The 16 BEST Self-Publishing Companies of 2024
Deciding to self-publish your book is both exciting and nerve-racking. Once your book has been edited and designed, and you have a marketing plan in place, you still have to figure out how you'll publish and distribute your work.
There are a lot of companies out there advertising their services to self-publishing authors. Some of them are reputable, but many of them are vanity presses looking to take advantage of aspiring writers.
In this article, we’ll guide you through the 16 best self-publishing companies in the industry to help you decide on the ones you might want to work with — depending on the book you’ve written. And don't forget to grab a free book launch checklist to make sure that you're checking off all of the boxes before the big day!
The beauty of ebook publishing is that any author can upload and launch their books without any outside help. Broadly speaking, you can take two approaches to this process:
- Book retailers: Sell directly through book retailers, such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble Press. These are online bookstores where your book can be discovered and sold. Big book retailers generally provide a branded ebook publishing platform for you to individually upload your book.
- Aggregators: Use an aggregator, such as Draft2Digital, to distribute to a bunch of book retailers all at once. This will probably save you time and energy, though you’ll need to pay an extra fee for their services.
When you’re publishing an ebook, regardless of the approach, you’ll get to keep the lion’s share of the profits. Most retailers and aggregators will only take a cut of the royalties once a copy of your book is sold.
But what’s best for your book will depend on your situation. Before anything else, we recommend taking this quick 1-minute quiz that will help point you toward the best self-publishing company for you.
Which self-publishing company is right for you?
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If you want to get an overview of the ebook publishing landscape then read on!
Let's start with the four most prominent book retailers. As we mentioned before, each retailer offers its own ebook publishing platform for authors to upload their books. Where they differ is in the cut that they take, which depends on your royalties and their exclusivity programs.
1. Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)
💰 Pricing: Free to upload
💸 Royalties: 70% on ebooks priced between $2.99 and $9.99 or 35% if priced below $2.99
Amazon is the titan of online bookstores — accounting for over 91.5% of all self-published books in the U.S. in 2018 — and is the world's biggest seller of books. It's no wonder Amazon is often the first retailer authors consider to sell their titles.
KDP is Amazon’s self-publishing platform (not to be confused with Amazon Publishing, their division that operates like a traditional publisher). Any author can self-publish using KDP, as long as they’re willing to upload their book files themselves.
Note that Amazon KDP is not the same as Amazon KDP Select. KDP Select is Amazon’s exclusivity program — if you choose to enroll in it, you can only sell your book on Amazon throughout a renewable 90-day participation period. In exchange for this, Amazon will give you:
- Access to Kindle Countdown Deals and free book promotions. You can discount your book and even make it available for free on the Kindle Store. 💡 Learn more about the power of discounting (and the smart way to go about it) in this Reedsy Live.
- Enrollment in Kindle Unlimited (KU). This is an Amazon subscription service that allows members to read as many ebooks as they want. It’s a popular option with over 4 million digital books currently available. A good portion of Amazon customers only read titles from KU these days.
If you’ve researched these perks and decided that KDP Select is the route for you, then there’s no need to read the rest of this post, as you’ve essentially agreed not to use any other self-publishing company. 🙂 Instead, you can familiarize yourself with the KDP Select program with these resources:
- KDP Select vs. “Going Wide” — Which Option is Right For You?
- How to Self-Publish with Amazon
- The Complete Guide to Ebook Distribution
2. Apple Books
💰 Pricing: Free to upload
💸 Royalties: 70% on all ebooks regardless of price point
Another big name in the industry, Apple founded its self-publishing arm in 2010. In 2012, the company announced that 400 million books were downloaded on Apple Books (though it’s important to note that the number of downloads differs from the number of books sold, as The Digital Reader clarifies in this post).
While Amazon has far eclipsed it as the foremost ebook reading platform since then, Apple Books still gets a fair amount of eyes. It might be challenging to figure out ways to monetize a book on Apple Books, but thankfully, it’s much easier to actually publish one. After creating an iTunes Connect account, self-publishing authors can quite easily upload their titles to Apple Books, all without having to pay a fee!
3. Barnes & Noble (B&N) Press
💰 Pricing: Free to upload
💸 Royalties: 70% on ebooks priced above $0.99
As you might expect, B&N Press (formerly known as NOOK Press) is the self-publishing platform owned by the big-box bookseller, which has infamously struggled for market share against Amazon.
