Marketing support from other ebooksellers

We’ve seen that publishers and authors can drive a significant boost in sales by improving their merchandising on ebookseller sites. Amazon sets a benchmark for supporting them in promoting their titles on its site. We look at how other ebooksellers compare in this important area and some likely improvements we’ll see in the future.

That’s Amazon. What about the other ebooksellers?

Most of the principles that apply to improving your sales performance on Amazon will apply on other sites.

Sales ChartWhere Amazon wins with marketers

In three important respects, Amazon today is in a league of its own in its online marketing support.

  • The sophistication of Amazon’s site. Amazon has almost two decades of experience perfecting its systems and algorithms to boost its chances of making a sale. Publishers who understand them can tap into Amazon’s powerful advantage.
  • The (relative) transparency with which it operates. Amazon freely shares a huge amount of useful data that publishers and authors can use to improve their success on Amazon. The absence of such data is one of the main barriers to merchandising on other ebookstores.
  • The range of useful marketing tools. Amazon provides great online tools to directly access your product data on its site. This means there is simply more that you can do to help your efforts with Amazon. This is not accidental – Amazon knows that the easier it is, the more time publishers and authors will put into merchandising their books on Amazon’s site, efforts that lead to more sales and make a much better site for Amazon’s users.

The extent of Amazon’s support for marketers, and the size of its market share, mean that many publishers would benefit from operating directly with Amazon, even if they use a distributor.

How Amazon’s competitors rate for marketing support

Competing ebookseller sites, even very large ones, generally provide less marketing support than Amazon, especially for small and mid-size publishers and authors.

  • They often provide less information, and less real-time data, on the performance of titles on their site
  • They have less (and frequently, no) user content such as reviews and ratings
  • They provide few, or no, tools to help publishers and authors improve pages on their site

Because of these shortfalls, publishers must rely heavily on the metadata feed they provide to the retailers or their distributors, often with little or no customization for specific platforms.

For smaller publishers, this is usually done through a template emailed to the site directly, via a distributor, or using an online form. Larger publishers submit feeds using the industry metadata standard ONIX.

This is a rapidly evolving field. Given its increasing importance, we’ll see Amazon’s competitors lifting their games in helping publishers and authors to market their books. This will eventually extend to international markets where Amazon has a considerable lead.

As an example, we’ll take a look at Kobo and how it works with publishers to support their marketing efforts with the ebookseller.


Find out more about this topic on our Digital Publishing 101 useful resources site.


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