converted to the format required by different retailers. They do not include Amazon in their distribution and they do not offer any support for formatting eBooks. If you are after help with eBook formatting or you prefer to go with an aggregator that includes Amazon in their distribution, you might want to consider a company called Draft2Digital.

Smashwords charges 10% of the sale price on books they sell through their own channels and 15% on those sold through any other retailers, on top of the fees charged by the retailers themselves.

On to part 4, where we will conclude our list and I'll give you some points to think about before you make your mind up.

Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Anne-Marie Reynolds