Just five companies account for over 85% of the books self-published each year:
Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP): This company is owned by Amazon.com and its strengths include low printing costs.
Tellwell includes KDP as an option for distribution and printing. However, we are a competitor
of theirs when it comes to services such as design and editing.
Lightning Source & IngramSpark: These two platforms offer competitive print-on-demand services;
however, their ebook distribution offers only 40% royalties. Tellwell often uses IngramSpark for print-on-demand,
but not for ebooks. These companies do not offer help with editing, design, or publicity.
Smashwords: Smashwords offers an ebook “aggregation” service, making your book available
for sale in some of the major ebook channels in exchange for a percentage of sales. You need to be technically
savvy enough to get your book in the proper format for them. Their service does not include Kindle ebooks
– the most popular ebook option. They do not offer help with editing, design or publicity services. Tellwell
generally does not deal with Smashwords because we can get a better deal for authors by dealing directly
with each ebook platform (e.g. Kindle, Kobo, Nook, iBooks, and Google Books).
Lulu: This company has a broad range of formats and some good tools for do-it-yourselfers, but
their printing is expensive and they take a significant chunk of the author’s revenues.
Author Solutions: They operate many different self-publishing brands including Xlibris, Authorhouse,
Trafford, iUniverse, Belboa, Abbott Press, and Archway. Some of these brands are partnerships with traditional
publishers, where Author Solutions does the actual work and compensates the traditional publisher for
the referrals. Author Solutions’ two main strengths are their persistent sales force and their aggressive
Google advertising. Their downside is that they significantly mark-up the printing costs and take a large
portion of sales revenues.
How Does Tellwell Compare to the Companies Above?
With Tellwell you can get better royalties than with any of these companies.
Tellwell takes a very clear and unique position in the marketplace:
We offer up to 100% net royalties, depending on your distribution choice
We focus primarily on Canadian authors
Because we give authors up to 100% of the sales revenues, it means we are neutral with regard to what distribution
options we use. We often work with two of the above companies (IngramSpark and KDP) for part of the
solution for our clients, taking advantage of the best aspects of each. But we use other options where these
companies fall short. We never work with Author Solutions companies. We choose the option that is best for
each author. And can bring in the highest amount of royalties.
The chart below shows how Tellwell meets or exceeds the royalties of all 5 major self-publishing companies.
PUBLISHING FEATURE (
Max POD Royalty via major retailers
(before printing cost deducted) **