So you’ve just finished the Great American Novel, and it’s ready to hit the shelves. You’re only missing one thing: readers. Unless you’re lucky enough to have a book contract from a major publisher, you’ll be responsible for selling your own book, but that’s pretty easy to do when you consider the online tools out there. Some people make a lot of money selling self-published books, especially when they choose distribution methods like Amazon. But what about other methods, like the lesser-known Gumroad service? Both are excellent options for the self-published author, but which one stands out?

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Gumroad is an online platform for selling and distributing media. It allows creators, such as filmmakers, artists, and writers, to sell their products directly to consumers. For an author, this eases the process of distribution, as you can launch your book right away and it will immediately be available on their website.

Gumroad allows you, as a writer, to have control over most elements of your distribution. The fees are lower, the marketing is in your hands, and you can obtain information on your readers to help with optimizing your marketing strategy and getting the word out about future works.


Amazon is another option for self-published authors. Amazon is the most widely recognized e-commerce website currently online. However, Amazon’s policies regarding the distribution of content such as literature are a different animal than Gumroad's. 

Amazon exercises more control than Gumroad over the items sold on their website, and takes a larger hand in the marketing and distribution as well. You can also expect to see larger fees associated with using Amazon, but this may be more than offset by the reach and recognition Amazon carries, particularly compared to a lesser-known service such as Gumroad.

Which Service is Right for You?

You can’t help but feel a rush of excitement when preparing for launch day. Putting your book out there, gathering a following, and maybe even getting a publishing deal out of it. But which service should you ultimately choose for selling your book once your writing is finished? There are a number of factors that will play into your decision. 

Review Time

As mentioned above, Amazon takes time to review content before allowing it to be sold through their website, which may delay your book launch and distribution, whereas Gumroad allows you to immediately get your work to the public. If you’re eager to get yourself out there, and show the world your work, it may be better to choose Gumroad.

Royalties and Fees

What amount are you willing to spend on fees that go toward Amazon or Gumroad, instead of going into your pocket? Gumroad takes only a small percentage of what you make each month from selling your book. Gumroad will take a $10.00 flat fee, and then $0.30 plus 3.5% for each book sold. Amazon takes a little more. You’ll earn a 60% royalty rate when you make sales through their standard distribution channels, and a 40% royalty rate for purchases made through expanded distribution channels. That means Amazon will take 40-60% of the payment (plus the printing cost). So it’s important to consider how much you’re willing to spend and how much you expect to make.


Of course, you won’t see much success selling your book without some marketing to back it up. You may want support from the website you’re using. Amazon has different marketing methods available to authors, like free promotions and paid advertising. With Gumroad, the book promotion is up to you. You need to put time and work into promoting your book. If marketing isn’t your strong suit, you’ll benefit from using Amazon, or from getting help at an agency like Ironmark.

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Building a List of Readers

As a self-published author, you want to grow your reader list so you can reach out with new offerings, perhaps even sending emails when new books come out. When you make sales on Amazon, you won’t have access to the reader’s information, but Gumroad will provide you with contact information that you can put to use for future marketing.

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The Bottom Line

Both Gumroad and Amazon have some qualities that you’ll love as a self-published author, but if you have marketing skills (or the help of an agency like Ironmark), it’s hard to beat Gumroad. For help with your digital marketing, and printing your book, contact the experts at Ironmark. We’re ready to help, and our experts are eager to take on your project.

Written by Reid Broendel

When you need something done for your digital marketing campaigns, you can count on Reid Broendel to find a way. Reid has been on the Ironmark digital marketing client services team since May of 2019. Reid holds the position of Lead Digital Marketing Specialist and brings with him a knack for content management, as well as an enthusiasm for client support, able to jump in at a moment’s notice to help clients and team members on any and all digital marketing needs. From installing tracking codes, to building out emails, to planning out content calendars, Reid is always happy to help. Reid is a graduate of Penn State University, with a B.A. in Advertising. He runs on coffee and spends all his days not in the office working next to his cats.

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