However, as far as interfaces are concerned, B&N Press is easy to use — and, similar to the other big retailers, it’s free to upload your book. Exclusivity is not required to publish with B&N Press, and it’s important to note that you can even offer your ebook for free on this platform.
4. Kobo Writing Life
💰 Pricing: Free to upload
💸 Royalties: 70% on ebooks priced $2.99 and higher or 45% for books priced below $2.99
Kobo Writing Life, which is owned by Canadian company Rakuten Kobo (also known as just Kobo), is a self-publishing platform that helps writers publish their ebooks to Kobo customers from more than 190 countries— as such, it’s got a strong reach in the international ebook market.
It also comes with several perks, such as exclusive promotion opportunities, if you choose to distribute through Kobo and not an aggregator.
If you’re getting a migraine just thinking about uploading your book to all of these different book retailers by yourself, then perhaps aggregators are what you’re looking for. They push your book to multiple retailers and centralize the information into one report. You’ll be able to track your sales across all of these retailers through the aggregator’s interface, receiving monthly royalty checks. In exchange for this service, the aggregator will take an additional cut of your royalties — which means that this route is for anyone who wants to quickly save on time and doesn’t mind paying extra.
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5. Draft2Digital (D2D)
💰 Pricing: 10% of the book’s retail price per copy sold
📇 Distribution: Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, OverDrive, Everand, and Bibliotheca, among others
If you decide to use an aggregator, D2D is the one that we recommend at Reedsy. Among the main reasons are their excellent customer support, a user-friendly dashboard, a sleek website design, and probably the most important extra perk: they do the formatting for you. D2D also:
- Gives authors Universal Links. As its name suggests, these links make books discoverable by allowing authors to generate a link to each of their books, which goes straight to the customer’s preferred book retailer.
- Touts an “automated back matter” tool. This nifty service automatically adds your newly published ebook to the “Also by this author” section of any other book you’ve distributed via D2D.
Add the fact that it distributes to all of the major ebook stores and you’ve pretty much got the whole package in Draft2Digital.
💰 Pricing: Subscription-based service (starting at $16.99 per month)
📇 Distribution: Amazon, Apple Books, Google Play, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Everand, and Bookmate, among others
PublishDrive, which was founded in 2015, can distribute your writing to over 400 stores and 240,000 libraries. It’s got all the workings of the other aggregators: a modern interface and regular sales reports to keep you up-to-date on your profits. What sets PublishDrive apart from the pack are:
- Its subscription-based service. PublishDrive lets authors keep 100% of their royalties. All the company charges is a flat monthly rate depending on how many books you want to publish with them.
- Its distribution options. Along with all of the major Western retailers, PublishDrive also specializes in international distribution, giving indie authors access to foreign markets that were previously out of reach.
💰 Pricing: 10% of the retail price per copy sold
📇 Distribution: Amazon, Apple Books, Google Play, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Everand, and OverDrive, among others
Another international distributor, StreetLib gives you even more options if you’re aiming to reach an international audience. Its website is available in English, Italian, Spanish, Hindi, Telugu, and Tamil, and it offers author and publisher portals in over 21 countries across 6 continents, including the Philippines, Mexico, Egypt, and Nigeria, just to mention a few!
Originally founded in Europe, StreetLib is certainly great for international distribution, but if you plan to include the U.S. and the U.K. as well, it's also got your back. As of April 2019, it distributes books to all major Western stores.
💰 Pricing: 30% of net sales for books priced more than 2.94 euros (and its equivalent in U.S. dollars) or 60% of net sales for books priced between 0.99 euros and 1.98 euros (and its equivalent in U.S. dollars)
📇 Distribution: Amazon, Hugendubel, Angus & Robertson, Thalia, Buecher, Whitcoulls, WHSmith, Indigo, Kobo, Livraria Cultura, Casa de Libro, Flipkart, and Everand, among others
XinXii isn’t actually Chinese — it’s based in Berlin (surprise!). As such, it offers authors foreign distribution channels that might not be readily available elsewhere. Note that it’s got a particularly strong presence in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. However, its customer support could be found wanting, and its user interface is a bit on the clunky side: trade-offs that the author will need to make to conduct business with XinXii.
