Why all the Online Author Bookstores now? | Author Jan Moran
Owned & Operated by Sunny Palms Press, LLC.
Owned & Operated by Sunny Palms Press, LLC.
Owned & Operated by Sunny Palms Press, LLC.
Owned & Operated by Sunny Palms Press, LLC.

Why all the Online Author Bookstores now?

Beach book binge readsGood question! Online author bookstores are a hot new trend that I'm here for–along with many of my bestselling author friends. By the way, have you checked out my online bookshop? It's been open a year, and we've worked out the kinks, so I thought I'd answer questions about the new trend of buying ebooks, audiobooks, and paperback books directly from authors. Maybe you've wondered why so many online author bookstores have sprouted, or how buying directly from authors works. Let's find out…

First, what's it in for readers?

Authors love readers! Cool things authors can offer you in their online author bookstores (and mine; with links to demonstrate) include:

Next, let's talk about how you'll receive your books…

If you order print books, you'll receive them through the mail or a delivery service such as UPS. Some authors offer special-value paperback bundles, too. 

For buying digital ebooks and audiobooks directly from authors, the process is a little different, but easy once you get the hang of it. 

Enter the BookFunnel Pros

Maybe you've heard of BookFunnel and the free BookFunnel app. It's the service most authors use to deliver their digital ebooks and audiobooks from their online author bookstores to you.

Several years ago, I met the founders at a writing conference and was intrigued by what they were offering authors, many of whom now have their own publishing companies (as I do). BookFunnel is located in Texas, and they offer full, friendly tech support in the rare case you need it.

Using BookFunnel, you can easily download ebooks and audiobooks from my author bookstore or other authors' shops to read on your iPad, Kindle, Nook, Kobo, etc. After you purchase, you'll receive an email marked “Your Books re Here” from BookFunnel right away.

Authors often offer book bundle deals on social media advertising like Facebook/Meta or Instagram, in their author emails, or on other social media.

How do I read on my Kindle, iPad, Nook, Kobo, etc?

Simply download the BookFunnel app to your smartphone or tablet (such as an iPhone, iPad, or Android device).

Then, follow the simple steps in the email reply you receive after purchasing and tap to transfer your ebooks or audiobooks.

I have a whole library of ebooks and audiobooks I own in BookFunnel, ones that won't go poof off my device if I cancel a subscription.

(Author tip: I listen to my own audiobook titles in the BookFunnel app on my phone before I write the next book in one of my series.)

For instance, if you want to save ebooks to your Kindle device, preview how it works (similar to other reading devices) on the BookFunnel Kindle transfer directions help page.

Why are so many authors embracing this direct-shop route for books?

As an author, while I love my retail partners, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, and others, online author bookstores help authors do MORE for readers.

Selling directly allows authors to offer specially priced bundles and run sales that Amazon and other retailers won't allow. (Say WHAT? Yes, really. Read on…)

Okay, but I need more reasons…  

Many readers enjoy supporting their favorite authors (that may or may not be me, but I'm okay with that; I'm just here to deliver the news).

Maybe this is more than you care to know, but authors live this stuff every day. If there is an author whose work you love and want to read more from, then have a quick read.

For many authors (throughout history), writing is a tough gig they pour their hearts into because they were readers first.

Readers and writers: We're meant to be together 🙂

Yet, retailers often limit what authors can do or earn (though we still love 'em to varying degrees).

If you consider yourself a reader and a patron of the arts…

You might be interested in knowing that Amazon restricts the playing field by forcing small presses and independent authors to sell at lower rates. The author royalty rate is reduced by 233% (that's not a typo) if we offer large book bundles (that save readers money) for more than USD $9.99. Amazon reserves higher prices and many featured positions exclusively for a handful of large New York publishers.

Therefore, authors can offer better bundle deals to readers…and now they are in their online author bookstores.

Many traditionally published authors have formed their own small publishing houses so they can continue writing for readers after their New York publishers reduced royalty rates, marketing support, and advances. Like me, they often employ the same or similar production freelancers. (My excellent A-list narrator came from my St. Martin's Press days.)

Whether you realize it or not, many of your favorite authors have regained their rights and republished their catalogs—we are the Taylor Swifts of the book world!

Cool, huh? As a reader who buys author-direct, you get to support the author, not New York real estate offices and executive expense accounts (I know that's harsh…but so is inflation on authors.)

And really, traditional publishers want authors with James Patterson-level sales anyway. (I like Patterson, but I also enjoy a variety of books, especially those from authors I know and admire.) Still, some smaller publishers are on a true mission, so by all means, support them.

A few authors, like J.K. Rowling, retained ebook rights in their own publishing companies (a little-known fact) while contracting with large publishers for print book distribution. A fabulous win-win if you can get it. But few authors are that lucky…

Hooray for bookseller competition!

Smaller (than Amazon) retailers, such as indie bookstores and Barnes & Noble, offer a fairer deal to authors, and we WANT to keep them in the competitive arena. We'd much rather readers support the neighborhood bookseller than send someone to Mars (we're looking at you, Amazon), intriguing as that is to think about.

On to Audible… who won't allow preorders unless an author is exclusive to them. Exclusivity means library distribution is banned. Ditto on Amazon's exclusive ebook subscription service. (Ironic as most authors really like libraries.) For those in the Kindle Unlimited program, that's fine; different strokes for different folks, but you won't find those titles in libraries.

And, unless authors are exclusive to Audible, the company reduces author royalties by almost 40%, to a paltry 25% (gross, not net). Even if authors are exclusive, Audible still gets the lion's share majority.

Yet, authors spend thousands upfront for narration, production, and advertising, so that margin really matters to authors who offer audiobooks. (My finance degree sure comes in handy for calculating statistics and margins.)

Is it any surprise that Audible is an Amazon-owned company? We love 'em for discoverability, but we strongly dislike their royalty deal.

We probably won't get a seat on the Mars rocket either.

What authors really love…

Numbers and chocolate aside, authors love having online shops where we can connect with readers. When we see a reader buy from our shops, we send up a little flare of love right back to you. Can you feel it? It's real; I send a big thank-you vibration back to readers because, hey, I'm in California and we do that sort of thing. Virtual love to every reader 🙂

But seriously, our writing caves can get pretty lonely at times, even with all those characters yakking about in our heads. 

Most of us love being our own bosses and entrepreneurs. We also like using our creativity in our businesses, not only on the page. The vast majority of authors are savvy, hard-working, and enjoy having control of the work they've put so much of themselves into for readers to enjoy.

Thank you for visiting author shops and trying this new way of shopping. Please have patience as we all forge through this new landscape together. It will be worth it, I promise.

Authors are here for you; we're real intelligence, not artificial. Sweet like sugar, not acesulfame potassium 😉

Happy reading! Go ahead, check out my online bookshop.

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Where to Buy Jan's Books

  • Buy on AppleBooks
  • Buy on Amazon
  • Buy on Barnes & Noble
  • Buy from Google Play
  • Buy from Kobo
  • Buy from IndieBound
  • Buy from Audible

Jan’s books are also available to purchase in Deutsch, Dutch, Italiano, Lithuanian, Polish, and Russian. More languages coming soon!

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