Pros and Cons of Selling Ebooks: Is It Still Worth It?

The advent of digital technology has transformed the publishing field, turning eBooks into a favoured option for writers to share their work around the world.

While eBooks offer convenience and accessibility to readers, selling them comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

It’s crucial for aspiring eBook sellers to weigh these factors carefully. Selling eBooks can be highly profitable due to low overhead costs and a vast potential audience.

However, challenges such as the necessity for continuous marketing, risks of digital piracy, and copyright issues are also part of the equation.

Despite these hurdles, there are effective strategies to navigate this market successfully. In this article, we’ll explore the various aspects of selling eBooks, helping authors understand how to effectively market their work and establish a thriving digital presence.

selling ebooks pros and cons

Understanding Ebooks

Ebooks, or electronic books, are digital versions of printed books that can be read on electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and e-readers. They are gaining popularity due to their convenience and portability.

According to statistics, the overall ebook market is estimated to stand at $14.16bn in 2023 it is expected to grow by $15.52bn by 2028. This indicates that ebooks are not going anywhere and there can be a big potential to sell such digital products.

In this section, we will discuss the pros and cons of using ebooks from a customer perspective:

Advantages of Ebooks

  • Portability: Ebooks can be carried around easily on a single device, making them ideal for people who travel frequently or have limited storage space.
  • Customizability: Ebooks offer a range of customization options such as font size, font style, and background color, making them accessible to people with visual impairments.
  • Cost: Ebooks are generally cheaper than printed books due to lower production costs and lack of shipping fees.
  • Accessibility: Ebooks can be downloaded instantly from the internet, making them accessible to people who live in remote areas or have limited access to physical bookstores.

Disadvantages of Ebooks

  • Eye strain: Reading on electronic devices for prolonged periods can cause eye strain, headaches, and other related problems.
  • Battery life: Ebooks require a charged battery to be read, which can be a problem if the battery runs out while reading.
  • Ownership: Ebooks are often sold with digital rights management (DRM) protection, which limits the ability to share or lend ebooks.
  • Compatibility: Ebooks may not be compatible with all devices, which can limit their accessibility.

As you can see, ebooks have their advantages and disadvantages, and it is up to the reader to decide which format is best for them.

Pros of Selling Ebooks


Now let’s discuss the advantages and disadvantages of selling ebooks from the seller’s perspective. While this revenue model seems relatively attractive, there are some cons to consider.

Low Production Cost

One of the most significant advantages of selling ebooks is the low production cost. Unlike printed books, ebooks do not require any printing or shipping costs. This means that the author or publisher can save a significant amount of money on production costs, which can lead to higher profit margins.

Related: Best Sites To Get Free Ebooks To Resell

Global Reach

Another advantage of selling ebooks is the global reach they offer. Ebooks can be sold and downloaded from anywhere in the world, as long as the buyer has an internet connection. This means that authors and publishers can reach a much larger audience than they would with printed books, which are limited by shipping and distribution costs.

High-Profit Margins

Selling ebooks can also lead to high-profit margins. Since there are no printing or shipping costs associated with ebooks, the author or publisher can keep a larger percentage of the profits. This can be especially beneficial for independent authors or small publishers who may not have the same resources as larger publishing companies.

Ease of Publication

Finally, selling ebooks is much easier than publishing printed books. With ebooks, authors and publishers can upload their book to online marketplaces such as Amazon or Apple Books with just a few clicks. This means that ebooks can be published and made available for sale much faster than printed books, which can take months or even years to produce.

Related: Pros & Cons of Self-Publishing on Amazon


Ebooks offer immense scalability for sellers. Once an ebook is created, it can be sold to an unlimited number of customers without the need for additional inventory. This scalability can lead to exponential growth in sales without corresponding increases in costs.

Reduced Barrier to Entry

For new authors and small publishers, ebooks significantly lower the barrier to entry in the publishing industry. Without the need for large upfront investments in printing and distribution, more authors can afford to publish their work, fostering a more diverse range of voices and topics.

Cons of Selling Ebooks


Selling ebooks has its advantages, but there are some downsides to consider as well. Here, we will discuss some of the cons of selling ebooks.

Digital Piracy Concerns

One of the biggest concerns with selling ebooks is the risk of digital piracy. Since ebooks are digital files, they can be easily copied and shared online without the author’s permission. This can lead to lost revenue for the author and publisher.

While there are ways to protect ebooks from piracy, such as using digital rights management (DRM) software, these measures can be costly and may not be foolproof. Additionally, DRM can make it difficult for customers to access and read ebooks on different devices.

Limited Market

Another potential downside to selling ebooks is the limited market. While ebooks have become increasingly popular in recent years, they still make up a relatively small percentage of book sales.

