These are platforms where it is possible to produce, publish and distribute a digital book directly online. These platforms do not have a book selection policy, so they are not considered digital publishers. The selection previously operated by publishers from among the many manuscripts and based on the appreciation of the texts is replaced by the availability of a very large number of titles accompanied by algorithmic selection and recommendation tools. The majority of these platforms offer free options, and the possibility of exploiting the maximum functionality by paying a certain amount. There are many digital self-publishing platforms, which do not all offer the same services.
Some focus more on graphic design, shaping and print-on-demand services:
- BlookUp: This is a platform created in 2011 and which offered until 2018 the possibility for its users to sell books from blogs and social networks produced on their site via an online bookstore called the BlookShop. The margin was set freely by the bloggers, added to the selling price already set by the platform. The sale of blooks could only be done from the BlookUp website. The platform took care of the printing and shipping of the books, but did not offer any additional services for the authors. The blooks created had no ISBN number. The feature was temporarily removed from the site in April 2018 for renovations.
- CoolLibri.com: Since 2017, this self-publishing platform has been used to print and receive a book. The site has free services such as instant ISBN number generation, a tool for creating book covers and putting them online in the library.
Others offer authors services for selling books on their online store and sometimes support in promoting and distributing the self-published work on a larger scale:
- Kobo Writing Life: the platform provides free access to the publication and distribution of its digital books on the site of Kobo (which also sells readers) and its commercial partner, FNAC.
- Kindle Direct Publishing (Amazon): This is Amazon’s self-publishing service. If the integration of the work in the book chain is free, there are however royalties which are deducted from each sale.
- Le Livre en Papier: Le Livre en Papier publishes self-published books. It takes care of the administrative formalities for the author free of charge (legal deposit, ISBN, barcode and legal notices). Le Livre en Papier offers integration into the Dilicom catalog of booksellers (FEL). Le Livre en Papier prints each book on demand, at a price set freely by the author, and then ships it worldwide.
- Lulu.com: This is one of the oldest platforms on the market (it has been around since 2002). It has the advantage of offering an interface allowing the sale, purchase and distribution of paper or digital books. The site allows the documents provided by the author (Word files, etc.) to be converted directly and easily online into PDF format. Conversion to Epub format is also possible. Books published by the Lulu.com platform can in some cases also be sold on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble or via Ingram and Hachette in American and French booksellers, but with a reduced margin for the author.
- Monbeaulivre.fr: it’s a simple and free platform that allows you to publish your book in paper or digital version. Monbeaulivre guides authors through the publishing process and offers advice on promoting and selling their book. Authors can choose their margin and sell their books on the online store or on Amazon.
- Smashwords: it has been around since 2008 and offers much the same options as PressBook, with slight nuances. The writer can choose to distribute only a few excerpts and then sell his complete book online.
In 2016, the Union of Quebec Writers conducted a study on the state of play of digital self-publishing platforms. It is possible to read, in the appendices, descriptions of the different self-publishing platforms, how they work and the characteristics for using them. The use of these service providers helps to blur the line between self-publishing and assisted publishing.
(Includes texts from Wikipedia translated and adapted by Nicolae Sfetcu)