There are extraordinary revenue and ecommerce marketing opportunities in the E-reader market with the growing ad option of E-readers and tablet computers such as the iPad. According to the Pew Internet Research Center's latest report ,29% of Americans own either a tablet computer or an E-reader—a 10% jump in roughly a month's time. In fact, Forrester Research predicts that 30 million people in the U.S. will own an E-reading device by 2015.

With this growing wave of E-readers, E-book selling is fast becoming a key tool for both income generation and marketing among ecommerce businesses.

Content that appeals to search engines may not be the same as that which sells a customer since search engines reward more general, more educational content, while those who are more ready to purchase are interested in features, functions and benefits. A good SEO eCommerce effort will typically support both stages or purchase which also aids rankng by search engines.

selling ebook for ecommerce

The Advantages Of Selling E-books for Ecommerce Marketing

An E-book is the ideal product for ecommerce sites because it is relatively simple and inexpensive to produce and even easier to deliver to customers. E-books by authors with expertise in their fields of interest can use an E-book to draw in significant revenue at prices ranging from up to $29.99 and beyond.

However, even at $.99 a promotional E-book can produce revenue while also providing customer contact information if you market the book to customers directly at your ecommerce site. In fact, "cheap" E-book selling is the ultimate ecommerce marketing tool because it becomes an advertisement that also generates money. The potential for higher profit margins, better click-through data, and greater insight into customer conversion rates make selling E-books an ideal tool for authors or businesses who want to expand their marketing efforts.

Offering E-Books Free Versus Selling E-Books

For those situations where you want to increase distribution of an E-book, creating a free version has value in a number of ways:

  • eMailing it will allow you to repurpose web content you create without worrying that the search engines will consider the content to be duplicated (since it is being distributed through an entirely different channel)
  • Embedding active links back to your website can be a potential link builder, especially if you encourage that it be housed on other's sites (often by creating a slightly different version of it, in effect, private labeling it for someone else)
  • There are many sites that cater to document publishing such as Scibd or Docstoc upon which you can post your free E-book
  • The chance to create an extended distribution if you break up the E-Book into segments (serialization) and have those who signed up be sent revisions, updates and expansions (keeping it always fresh versus a printed copy)
  • Portions of a fee-based or E-Book for sale can be released for free as a promotion (as is often done by Amazon's onsite previewing of a books content) as a valid promotional means

So an E-book doesn't need to make money by itself. An E-book can introduce products or can be offered as an incentive to sign up for an e-newsletter campaign or as an auto responder. E-books are a simple incentive that ensures you have access to your customers for the long term and can send targeted marketing campaigns that will invite them to visit your ecommerce site again. The real power of E-books as a selling and marketing tool is that customers will take them with them in their E-readers throughout the day, providing multiple opportunities for them to discover your business.

Key Considerations When Selling E-books On Ecommerce Sites

Whether you want to provide a simple, easy-to-use introduction to your products in order to save your support team on time or you want to make a profit, an E-book should generally be filled with practical information. Customers are looking to solve their problems, and therefore an E-book needs to make a compelling case that it addresses these needs and provides the best solutions. The content of an E-book is the hook that will make it an attractive product and effective marketing tool. (We cover some innovative and potentially lower costs methods for creating content for your eBook in another article on digital download shopping carts. See section called "Making Versus Buying Items For Your Digital Download Shopping Cart.")

One popular technique for selling an E-book is having it be introduced by other E-Books on the site, essentially "in-book" promotion. Of course, E-Books can also sell other products, or even other websites that sell your products. For example, the E-books produced by marketing firm HubSpot are particularly good examples of using E-books as marketing tools that drive customers to social media engagement, create greater awareness of the HubSpot brand, and drive future product purchases from their website. Plus, don't underestimate the power that creating an important body of information can have to a particular niche. There are many custom "newsletters" for instance, that sell for high subscription fees solely because there is so little coverage of the topic elsewhere, and yet an audience exists that has been underserved.

There are many ways to distribute "for sale" E-books. The most notable are the online bookstores like and Barnes And Noble's Pubit or Smashwords. Some of these sites, like Amazon, have restrictions such as exclusivity and/or topic/subject matter requirements, but they are certainly worth checking out as E-Book selling potentials.

Creating An E-Book To Sell On Your Ecommerce Site

From a production standpoint, E-books are so easy to create that every ecommerce site should offer at least one as either free or low cost downloads in order to boost customer interest in the other available products. You can create an E-book in Microsoft Word, an open source (Free) E-book editor such as Sigil or a more high-powered program such as Adobe PageMaker.

If you're creating something heavy on graphics, then Word won't be your best choice since placement and manipulation of graphics is pretty primitive. However, if the bulk of your content is text, then Word or Sigil will provide all that you need, as Word can export files as a PDF and Sigil creates ePub files. Whichever route you choose, a free program such as Calibre is an excellent tool for taking the next step in the production process and creating a variety of E-book file types, especially ePub files for the Nook and mobi files for the Kindle.