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How to Choose Your eBook Publishing Platform

The four most-popular eBook publishing platforms are:

compare-4-publishing-platforms

  • Kindle
  • iBooks
  • Nook
  • Google Books

For the most part, they are relatively similar in terms of offering the ability to publish and sell one’s eBooks online.

But there are a few differences so I’ve put this chart together to help you evaluate and understand why one may work for you better than another.

Publishing Platform Comparison Chart - General

 KindleiBooksNookGoogle Books
ISBN RequiredNoYes (ISBN is provided if eBook is accepted for premium distributionNoNo
File TypesMS Word (.doc and .docx), .zip, .html, .mobi, .epub, .txt, .pdf.doc, .docx, .epubMS Word (.doc and .docx), .html, .rtf, and .txt.epub, .pdf
Book File Size Limit50 MB5 MBless than 20 MB20 MB
Choose Age Group on UploadNoNoYesNo
Description4000 characters4000 characters5000 charactersnot specified
Time to "Go Live" After Upload12 hours5 - 10 days24 - 72 hours1 - 2 weeks
Previewer AvailableKindle PreviewerAdobe Digital EditionsNook PreviewerAdobe Digital Editions

Each platform has a slightly different requirement when it comes to their eBook cover images. This table gives you the overview:

Publishing Platform Comparison Chart - Cover Images

 KindleiBooksNookGoogle Books
File Type/ Size.jpg or .tif.jpg or .png/ 20 MB.jpg only / between 5 KB and 2 MB.jpg, .pdf, or .tif
Image SizeFor best quality, 1563 pixels (px) on the shortest side and 2500 px on the longest side1600 pixels by 2400 pixels (min of 1400 px wide)1333 x 2000 (sides must be between 1400 and 2000 long)nor specified
ResolutionTo future-proof content, save images in 300 dpi or 300 ppi resolution96 dpi100 - 150 dpinot specified

Platform royalty payments thresholds and timelines vary, but the majority offer electronic funds transfer (EFT) and will ask for your bank deposit information to enable direct deposits.

This table reflects the payment variances between platforms:

 

Publishing Platform Comparison Chart - Royalties

 KindleiBooksNookGoogle Books
Payments ThresholdNo minimum for EFT payments; $100 in royalties accrued for check payments$10 min Paypal; $75 for check paymentsWhen $10 in royalties have accruedWhen royalties of $1 accrued
Payments Timeline60 days after close of calendar month in which sale occurs (i.e., the October payment is for August sales)Quarterly pay periods60 days after close of the calendar month in which the sale occurs(i.e., the October payment is for August sales)2 days after calendar month ends
Payment MethodEFT or checkPaypal or checkEFTEFT or check

Like just about everything else in out highly technical world, these platforms make changes.

The latest caveat for Kindle authors is:

If your book is enrolled in the 90-day KDP Select program, Kindle Countdown, or Kindle Unlimited*, you may NOT publish the book to any other platform during the 90-day timeframe.

For Smashwords publishers:

In addition to publishing to iBooks (Apple), you can simultaneously submit to other online retailers: Nook, Kobo, Amazon (if you’re over $1,000 in revenue at Smashwords), Diesel, Foundry, Baker-Taylor’s, Blio, and public libraries.

*Inaugurated in July 2014