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How to Make Money Selling Ebooks in 2024


Everyone knows that a free ebook is one of the best lead magnet strategies for businesses of any size. But if you’re an author looking to earn some income you can make money from selling ebooks. Writing ebooks for money is also a common form of passive income, preferred by some, especially after the pandemic.

In fact, ebooks are in popular demand, so much so that ebook sales have exploded in the past few years, and the growth is expected to continue to grow at a steady annual rate of 3.92% up to 2028 internationally.

Even though free ebooks offer value to the subscriber exchanging their email for the download, paid-for ebooks must deliver a wealth of valuable information plus actionable advice for the reader.

In this article, we'll help you learn why ebooks are great for earning passive income, and share tips and guidelines for where and how to sell your ebooks.

Quick Read

  • Ebooks are not just for lead magnets but make a great source of passive income that can help you to make money in the long term.
  • You can use several sites to sell your ebook, including Visme, Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, Smashwords, Rakuten Kobo, Sellfy, Payhip and Gumroad.
  • Choosing the right file type and formatting for your ebook is essential. File types include Printable PDF, Interactive PDF, Multimedia/Interactive HTML5 or EPUB.
  • To sell your ebook, you should know your audience, get an ISBN, write and design your ebook, create an eye-catching cover design, publish and share it, price it, create a landing page, promote it, track sales and nurture leads.
  • With Visme, you can choose from a wide range of beautifully designed ebook templates to get started, access intuitive editing features, or publish your ebook with a shareable link.

Why Ebooks Are Good For Passive Income

Passive income is one of the most sought-after sources of income today. It means you're able to generate income with minimal labor involved. In other words, work less and earn more. Who doesn’t want that, right?

Well, ebooks are a great addition to any passive income strategy. The hard work starts at the beginning, and once it’s done, all you need to do is maintain your sales and marketing. Once you create an ebook, market it and share it, it can technically sell itself.

To make money writing ebooks takes a decent amount of effort to write valuable content. Not to mention, building a strong brand that will carry your ebook to success is not an overnight task.

But when you do set everything up correctly, ebooks can help you make money for a long time. In fact, the more evergreen your content is, and the more you keep promoting and updating it, the longer the life of your ebook.

Need more convincing? Here are some reasons why ebooks are great for passive income:


They’re relatively easy digital products to make.

Even though an ebook will take work to put together and publish, it’s still a much easier digital product to create than a multi-lesson online course. You might even have most of the content in your blog post articles that can together create the foundation for an ebook.

Templates also make ebook creation a lot easier than starting from scratch. Using them also increases your chances of creating a successful ebook.

Visme, for example, offers pre-designed multipage templates in lots of different designs and for a variety of industries.

Putting the ebook together once you have the content is pretty straightforward. If you’re working with a team inside your company, then it’s even easier. Using collaboration tools makes ebook building an accessible and inspiring activity.

Plus, even if it takes you a while to create your first ebook, it will be much easier to make more. Why? Because you'll learn from the failures and successes of your last ebook (or ebooks) and make sure your future works are best-sellers.

Beyond being an easy digital product to make, you can easily sell your ebooks online. In the latter part of this article, we’ll discuss how to sell an ebook online.

They make for great lead magnets.

Collecting leads for your business is a vital step in the marketing funnel. Ebooks are great lead magnets because you are offering value as you get the person’s email. Many people create free ebooks in exchange for a sign-up, so your paid ebook must provide more value than a free one.

The best ebooks, specifically the ones that are most suited for passive income, are the ones that offer evergreen content. A good example of evergreen content is a topic that won’t change or evolve too fast after you’ve written it.


They help with link building.

Ebook creation and promotion generally need a landing page on your website as the lead generation starting point. Add the landing page URL to relevant blog posts and other content on your site.

Likewise, other people can add your link to their content, and you can share the landing page directly on social media.


6 Sites to Help You Sell Ebooks

Selling ebooks needs a good and trustworthy platform. There are many publishing and distribution options, big and small. Choose the one that works for you.

