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Self-Publishing – Amazon vs Indie Platforms – Part 1

Imagine this. You’ve got three books under your belt, all of them self-published and, so far you’ve sold nearly 10,000 copies in total. You used Sellfy and Gumroad indie platforms for two of your books and the third you did through the Kindle Direct Publishing program on Amazon. Your first two books were in PDF format and the only place you promoted them was on your own website.

You did use Bookbaby to add them to Amazon but you didn’t put in any effort to market them on Amazon. Why not? Well, you clearly thought that getting 95% of the sale price in royalties on an indie platform was far better than the 70% that Amazon offers.

The only reason you used KDP was that it was a new platform and, what the hell, you might as well give it a go. When you are trying to decide between Amazon and an indie platform, what do you need to consider?


Time is the first consideration. With an indie, the minute your file is uploaded it is ready for sale. With KDP, you have to wait for it to show up in their lists and that wait is longer for global stores. Some books will appear within a few hours in eBook format but if you opt to sell the print version too, expect to wait at least 24 hours for that to show up and a further couple of days for the print and digital versions to sync so they show up together. You may have to ask Amazon to do this for you at the moment but, in the future, it is likely to happen automatically. 

Amazon means quite a bit of waiting so, if you opt for the platform, submit the books before you publicly announce the launch – it could save a lot of frustration.


This one of the biggest differences between the indie platforms and Amazon. When you sell a book via your own website, you have the option of offering packages where your books are priced a little higher but you can include videos etc. with the package. With Amazon, you are stuck with their limits on lowest to highest price and with KDP, those prices are $2.99 to $9.99. Perhaps more important is that your book is up for sale in a competitive marketplace so if your book costs more than other similar books, you may not sell so many. It will all come down to what your audience perceives as the value they get from your book compared to others. Generally, the lower the price, the more likely you are to sell your book so if it's numbers you want, that’s the way to go. If you want quality and a higher price, think about indie platforms as they often offer a better choice.

Much is going to depend on exactly what you want; if you just want your book out there and are prepared to sell it for a low price then go for Amazon. If you want more, go indie. Don’t make your mind up yet though; head to part 2 for more.

Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Anne-Marie Reynolds