Self-Publishing Platforms: Which One is Right for You? | Quick Reference

Self-Publishing Platforms - Quick Reference.

Self-publishing platforms have come a long way in the last two decades. Today, they offer a wide range of services that give authors greater flexibility and control over the publishing process. From formatting and designing to distributing and pricing your book, these platforms offer a wealth of options to help you achieve your goals. However, each platform has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, so it’s important to choose one that aligns with your budget, preferences, and publishing goals.
Discover some of the most popular self-publishing platforms for authors, along with a brief comparison and quick facts about each platform.


Draft2Digital is a platform that helps authors create and distribute ebooks to major retailers. It is well-known for their tool Books2Read where you have one universal link for your book which makes it easier for your readers to buy your book for the shop / store they prefer. Draft2Digital handles the formatting for you, and provide real-time sales data.

In Business: Since 2012.
Publish Formats: ebooks, Print books (perfect bound) and audiobooks.
Distribution: Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Tolino, OverDrive, Bibliotheca, Everand (Scribd), Baker & Taylor, Hoopla, Vivlio, BorrowBox, Odilo, Palace Marketplace and Gardners.
Royalties: Draft2Digital deducts 10% of the price you set for your book, in addition most of their stores take about 30%, this means you keep about 60% of the list price of your ebook.
Payment Methods: PayPal, Payoneer, Direct Deposit, International Direct Deposit and Checks.
Exclusivity: Not required.


Smashwords was in business since 2008. It was a very good platform that specialized in ebook publishing and distribution.
In 2022, Smashwords was acquired by Draft2Digital, over time, all publishing functions will be moved to Draft2Digital and Draft2Digital will become the name of the publishing platform. Smashwords will continue as the brand for the Smashwords Store.


Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)

Amazon KDP is a platform that enables authors to publish ebooks and print-on-demand books on Amazon. It provides a user-friendly interface and promotional tools to help authors reach a wider audience.

In Business: Since 2007.
Publish Formats: ebooks, Print books and Kindle Vella.
Distribution: Through all Amazon Stores (,,, …etc) in addition of Expanded Distribution for paperback books. 
Royalties: Up to 70% on eBooks (Choose between two royalty options (70% or 35%) depending on your eBook content and which countries it’s sold). Up to 60% royalty on paperback and hardcover books. up to 50% on Kindle Vella.
Payment Methods: Direct Deposit, Wire Transfer and Check.
Exclusivity: Amazon KDP does not require exclusivity, unless you enroll in KDP Select, which gives you access to Kindle Unlimited and other benefits, but restricts you from selling your ebooks elsewhere.


Lulu is a platform that allows authors to publish both ebooks and print books, it offers a range of formatting and design options and distributes to various channels.
In Business: Around 2002.
Publish Formats: ebooks and Print books (with various binding options), in addition to other print products photo books, calendars, magazine, cookbooks, yearbooks and comic books and graphic novels.
Distribution: Lulu store, Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Ingram, Everand (Scribd), Libri and Gardners.
Royalties: Lulu deducts 20% of gross profit, your revenue is 80% of gross profit. Lulu deducts variable commissions for print books.
Payment Methods: PayPal and Checks.
Exclusivity: Not required.


Apple Books

Apple Books for Authors enables you to have your ebook and / or audiobook available through Apple Books (which is an app that comes pre-installed on iOS and macOS devices). It offers a great flexibility with no limitations on offering free books and no price matching requirement. 
In Business: Since 2010
Publish Formats: ebooks and audiobooks.
Distribution: Apple Bookstore accessible through Apple Books app.
Royalties: 70% royalty for all ebooks and audiobooks, regardless of the price.
Payment Methods: Electronic Funds Transfer.
Exclusivity: Not required. 


Kobo Writing Life is the platform for selfpublishing your ebooks or audiobooks and reaching the millions of Kobo readers.   
In Business: Since 2012
Publish Formats: ebooks and audiobooks.
Distribution: Kobo store and Kobo’s subscription readers through Kobo Plus. Also, Kobo has several partnerships with other international online stores.
Royalties: Based on price threshold. For example: For eBooks: You will receive 70% royalty of your list price if it is greater than or equal to USD 2.99 or 45% if it is below this threshold. For audiobooks, you will receive 32% of the list price for subscription purchases and direct purchases, you will receive 45% of the list price, provided the list price is greater than, or equal to USD 2.99 or 35% if it is below this threshold.
Payment Methods: Electronic Funds Transfer.
Exclusivity: Not required.



StreetLib gives a great flexibility level and greater reach with more than 50 distribution partners. Daily sales estimates are available in addition to book formatting tool with an online editor (free up to 5 MB).  
In Business: Since 2006
Publish Formats: eBooks and Audiobooks.
Distribution: StreetLib Store and more than 50 distribution partners worldwide, including: Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Bidi, BookBeat, Casa del Libro, Decalibro, Odilo, OverDrive, Bibliotheca, Everand (Scribd), Baker & Taylor and more.
Royalties: 10% for ebooks and 20% for audiobooks. 
Payment Methods: Bank transfer, Payoneer or PayPal (if you live in USA or Canada). Bank transfer or PayPal  (If you live outside USA and Canada).
Exclusivity: Not required. 


Choosing between self publishing platforms can be confusing and challenging. We hope that this quick comparison brought you closer to making a more informed decision. The question, "Which is the best self publishing platform?" has no single correct answer. It all relies on your objectives, the markets and readers you are aiming for. Since most self-publishing sites don't require exclusivity, you'll have greater freedom to experiment with different combinations and choose the one that works best for you. Some of the information provided above is subject to change, so we strongly recommend that you double-check them on the self-publishing platform website. Also, pay close attention to the earning/royalty calculation; variable costs may apply in the event of distribution through partners, which are added to the proportion deducted by the self publishing platform you choose to deal with.

On March 15, 2024, we ran a quick poll on reddit (on a subreddit specialized in self publishing with 12K members) to answer the question, "Which one is your favorite self publishing platform that you always use to publish your books?". The findings were intriguing despite the low response rate; Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) garnered the most votes (15), followed by Lulu (3 votes), Draft2Digital (2 votes) and StreetLib (1 vote). These surveys are helpful as they reveal the preferences of self-published authors. Repeating this poll in different communities and aiming for higher response rates, will definitely provide more insightful information and clearer trends. As a self-published author, we'd also like to ask you, What's Your Favorite Self Publishing Platform? and Why? Share your experience in the comments section below.


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