I run an author interview series where I shine a spotlight on how travel bloggers write, self-publish, and market their books. The majority of authors sell their ebooks via Amazon. Still, a small group sells their ebooks directly on Gumroad, which is a viable alternative to selling your ebooks directly from your website.
Could Gumroad be the right platform for you?
The Benefits of Selling Ebooks Via Gumroad
Like any service you plan to use, you need to take into account your business needs as well as your strengths and weaknesses.
Less Accounting Headaches
When you distribute your digital products via Gumroad, this company becomes the supplier of record and takes care of charging, reporting, and paying the Value-Added Tax (VAT).
If you’re selling digital products in Europe, you have to:
- register for VAT in a European Union (EU) country
- collect consumer details, such as where your buyers live
- familiarize yourself and charge the correct rate of VAT, which varies by the European country
- Pay the VAT to the relevant tax authority in the country where you’ve made your sale.
Do you want to spend your time managing this process, or would you prefer to delegate this task to Gumroad? Of course, if you’re a big company, you can employ tax professionals to handle all of this on your behalf. If, on the other hand, you’re like most indie authors on a budget, you’re going to spend more time than you want juggling numbers.
Gumroad charges a $10 monthly fee, a 3.5% royalty fee based on your sales price, plus an additional 30 cents per sale.
For direct sales from your website, you won’t pay such fees. Yet, it’s a relatively small price to pay to have Gumroad take care of the accounting, VAT, and ensure you’re complying with personal information rules and regulations around data protection.
Multiple Payment Methods Accepted
Gumroad manages the online payment system, so you don’t have to maintain your customer’s financial and personal information or protect yourself from fraudulent use of credit cards.
In today’s privacy-conscious world, customers are becoming less likely to share their financial and personal information with an independent seller than they are with an established company.
Gumroad offers a broad range of customer payment methods, including PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover Card.
Imagine having to set up and manage vendor accounts to provide all of these options via your website?
I became an indie author to write and create, not become a part-time accountant. So these two finance-related benefits provided by Gumroad would be enough to sway my decision and have me steer clear of selling my digital products directly from my website. I would choose this third-part e-commerce site instead.
But is Gumroad the best option for selling your books online? I don’t think so.
Gumroad vs. Amazon
Consider how many shoppers have heard of Gumroad vs. Amazon. Mention the term online marketplace, and the majority of shoppers automatically think of Amazon.
But this retail giant is more than an online e-commerce site; it’s a search engine. When shoppers are looking for a product to buy online, they’re more likely to begin their search on Amazon rather than a search engine like Google, Bing, or DuckDuckGo.
According to the latest Digital Marketing Institute study, Amazon owns a 47% share of online sales. So if you’re hoping to reach the broadest customer base, you need to go to where your customers are already congregating.
With Gumroad, you have the full responsibility of marketing your digital products and driving your customers to their retail platform. With Amazon, you have a company that proactively promotes products based on customer behavior.
That doesn’t mean you should abdicate all marketing responsibility, but having Amazon on your side to promote your product relieves some of the burden of being a one-person sales and marketing team.
Choose the Right Path
When you’re an indie author or solo-entrepreneur, you can’t indulge your passions and take care of all the critical details need to run a business. The key to long-term success and growth is finding companies with strengths to supplement your weaknesses.
It may sound appealing to set up a website and sell your digital products and services directly. However, choosing the right online companies with which to work can not only save you time but also help you achieve your goals. Determine what’s important to you and then find a company that can deliver your priorities.
Are you considering selling your ebooks directly from your website? Let us know in a comment below what challenges you’re facing with this decision. And if you enjoyed this post, please share it with a friend.
About the Author
Jay Artale abandoned her corporate career to become a digital nomad and full-time writer. She’s an avid blogger and a nonfiction author helping travel writers and travel bloggers achieve their self-publishing goals. Join her at Birds of a Feather Press where she shares tips, advice, and inspiration to writers with an independent spirit.
Photo courtesy of Chalermsuk Bootvises.