Sell Books Directly Online: Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of Sell Books Directly Online. If you haven't read Part 1, be sure and check it out.

Today's article is short and deals with accepting payment when you sell directly from your own website.

Although this isn't about selling hard copies of your self-published books, I'll direct you to a resource to do that. Read this ABA article reprinted by GalleyCat which includes a list of bookstores across the country that will take your books on consignment. Don't forget to approach your local bookstores. In fact, that would be the first stop on your quest to sell your books in book stores.

Part 1 talks about the different ways to sell directly. You can either sell through your own webpage (website, blog, Facebook, etc.) or set up shop with a website service. Or do it the old-fashioned way by hand-selling to the public. Of those two options, using a website service may cost a bit more, but it makes direct selling much easier, but I'll discuss that in Part 3 next week.

Selling Directly: Getting Paid

Selling directly to buyers isn't terribly difficult. The money issue--receiving payment, sales tax and/or VAT tax accrual--is the important factor. If you want to do it from your own website without benefit of code from a domain that helps you  handle all the reporting, it can be done.

Be warned. It can be an accounting burden depending on where you live. Different states have different tax requirements. Even cities and counties might want a piece of your action which necessitates accruing tax for those entities, filing returns, sending in the collected funds.

Point of Sale Options

If you really want to take payments yourself, I talked about how to accept credit cards in Book Sales Outside The Box. I mention Square which I use. Just scroll down to How To Accept Credit Cards.

Handselling directly to the public is for those who are so extroverted that they carry products with them and sell at the drop of a hat. Authors may speak at a luncheon and sell copies of their book afterwards. Using Square, they can easily accept credit cards for those sales. Crafters at a fair or vendors in an antique mall can easily accept credit cards with Square or other venues that have sprung up. Just remember that you have to handle sales tax appropriately.

Other Point of Sale Payment Options

There have been other options, but many have folded. Of those currently available, these seem to be good options as well as Square and PayPal.

PayPal of course with PayPal Here as the mobile option for Point of Sale.

Spark Mobile Pay

iZettle is for those outside the U.S.

InnerFence, a credit card terminal for iPhone.

Point To Keep In Mind

Remember, do not sell for less than your book is listed on Amazon and other ebook retailers. You don't want to undercut your sales there or risk the wrath of Amazon by selling online at a lower price than you've listed with the ebook sellers.

Takeaway Truth

After reading this, you'll probably be thinking that it's a heck of a lot easier to just use an ecommerce domain--especially if you want to sell a lot. Next week, I'll give you a list of ecommerce websites to make that happen.


  1. Thanks for this post, Joan! I look forward to your list next week. I've had an ecommerce site in the past but closed it when I closed my small publishing company. Now I'm looking for a site that fits my personal needs. I've been doing some research but am eager to get your take on these. Thanks!

  2. Hey, Maddie. I had an ecommerce site for the last 6 months, but I closed it because my personal obligations were taking so much time that I didn't have any left to update the site and follow up on sales. I plan to reopen later this year. Part 3 will publish March 25.