This means that authors and publishers who sell ebooks may be limiting their potential audience. Additionally, some readers still prefer physical books over ebooks, which can further limit the market for ebooks.

Technical Difficulties

Finally, selling ebooks can come with technical difficulties. Ebooks can be formatted differently depending on the device they are being read on, which can cause issues with formatting and layout.

Additionally, some readers may have difficulty accessing or downloading ebooks due to technical issues with their devices or internet connections. This can lead to frustrated customers and lost sales.

High Competition

The low entry barriers also lead to a highly competitive market. Thousands of ebooks are published every day, making it challenging for individual titles to get noticed without substantial marketing efforts and brand building.

Dependence on Platforms

Selling ebooks often means relying on third-party platforms like Amazon Kindle or Apple Books, which can dictate terms and take significant cuts of the sales. This dependence can limit the seller’s control over pricing, royalties, and customer relationships.

Challenges in Building Customer Loyalty

In the digital space, developing customer loyalty can be more challenging. Without physical book signings, launches, or in-person interactions, authors and publishers must find creative digital strategies to engage and retain their reader base.

While selling ebooks has many advantages, it is important to consider these potential downsides as well. By weighing the pros and cons, authors and publishers can make informed decisions about whether or not to sell ebooks.

Strategies for Successful Ebook Selling

Selling ebooks can be a lucrative venture for authors and publishers, but it requires careful planning and execution. Here are some strategies for successful ebook selling:

Picking the Right Niche

Choosing the right niche for your ebooks is fundamental for successful selling. Focusing on areas with a dedicated but not overly saturated audience can lead to better sales.

Popular niches include self-help, health and wellness, personal finance, and technology.

For example, ebooks on mindfulness, keto diet, cryptocurrency investment, or latest software development trends are often sought after. Identifying trends and gaps in the market can also unveil lucrative opportunities.

Choosing the Right Platform

Choosing the right platform is crucial for the success of ebook selling. There are several platforms available, such as Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, Barnes & Noble Press, and Kobo Writing Life. Each platform has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to research and compare them before making a decision.

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing is the most popular platform, with a large customer base and easy-to-use interface. Barnes & Noble Press offers a competitive royalty rate and access to the Barnes & Noble bookstore. Kobo Writing Life is a good option for international sales, as it has a strong presence in Canada, Australia, and Europe.

Related: Best Platforms To Sell Ebooks Online

Effective Marketing

Effective marketing is key to reaching potential readers and increasing sales. Authors and publishers can use different marketing strategies, such as social media, email marketing, book reviews, and book trailers.

Social media platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram can help authors and publishers connect with readers and promote their ebooks. Email marketing is another effective way to reach potential readers, as it allows authors and publishers to build a mailing list and send targeted messages.

Book reviews are important for building credibility and increasing visibility. Authors and publishers can offer free copies of their ebooks to book bloggers and reviewers in exchange for an honest review.

Book trailers are also a popular marketing tool, as they provide a visual representation of the ebook and can be shared on social media and video-sharing sites.

On top of that authors and publishers can use a variety of marketing tools to make their lives easier.

Pricing Strategy

Pricing strategy is an important factor in the success of ebook selling. Authors and publishers can choose from several pricing strategies, such as fixed pricing, tiered pricing, and variable pricing.

Fixed pricing involves setting a single price for the ebook, regardless of the number of copies sold. Tiered pricing involves setting different prices for different versions of the ebook, such as a basic version and a premium version with additional content.

Variable pricing involves adjusting the price of the ebook based on factors such as demand, competition, and seasonality.

Successful ebook selling requires careful planning and execution. Choosing the right platform, effective marketing, and pricing strategy are all important factors in achieving success. By following these strategies, authors and publishers can increase their visibility, reach potential readers, and ultimately increase sales.


Selling eBooks has both advantages and disadvantages. By selling eBooks on a website, authors can have more control over the marketing and distribution of their work.

They can also build a direct relationship with their readers by collecting their email addresses. On the other hand, selling eBooks on an online marketplace can provide authors with more exposure and access to a wider audience.

One of the main advantages of selling eBooks on a website is that authors can set their own prices and keep a larger share of the profits. They can also offer special discounts or promotions to their readers. Additionally, authors can track where their customers are coming from and gain insights into their buying behavior.

However, selling eBooks on a website also has some drawbacks. It requires authors to invest time and money into building and maintaining a website.

They also need to handle the payment processing and customer support themselves. Moreover, by selling eBooks on a website, authors may miss out on the potential exposure and discoverability that comes with listing their books on popular online marketplaces such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

In conclusion, whether authors should sell eBooks on a website or an online marketplace depends on their individual goals and circumstances. By weighing the pros and cons of each option, authors can make an informed decision that best suits their needs.