As of 2020, eBooks sales revenue soared by over $1 billion. Given the low barriers to entry, it’s easy to see why eBooks are so popular. Through Shopify, you can sell eBooks with almost no effort & with high profit margins.
Below, you’ll find a three-stage process you can use. So if you want to know how to sell eBooks on Shopify, check out our guide below.
Stage 1: Getting an eBook you can sell [three different methods]
Before you can sell eBooks, you need to create an eBook. However, creation doesn’t have to be a one-person show. To produce an eBook, you have one of three options:
- Create your own
- Hire a ghostwriter
- Purchase PLR content
Tips for creating your own eBook
Creating a unique eBook takes the most time out of these options. However, it can be incredibly rewarding. To start, you’ll need to pick a specific niche, or genre, to write in.
For fiction writers, you can start by reading books from currently successful authors to see what you like. The best way to learn is to pay attention to the style and tone of those who have been there. To learn more about writing fiction, take a free online course like those available through OpenLearn or Reedsy.
If you write in non-fiction, your approach needs to focus on finding solutions. Focus on an area where people struggle that you have expertise in.
A great way to find non-fiction is to look for questions on sites like Reddit or Quora. If you Reddit communities of around 100 thousand and look for specific questions related to that community in Quora, you can find your niche.
Hiring a ghostwriter
If you don’t have the time to write a book, you can choose to hire a ghostwriter. Ghostwriters write content for you, understanding that you will be the owner.
To hire a ghostwriter, you can browse on freelance websites like UpWork or Toptal. Search for “ghostwriter in ‘niche,'” replacing the word “niche” with your eBook’s desired topic. Focus on people with proven experience writing in your niche.
Provide a simple brief providing directions to the chapter. Ideally, this will include an outline and the overall goals of your piece. Regardless of whether you write it, you want it to be something you put your name on.
Purchasing PLR content
PLR stands for Private Label Rights. So when you purchase PLR content, you purchase the rights to resell it.
This is the quickest and easiest way to start your eBook shop. If you don’t have to write it or order it, there is no wait time. You can find PLR content on websites like plr.me or PLRProducts.
PLR products are great in a pinch, but you still want to be sure it fits your niche. Having a website on how to play the trumpet selling self-help books isn’t great.
The sale of PLR material also comes with some inherent risks, namely plagiarism. It’s also hard to determine the quality, with refund policies being spotty. But if you understand the risks, you could use PLR content to create an eBook library shop.
Stage 2: Creating your Shopify storefront to sell your eBook
Once your book is ready, you can create your Shopify store. To start, go to the Shopify site and click the “Start free trial” button in the upper-right corner.
Shopify will bring you through creating a store. The type of store you create changes depending on how you want to sell eBooks.
What is the best storefront for me?
If you want to sell your eBooks (or ghostwritten ones), you’ll want to either create a store built around your niche or author profile. The niche-based store can focus on you and your expertise on a subject or a brand name regarding the niche. If you write fiction books, an author’s website is more effective.
If you want to start an eBook store, you can also choose to build it around a niche. You can also choose a generalist library that addresses many topics. Overall, choosing a specific problem you solve is usually the best option, as it attracts people who you are more likely to sell to.
How do I add my eBook to Shopify?
Digital content is not something Shopify supports inherently. To sell digital items like eBooks on Shopify, you’ll need Downloadable Digital Assets installed on your store. It’s an approved Shopify partner app so it’s safe to use.
Downloadable Digital Assets is free to install, it also comes with these perks on the free plan:
- Free 2 GB of storage
- An easy-to-use interface
- Unlimited products
- No file size limitations (within your plan allowance)
Because eBooks have a small file size, Downloadable Digital Assets is uniquely suited for its use. For most sellers, you won’t have to pay until you make some real money. The app also has some protection features on the paid plans:
- PDF Stamping
- Limit downloads to a number of IP addresses to prevent file sharing
The app has a range of methods to prevent digital products from being shared by customers.
How to add your products on Shopify
After you’ve created your store and clicked the “Add app” button on the Downloadable Digital Assets page, here are the steps you need to follow:
- Go to your Shopify Dashboard
- Visit the Products page and click “Add Product“
- Enter your product details (product title, description, pictures, etc.)
Attach your eBooks to the Shopify products
- Go to the “Downloadable Digital Assets” app
- Go to the “Assets” page and click the “Upload new asset” button
- Upload your eBook
- Once it’s uploaded, click on the eBook
- Use the search box to attach your eBooks to your products
The system will provide eBook protection features for your store. To avoid piracy issues, your PDF eBook products can be PDF stamped, affirming your ownership and preventing resale from unwanted parties.
See a visual guide on how to upload your eBook and attach it to your Shopify products.
Stage 3: Promoting your book to the right audience
Your products and files are ready. Now, it’s your time to let everyone know your digital products are ready to sell. You can do this through several methods:
The power of Pay Per Click (PPC) in your eBooks
PPC Campaigns are an easy way to start, allowing you to target your readers. Non-fiction writers should focus on targeting the pain points of their audience. For example, if you have a book about building a shed, you might target the keyword “how to build a shed” on Google.
If you sell books of a specific genre, you might target that genre as a keyword. Either way, you’ll want to try out different ads in A/B testing to see what works. When testing between different ads, always be sure to change one thing (not multiple). That way, you can identify what ads work and keep the ones that do.
Social media is a necessity as an author. If you want a legion of adoring fans who faint when you sign their book, this is how you do it. Socials give you a great way for people to connect to you.
Platforms like Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram allow you to make book announcements. However, you’ll want to provide good reasons for people to stay engaged. As an author, this could include sharing your interesting viewpoints. If you are a non-fiction author focusing on solutions, you can provide free helpful tips.
Leveraging community resources for exposure
Community-based sites like Reddit, Quora, or forum sites provide an excellent base. Ideally, you are already a member of the community. However, you can also join as a newbie and get away with this.
This is fairly easy as a non-fiction writer, as you can answer questions related to your target field. By providing helpful answers, you can establish yourself as an authority in your community. Mentioning you write on the topic (with a link) doesn’t hurt.
Always be sure to provide value in your answers. Nobody likes someone who’s only in it for the money.
As a fiction author, you can use these communities for editing. Requesting feedback and providing it back is great. Joining Facebook groups of fellow authors can be an excellent tool.
How to maintain success in your new eBook business
Regardless of how you sell your eBooks, always be sure to maintain this focus: choose a subject you have a passion for. Doing so makes sure you feel involved with your work. It can never be just about making money.
Using these tips, you’ll give yourself the best chance at a successful eBook business. Best of luck with your new eBook empire.