If your ebook is not in the file type your publisher or distributor asks for, there are plenty of free online converters. Additionally, if you have the content and want someone else to convert it to ebook format manually, you can find many people on Fiverrr who offer this service.

In this section, we’ll show you where to sell ebooks and how to get started.


1. Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing

Amazon kindle direct publishing logo

Amazon is one of the largest online platforms for selling digital ebooks. Publishing your own ebook is one of the most popular ways to make money on Amazon, which can potentially make $1000+ a month.

Ebooks on Amazon are published using Kindle Direct Publishing. KDP will request that you upload your manuscript, which should meet certain requirements. You can upload Microsoft Word files, EPUB and their signature Kindle file type, KPF.

Choose to publish it as an ebook, paperback or both and once it’s been accepted by Amazon, your ebook will be available to readers worldwide.


2. Smashwords

Smashwords is an ebook publisher and distributor that offers lots of solutions for new and experienced ebook writers. You can upload a Word document or an EPUB file. They turn it into a digital ebook product and distribute it to all major ebook consumer platforms.


3. Rakuten Kobo

Rakuten Kobo is another ebook publisher and distributor offering to sell your ebooks on their site and many other distribution sites. To publish with Rakuten Kobo, simply follow the steps on the website. You can upload Microsoft Word and EPUB files, among others. They also offer solutions for selling audiobooks and even have their own digital readers for sale.


4. Sellfy

Moving away from sites that concentrate on ebooks alone, there’s also Sellfy — a digital product marketplace where you can sell any digital product for download. You can sell directly from Sellfy or use the link on your website.


5. Payhip

Another digital download marketplace is Payhip. To sell an ebook on Payhip, it has to be ready as the file type of your choice. For a site like this, you’re better off selling your ebook as an EPUB. Sell with a Payhip link or add the link to a button on a landing page.


6. Gumroad

Gumroad logo

Finally, we have Gumroad — this online marketplace allows users to create a store to sell digital products such as courses, memberships, and ebooks. You have a bit more control over where and how your ebook is marketed as well as the price for an ebook when compared to other platforms.

Ready to use any of these platforms? You can start raking in your ebook profits by pairing Visme with any of the tools we’ve shared.


Ebook File Types and Formatting

People have different ways of consuming content, and that’s why your ebook should be easy to read in a variety of digital formats. Also, there’s no golden rule that says your ebook must be in a vertical orientation.

For example, reading an ebook on a laptop is easier when it’s horizontal as the entire page is visible. The choice you make depends on how you expect your readers to view the ebook.

The next choice you need to make is the format and file type. There are four commonly used ebook formats and file types:

  • Printable PDF
  • Interactive PDF
  • Multimedia/Interactive HTML5
  • EPUB

The file format you choose will mostly depend on your ebook's style. Many ebooks are just plain text, resembling a paper book but digital. Think Kindle readers, for example.

Other ebooks are highly visual and have more of a magazine feel, with large images and creative fonts. Furthermore, an ebook can be interactive with videos, animations and even sound.

But what’s the difference? Let’s take a look.


Printable PDF

The classic printable PDF is one of the most common digital formats for transforming paper books and documents into online versions. Essentially, a PDF ebook can be printed and bound or read on a digital device.

The main downside with a static PDF ebook format is that the pages aren’t responsive on screens, and the viewer needs to zoom in and out to read small text.

Your best use of a printable PDF is to offer one as an option to the reader. Create an interactive PDF or digital experience and provide a printable PDF download as an option.


Interactive PDF

A great way to improve a regular PDF ebook is to make it interactive. Add hyperlinks, in-document navigation, informational popups, videos and interactive data visualizations.

Downloading interactive PDFs will only keep the links; everything else will deactivate. To share the full interactive version with the reader, you’ll need to share your ebook via a link and offer the option to download the less interactive version.


Multimedia/Interactive HTML5

Like an interactive PDF, you can share your multimedia interactive ebook as an HTML5 file or via a live link. Of all the formatting options, this is the one we like to call “a digital experience” due to the multimedia capabilities.

Not only can you add links, videos and popups, but you can also add animated elements and transitions between pages.

