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How to Sell Digital Products on Amazon: All-in-one Guide 2021

As one of the “Big Five” tech companies, Amazon is an obvious destination for people looking to sell goods. Amazon began as a platform for selling physical items, such as books. We’ll come back to this point, because Amazon remains one of the best places to sell e-books and to publish books independently. In this article we are going to look at the ins and outs of selling digital products on Amazon. We’ll discuss how to get started as a digital vendor, as well as what you can and can’t do with Amazon.

What is a Digital Product?

Before we look at how to set up an e-commerce operation using Amazon, it’s worth clarifying exactly what we mean when we talk about digital products. A digital or virtual product is any non-physical item that people trade. This is a big category, but what all digital goods have in common is that they rely on digital technology for their production and delivery. It’s clear that this digital economy is growing, and its growth is changing the way we spend our money. The UN’s Digital  

As a seller of digital goods, you don’t have to ship physical goods. This means that you can launch a profitable business with relatively low marginal costs, provided you have a product that is well made and in demand. Nevertheless, there are risks involved in digital commerce, particularly when it comes to delivery. You do need to think about ways of delivering your products efficiently and securely. We’ll talk about that more a little later.  

Why Choose Amazon to Sell Digital Products?

As one of the most powerful brands on earth, there are clear advantages to using Amazon to sell your virtual goods. People searching for products online spend 10 times as much time browsing Amazon as they do on all of its ten closest competitors ( ). The ubiquity and reach of Amazon is of cousre well known. But something that should interest any online vendor is the way Amazon has fared during the 2020-2021 criss. Not only has this period been a worldwide calamity, but it has fueled shifts in consumer behavior and spending, and contributed to the massive growth of ecommerce. In 2020, Amazon’s US sales alone grew by around 44%, producing $318 billion in revenue. (  

Most of that revenue comes from what Amazon is famous for: selling and delivering physical goods. After all, the platform was originally designed for the sale of physical goods, with its delivery service and logistical capabilities providing major benefits. However, you can use Amazon to sell digital goods such as music, art and e-books. Amazon itself has taken steps to capitalize on the growth of digital commerce, which should alert any digital merchant to the prospect of an increase in the volume of sales in the future. E-books are by far the most widely traded digital goods on Amazon. Here is a list of product types that you use Amazon to sell:

  • Books: e-books and audiobooks
  • Music
  • Software (including apps and games)
  • Videos
  • Education and training materials

If you have the right product, selling on Amazon can expose your brand to a huge, global audience. Unlike many other marketplaces, you don’t need to set up a website to start selling on Amazon.  

Selling eBooks on Amazon with KDP

Amazon remains the number one venue for book lovers, especially in the English language. When it comes to e-books, Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is probably unbeatable currently. One of the most attractive aspects of this platform is that it really is true self-publishing, but with access to a global market. This comes with some risks. Unlike a conventional publisher or editor, KDP does not edit your book for you. It’s up to you to make sure that your work is well written, with correct spelling, formatting and editing. If your e-book receives poor reviews, Amazon can de-list it for poor readability. You must also follow Amazon’s metadata guidelines in order to maintain your listing. A well-designed, attractive cover also helps – some things don’t change after all.  

It’s important that you consider KDP’s fee structure before you launch your e-book store:

  • Amazon takes 30% of the e-book price, for books priced at $2.99 or higher
  • If you price your book lower than the $2.99 threshold, you will only keep 30%

Digital Products KDP does not Allow

Because all the e-books sold via KDP must be optimized for Kindle, there are several types of book that the platform will not accept. These include:

  • puzzle books
  • blank journals
  • pattern books
  • coloring books
  • facing page translations (opposing pages with the same content in different languages)

Selling Music on Amazon

Amazon isn’t limited to books. It also provides Amazon Music for artists and music distributors. In order to list your music products, you can use a record label or a distributor, if you are an independent artist. There are a number of distributors that integrate with Amazon. Here’s a partial list:  

  • CD Baby
  • The Orchard  
  • Tunecore
  • Distrokid
  • AWAL
  • STEM
  • Ditto

If music is your thing, it’s likely that you’re looking for digital touch points. And as with every other type of ecommerce, Amazon has made significant gains in the music streaming market. So it makes sense for artists to use Amazon as part of their ecommerce strategy. Amazon Music’s streaming model pays $0.00402 every time a song is streamed.  

Selling Educational Materials on Amazon with Ignite

You can also use Amazon as a way to enter the burgeoning online learning market. If your educational materials and resources are well designed, relevant and easy to use, you can use Amazon’s Ignite to sell them. Ignite is designed to facilitate the sale of teaching resources. There’s a wide range of products that you can sell on Ignite:  

  • Lectures
  • Demonstration videos
  • Worksheets
  • Activity packs
  • Assessments and tests
  • Lesson plans  

You may not sell non-educational content. Marketing and promotional material is not allowed. Surprisingly, neither are books, even textbooks. Sellers receive 70% in royalties on every sale on the platform, for all items priced over $2.99.  

Individual vs Professional Plans

Amazon offers sellers two plans: professional and individual. Each of them has its own advantages, depending on the size and scope of your business. Let’s start with what features are available on the individual plan:

  • no subscription fee
  • products feature in Amazon’s catalog

As an individual seller you will be charged 99 cents for each item you sell. You also won’t have access to any of the powerful analytics and marketing tools that the professional plan offers. These include:

  • reports to help you monitor and manage inventory
  • Order management
  • Access to promotions and advanced listing options
  • Access the Amazon Business Seller Program, which equips you with a range of options for developing your brand

The professional plan comes with a monthly subscription of $39.99. Recall that individual plan sellers pay $0.99 per sale. So if you sell anything more than 40 items in a month, it makes sense to use the professional plan, because the amount you will pay to Amazon is essentially capped.  

Sell and Deliver Digital Goods on Amazon with ZeroOne

Whatever your specialty as a seller of digital products, Amazon needs to be a significant part of your strategy. ZeroOne’s Amazon integration allows you to optimize your experience on Amazon and make the most of the opportunities it affords. One of the most powerful benefits ZeroOne has to offer is ensuring the security of your operations and fraud prevention.

In addition to this, ZeroOne makes managing your online store much easier. The best strategy includes listing on multiple channels. Listing your digital goods on more than one platform makes it easier to find, increases the likelihood of discovery, and hedges against platform issues. Managing these channels and integrating them with your core business operations is more complex than it might seem at first. As sellers begin to scale, they encounter challenges and difficulties in handling inventory, communications and security. ZeroOne’s Amazon integration gives you the time and freedom to focus on the core of your business, while leaving the integration, automation and fraud screening to us.

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