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Two eBook Selling Platforms for the Casual Author

 ·   ·  ☕ 4 min read

I have written less than five eBooks in my life. I used Amazon to self-publish the book and have it for sale for two weeks now.

The above statements by themselves should be a good indicator of how much I know about the topic of selling eBooks.

But, I being me, cannot really “not write” about my fantastic research in the two weeks hence. I go deep in all kinds of useless topics, and this as “mildly interesting”. I see a ready-invite to invest my time in such topics - find stuff people say, write about, and what folks end up using.

Why should you trust me on the recommendations given the above fact? Well, no reason. Don’t trust me - I says. If you are a risk taker, follow along.

My objectives are simple -

  1. Host my PDF / ePUB eBook and allow me to charge money. The lower the charge, the better - I am in no illusions about what I offer.

  2. It will be awesome if the platform has any kind of authoring or conversion tools

  3. I would also like to offer the eBook for free for my “fans”. Who am I kidding - let’s just refer them as people who want to just take a look at another free eBook for the heck of it.

LeanPub is of course what comes to one’s mind with the above requirements. Though LeanPub has a minimum $4.99 cost of the eBook, it wasn’t a deal breaker.

What was a problem, however, was the markdown and interplay between the need to keep content open to all (on GitHub), and the structural requirements of LeanPub. I wrote about how I found an alternate solution to LeanPub before. That made me take this “road seldom taken” in the first place.

I started with exploration of sites like Patreon, ko-fi, and BuyMeACoffee.

These sites allowed me to easily upload files that I could offer to paying subscribers. I could scale the business model in the future to build tiers of premium content (what’s wrong in dreaming the wild dream?).

While BuyMeACoffee has something akin to what I want, it needed a link and not files (looking at the free plan). Patreon was stuck with me in verification or something like that, and ko-fi had the option to offer files as rewards in their paid model. I am half-broke at the time and paying a subscription fee to offer free rewards did not make much sense to my financial health.

Next, I explored sites like Smashwords, Blurb, , Kobo,Nook and even Google. Google is looking for premium authors and publishers at this time, while the others -

  • looked not so exciting (don’t ask)
  • demanded money for the simple objective I had in mind
  • would be restrictive and more complex than they need to be

Further, I explored affiliate-loving websites like e-Junkie and ClickBank, but decided against them. They would not look as professional and developer-oriented :|

I had discounted sites like BookBaby, Gumroad or Shopify - I consider them premium at what I was set to do.

So it was to be. Finally, there were three options, which were kept away from you so far to keep the tension going thus far.

1. Payhip

Create a simple eBook sale page. Upload your PDF / ePUB and you are done.


  • Payhip’s cut is 5% of the price
  • No limits on size/bandwidth - can scale to software, design assets etc.
  • Offer membership or digital goods

2. Selz

A platform that is loved by affiliates, Selz has been in business a long time and is a more generic online store as compared to Payhip.


  • Has a cut around 5% of the product price
  • Can set a zero price as well. Allows anyone to create discounts
  • Track orders with better customer analytics
  • Has better integration with multiple platforms, and geo restrictions

And, here’s a bonus :)

3. Memberful

Memberful is more of a membership site rather than a eBook hosting platform. The idea was to potentially leverage interest in the book to push towards a membership plan and continuously push premium content every week.


This did not stand on firm ground - contributing premium content weekly is a big commitment. More over, I did not have a solid subscriber base that I can convert right now.

In Conclusion

Ultimately a combination of factors pushed me to chose Selz and Payhip for two distinct objectives I have today. Let’s see on how that journey goes - will have an update here for anything that is exciting.

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Prashanth Krishnamurthy
Prashanth Krishnamurthy
Technologist | Creator of Things