Author Services for Self-Publishing Authors
Now, if you’re not too far into the publishing process and are still concerned with the editing, design, and formatting of your book, then perhaps the companies above don’t quite match what you’re looking for. Thankfully, there’s one place where you can access world-class talent to take care of all three — and you’re already there 😉
💰 Pricing: Average costs here
🖋️Services: Editing, interior design, cover design, illustrations, and more
A marketplace for freelance publishing professionals, Reedsy is where authors can connect with editors and designers with years of relevant experience in traditional publishing. Each professional sets their own rate — you can get quotes from up to five of them at a time and find the ones that best suit your needs and budget.
In addition to the marketplace, Reedsy has a book formatting tool that allows any author to quickly create a professional-grade ebook and print book files for free.
Print-on-Demand (POD) Services for Self-Publishing Authors
While plenty of self-publishing authors rely on the ebook market for most of their sales, lots of readers still prefer getting their hands on a beautifully designed paperback copy. Which leads us to POD services, which allow almost any indie author to put a paperback up for sale without breaking the bank.
If that sounds good to you, here’s a quick look at some of the major players in POD. (And for a deep dive, we personally tested and compared the six best POD services out there.)
10. KDP Print
Formerly known as CreateSpace, Amazon’s own POD service has the benefit of sharing KDP’s platform. Authors already selling ebooks on KDP can easily launch a print edition by uploading a formatted PDF and cover design with a spine and a back. With KDP’s Expanded Distribution option, authors can distribute their books to shops and libraries across the globe — though it’s important to note that many booksellers are inclined to order through Amazon.
IngramSpark is owned by Ingram, the world’s biggest book wholesale distributor (which distributes print books and ebooks to over 40,000 outlets!). If your focus is on getting your book into brick-and-mortar stores, it’s worth setting your book up with this company (perhaps in addition to KDP Print, which you can use to sell your book on Amazon). For more details, check out our IngramSpark review.
💰 Pricing: Learn more here
📇 Distribution: Amazon, the Blurb bookstore, and over 39,000 other stores via Ingram
Blurb is one of the most well-known and trusted POD services out there. We particularly recommend it for visual works, such as magazines and children’s books. For an in-depth evaluation of its user-friendliness and pictures of the quality of its printed books, check out this review.
Boasting an easy-to-use interface and reliable customer service, BookBaby is also an option for many first-time self-publishing authors. To learn more about BookBaby, check out this review.
Marketing Services for Self-Publishing Authors
Getting your book published is only half the battle, of course. You’ve created a wonderful book and distributed it to your preferred retailer platforms — but you still need to find a way to make people buy it. Thankfully, there are a few companies you can turn to for assistance.
14. Reedsy Discovery
💰 Pricing: $50 per book
Reedsy Discovery helps thousands of self-publishing authors get the boost they need every month. When you submit your book, you get an editorial review in time for your launch date — as well as a chance to be featured in our weekly newsletter, sent out to over 200,000 eager readers.
In addition to reviews, Reedsy’s marketplace has dozens of experienced book marketers who can help you optimize your book’s product page, plan an ad campaign, and perfect your email marketing strategy.
💰Pricing: Varies depending on genre
Perhaps the single biggest promotional platform in publishing, BookBub offers self-publishing authors a powerful way to publicize their discount deals. Through BookBub’s Featured Deals and self-serve ads, authors can reach a range of fans of almost any genre.
However, it’s incredibly hard these days for self-publishing authors to secure one of their featured deals. Thankfully, BookBub has more than a little competition.
16. Written Word Media
💰Pricing: Varies between platforms
With a range of platforms catering to free and discounted books (the most prominent of which is their newsletters), Written Word Media provides authors with another way to connect with thousands of readers. Together with FreeBooksy and BargainBooksy (which promote free and bargain books, naturally), Written Word Media has other sites devoted to steamy romances, new releases, and even audiobooks.
And if that isn’t enough, you can find more services over on Reedsy’s directory of book promotion sites.
Whichever options you choose, understand that it may take a bit of trial and error until you finally figure out your perfect self-publishing system. There's no right or wrong way to go about it — which is all a part of learning how to self-publish a book in the first place.