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Last updated on Feb 27, 2024

How to Publish a Book For Free: The 7 Best Sites

If you’ve written the last word of your book or are just about to be done, you might be wondering how to get your book out into the world… without breaking the bank. While going the traditional publishing route is definitely an option to consider, self-publishing is enabling authors worldwide to publish their books for free, all while retaining higher creative control and royalties.

In this post, we’ll take a look at 7 self-publishing services that won’t cost you a single cent.

Formatting Your Book for Free

Before we take a deep dive into each company, let's briefly cover how to professionally format your book for publication.

Several online tools can do this at no cost. One such tool is Reedsy Studio. With this free manuscript editing software, you can quickly copy and paste your manuscript into a clean interface, choose among several free book templates, and export your work as a PDF or EPUB file.

In minutes, you’ll have your book typeset and be ready to distribute it to retailers and print-on-demand services.

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FREE FORMATTING APP

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7 Free Self-Publishing Services

1. Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)

💸 Royalties: 70% on ebooks priced between $2.99 and $9.99 or 35% if priced below $2.99
🌎 Territories Covered: 13 Kindle Stores with a worldwide reach
Notable Feature(s): KDP SelectAmazon KDP self-publishing company

Whether you’re new to self-publishing or a seasoned indie author, you’re likely familiar with Amazon’s self-publishing platform, KDP — distinct from Amazon Publishing, their traditional publishing arm. Amazon, which started out as a bookselling platform back in 1995, now sells over 485 million ebooks through the Kindle Store every year, a large part of which is made up of KDP self-published titles.

Writers can upload their ebooks to KDP at no cost, and millions of readers from around the world can purchase them, whether via Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, or any of the 11 other Amazon stores.

What sets KDP apart from other self-publishing services is KDP Select, which is Amazon’s exclusivity program. If you enroll in it, you must agree to sell your ebook on Amazon only throughout a 90-day period, after which you can either renew your 90-day commitment or choose to opt out.

By giving Amazon exclusive rights to sell your ebook through the Kindle Store, you’ll be given:

  • Enrollment in Kindle Unlimited (KU), a subscription service that lets Amazon customers read as many ebooks as they want for a monthly fee. For every page of your ebook they read, you earn a certain rate established by Amazon (known as the KENP Rate).
  • Access to limited-time Kindle Countdown Deals and free book promotions.

If you’ve decided that Amazon KDP is for you, check out our detailed post on how to publish a book on Amazon in 6 simple steps.

2. Kobo Writing Life

Kobo self-publishing company💸 Royalties: 70% on ebooks priced $2.99 and higher or 45% for books priced below $2.99
🌎 Territories Covered: Online bookstores of leading retailers in 190+ countries
Notable Feature(s): Exclusive promotional tool, detailed sales analytics

Canadian company Rakuten Kobo (simply referred to as Kobo) launched its self-publishing platform, Kobo Writing Life, in 2012, and is now one of Amazon’s major competitors. For over a decade, millions of people worldwide have discovered their new favorite read thanks to its international reach (over 190 countries!).

If you self-publish your book using Kobo Writing Life, you’ll be given access to detailed sales analytics and an exclusive promotion tool that lets you submit titles directly to Kobo merchandisers for promotional opportunities. Compared to lots of its competitors, Kobo Writing Life notably has a more user-friendly platform, so that’s also something to keep in mind if you’re new to self-publishing.

3. Apple Books

Apple Books self-publishing company💸 Royalties: 70% on all ebooks regardless of price point
🌎 Territories Covered: 50+ countries and regions
Notable Feature(s): Unique royalty payment scheme

If you’re a longtime Apple consumer, you’re probably familiar with its iconic orange Apple Books logo. The California-based company founded its self-publishing arm in 2010 and has made the sign-up process fairly simple — all you’ll need to do is create an iTunes Connect account, if you don’t already have one.

