In my last post, I said that, over the lifetime of a book, it could be cheaper to go with BookBaby because you pay an upfront fee per book and that’s it. BookBaby doesn’t take a cut of each sale.
Keryl Raist over at To Publish or Not To Publish wrote a post comparing royalty rates between BookBaby and Smashwords. At this time, you’ll get a better cut per sale at Smashwords for most third party venues. The exception is the iBookstore.
Whether to go with BookBaby or Smashwords is going to depend. If you do most of your sales through the iBookstore, BookBaby might be the better deal. Once you’ve recovered your $99.00, every subsequent sales cut is pure profit. If you don’t sell many copies at the iBookstore, then it could turn out that, over the lifetime of the book, you’ll do better with Smashwords.
As usual, there isn’t a one size fits all answer.
For example, I often read that authors at Smashwords will make 85-90% of their sales through Smashwords’ third party partners. That hasn’t turned out to be true for me. For some reason, I sell more books through the Smashwords site itself, where I earn 85% per sale (minus the transaction fee—you don’t really get 85% of a sale at Smashwords; I usually get around 77%).
So again, case by case. Every book is different, so sometimes it can take a little experimentation and sales data to figure out what’s best for a specific book.