The era of eBook publishing, has transformed the landscape of book distribution. The costs associated with ebook distribution are relatively low, only requiring a server space to set up an ebook store and start selling. Although many have ventured into ebook selling through online stores, it is surprising to note that the distribution of ebooks has been dominated by just a handful of these companies.
The distributors of ebooks basically connect readers with publishers and authors. These companies invest considerably to create and establish relationships with readers. They maintain their relationships with readers and with time, their operational costs reduce, with increasing profits.
Thus larger companies have an advantage in that, by leveraging on existing relationships they become capable of a considerable customer acquisition investment. Therefore we observe that the largest ebook distribution companies are large companies like Amazon and Sony, also joined by Google and Barnes and Noble.
Many ebook distributors have their own devices for reading the books available on their store. For instance Amazon requires its Kindle reader to read, while Barnes and Noble require its own reader Mobi. These readers provide a better reader experience, providing additional features like zoom, change font attributes, incorporate audio and video, make bookmarks etc. Sometimes a particular reader may facilitate reading of its rival format too, which goes as an advantage. Thus distributors of ebooks have an additional revenue source in reader sales too, when they have one.
For an author or a publishing company, it makes sense to have their books in as many formats as possible, as required by these distribution companies. Therefore several book accounts require to be managed, which also need to be promoted through websites and constantly monitored to ensure that there isn’t a clash of discount among the distributors.
There is also another advantage of growth, got by just growing. As the company increases in size, the company’s ebook platform becomes more sought by publishers and authors. Given the large base of users, the distributor attracts more new publishers while appealing to existing publishers to add more content. Thus there is a vice versa effect that more content leads to more users and more users lead to more content.
The eBook distribution is occurring hand in hand with a fall in traditional publishing. The sales of physical books are fast declining with ebook sales increasing consistently. This in general offers a favorable climate for ebook distribution which nonetheless contribute more to the growth of the major distributors.