Unlike many of its competitors, Apple Books has a unique royalty payment scheme — it’ll give you 70% of every copy sold, regardless of price point. Apple states that there are no exclusivity requirements or hidden fees, and authors can expect to receive payments within 45 days following the end of every month.

Read our post on how to publish and sell on Apple Books for a detailed guide and marketing tips!

4. Barnes & Noble (B&N) Press

Barnes and Noble Press self-publishing company💸 Royalties: 70% on ebooks priced above $0.99, 55% on printed books minus printing costs
🌎 Territories Covered: 590+ B&N bookstores across the USA, as well as millions of readers worldwide through B&N’s website
Notable Feature(s): Exclusive marketing programs

If you’ve always dreamed of writing something that your readers can order from a popular brick-and-mortar bookstore, consider B&N Press. If you publish with it directly, your family, friends, and fans can approach booksellers at any B&N store and order a printed copy of your book. In addition to this, you can reach millions of readers around the world — all they have to do is find your ebook on B&N’s website or via their NOOK devices.

B&N Press also offers exclusive marketing programs that’ll help more potential readers become aware of your book, including online promotions, featured collections, and genre and deals newsletters.

5. IngramSpark

IngramSpark self-publishing company💸 Royalties: Learn more here
🌎 Territories Covered: 40,000+ outlets around the world, in regions including the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom
Notable Feature(s): Global book distribution, free publishing tools and resources

If you want to reach as many retailers, libraries, schools, e-commerce companies, and independent bookstores as possible, consider IngramSpark, an online book aggregator. In a nutshell, these aggregators will publish and distribute your book to online retailers around the world for you, consolidate your sales, and create detailed sales reports that can all be found in one place — all you need to give in return is a portion of your royalties. 

IngramSpark is notably owned by the world’s largest book wholesale distributor, Ingram, which distributes ebooks and print books to more than 40,000 outlets. In addition to the global book distribution it offers, IngramSpark also has several free publishing tools and resources, including its print and ship calculator, cover template generator, and book-building tool.

For more details, check out our IngramSpark review.

6. StreetLib

Streetlib self-publishing company💸 Royalties: 10% of the book’s retail price per copy sold
🌎 Territories Covered: Author and publisher portals in 20+ countries with a worldwide reach
✨ Notable Feature(s): Website designed for multilingual support and distribution

StreetLib, a book aggregator originally founded in Italy in 2006, now has author and publisher portals available in over 21 countries across 6 continents. Its website, which is available in English, Italian, Spanish, Hindi, Telugu, and Tamil, lets you publish and distribute ebooks and audiobooks to subscription services and worldwide retailers — ideal for anyone interested in reaching an international audience!

7. Draft2Digital (D2D)

Draft2Digital self-publishing company💸 Royalties: 10% of the book’s retail price per copy sold
🌎 Territories Covered: 15+ digital storefronts with a worldwide reach, including Amazon, Apple Books, Kobo, Smashwords, OverDrive, and Everand
Notable Feature(s): Universal Links, Automated End-Matter tool

D2D is another book aggregator with a large reach, and it’s the one we recommend at Reedsy. Like IngramSpark, StreetLib, and other competitors, D2D pushes an author’s book to multiple retailers. but what makes it stand out is its streamlined website design and user-friendly interface.

It centralizes all the information about your book, such as its sales performance, into a single report, and also offers some interesting features, including its Universal Book Links and Automated End-Matter tool. Universal Book Links simplify self-publishing authors’ lives by combining various retailer links into just one link to a book’s sales page, while the Automated End-Matter tool automatically adds an author’s newly published book to the “Also by this author” section of any other book they’ve distributed via D2D.

If you’re interested in trying out D2D, make sure you check out our review on it first!

And there you have it: 7 self-publishing services you can use that won’t drain your bank account. If you want to learn more about how much money you could potentially make from self-publishing, check out our detailed post on what authors can expect to earn from their books, as well as our 8 tips for making money by writing books.

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