Pro Tip: With Visme, you can create printable and interactive PDFs and multimedia, interactive and animated digital experience ebooks. All of these can be password-protected. Plus, your viewer can choose to download a static PDF version right from the toolbar.



EPUB is the universal ebook file format legible by most digital readers. To create an EPUB ebook, use a design tool like Adobe InDesign or Pages from Apple. Thankfully, you can also convert PDF files into EPUB files. But the best conversion suggestion is from HTML5 to EPUB.

You’re much better off publishing as an EPUB than a PDF for professional ebook publishing and distribution. EPUB ebooks are responsive and fit better on digital readers for easy reading.


Tips to improve your ebook design.

Regardless of whether you’re using a template or not, these design tips will help. Each section has a link to more helpful reading about design. Open them in a new tab to read later.

  • Font choice: Use no more than two fonts (or two styles of the same font) in your ebook—one for the headings and the others for body text. Great fonts for body text are; Lato, Garamond and Verdana. Choose the one that best matches your brand voice and tone.
  • Color palette: Choose a color palette that won’t tire the reader. Avoid using color for the main body text and stick to black or a very dark gray. For the visuals, stick to the same balanced color palette for illustrations, data visualizations and even for photography.
  • Visual hierarchy: Follow the rules of visual hierarchy on every page of your ebook. Also, apply flow hierarchy from page to page. Every section starts with a large title, maybe a smaller subtitle and then the body content in a regular size. Further down in the hierarchy could be footnotes and image captions.
  • Margins and spacing: One of the biggest mistakes made by non-designs is to forget about the margins. Give your ebook page margins big enough to make the content feel like it's floating in the center of the page. Maintain the same margin for every single page. The only exceptions are full-width images.
  • Page numb​​ers: Remember to number the pages in your ebook, but do so at the very end. You don’t need to put a page number on the cover, info page, or table of contents. Most document creators can number the pages automatically, look for that before trying to number the pages manually.


5. Create an Eye-Catching Ebook Cover Design

Create a clever and exciting ebook cover design with the target reader/user persona in mind. Use visuals that will be attractive or relatable to them. Remember that the cover design will not only be part of the ebook itself; you’ll also use it in a mockup to promote the ebook.

The cover design should include the following elements:

  • Ebook Title
  • Subtitle
  • Author
  • Company Name/Logo
  • Brand Colors and Imagery

Even though people say to “not judge a book by its cover,” you can bet that people will do just that, regardless. Make sure the cover is inviting and makes sense with the topic of the book.

Use visual hierarchy to organize the content. For example, the title has the largest font, then the subtitle and finally the author name. You can see this in the example below.

Selling Ebooks FAQs

Q. Where Can I Sell My Ebooks?

There are various online platforms where you can sell your ebook. Some of the top platforms to consider are Visme, Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, Smashwords, Rakuten Kobo, Sellfy, Payhip and Gumroad.

Q. Is It Profitable to Sell Ebooks?

Ebooks are profitable, but simply publishing one is not enough. eBooks are profitable when they are marketed and sold properly with intent. Some authors who use Amazon to publish their ebooks can potentially make $1000+ a month.

Q. How Much Can You Make Selling Ebooks?

You can make a lot of money selling ebooks. However, the question—how much do ebooks make?—isn't cut and dried. The amount of money you make from selling ebooks depends on a lot of factors, including the cost of your book, additional expenses such as ebook platform fees and how well it’s received by its audience.

Q. Which Ebooks Sell the Most?

Bubble Cow found that the five top-selling ebook categories were religion and spirituality, biographies and memoirs, business and money, self-help and cookbooks or those focused on food and wine.


Write and Sell Ebooks to Generate Passive Income

Ready to start making money selling ebooks? In this guide, we've shared all you need to know to get started, from writing, designing and publishing an ebook to several possible sites to sell your ebook through.

Adding an ebook to your passive income strategy might be just what you need for the next quarter. There’s surely a wealth of knowledge you could share with readers, or maybe a fictional story or memoir you’ve been working on. Inspiring ebooks do well also in both business and self-help circles.

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