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Selling your eBook on Waterstones

This post explains what you need if you want to self-publish your eBook to Waterstones. If you would prefer to let us take care of listing your title(s) on Waterstones.com please visit our Waterstones eBook Distribution page.

Waterstones eBooksWe have been working with Waterstones for some time now, and it is exciting to see eBook sales rapidly increasing through the Waterstones.com website.

Established as one of the UK’s leading high street booksellers, Waterstones do not currently offer self-publishing authors and small publishers a web-based eBook publishing facility. However, if you would like to publish your eBook on Waterstones.com, we can help…

Waterstones eBook Distribution – more details here.

What you’ll need to publish your eBook on Waterstones

To sell your eBook via Waterstones online store, you will need three things:

  1. A valid ePUB ebook file.
  2. An ISBN listing for your eBook, either purchased through Nielsen, the UK ISBN agency, or another agency who Nielsen share data with. Irrespective of where it was was purchased, your ISBN must also be registered with Nielsen’s PubWeb system – contact Nielsen for more details. Please note that ISBN numbers issued by Smashwords or Lulu are not suitable for selling through Waterstones.
  3. A seller account with Waterstones (called an eBook Content Aggregator account). You can sell your eBook through our Waterstones seller account, or if you have a number of titles and are VAT registered in the UK you may be able to set-up your own account with Waterstones.

Whilst this seems fairly simple, there are a few details that you need to be aware of:

  • ePUB – this is the eBook format which Waterstones , and most other retailers with the exception of Amazon, sell. If you do not have an ePUB version of your book, you will need to create one or employ the services of an eBook conversion company. We offer a professional eBook conversion service, which starts at £149/$199. If you do already have an ePUB version of your book, you need to check that it passes a validation test known an epubcheck 1.2. This checks that the file has been created properly, which in turn should help prevent any issues with how the eBook is displayed. You can upload your ePUB file to a free online validation service to see how it fares. If your file does not pass, you will see a list of errors. If you want help fixing these errors, please send your file to helpdesk@ebookpartnership.com and we’ll let you know what is involved. If your ePUB file fails the validation, the Waterstone’s system will automatically reject the file.
  • ISBN – Waterstones are one of the few eBook retailers who take the product listing information for their website directly from Nielsen’s ISBN records. The ISBN you allocate to your eBook must be different from the one registered for any other versions of your book and, ideally, your ISBN listing will be what Nielsen call an enhanced listing. An enhanced listing allows you to include a product description and cover image within the listing, and these will then be displayed on Waterstones website. If you do not have an ISBN number for your eBook, you can buy them directly from Nielsen. We can provide you with an ISBN if you use our conversion or distribution services.
  • A Seller Account – the biggest hurdle that most authors find when trying to create a seller account with Waterstones is that you must have a UK VAT registration.  If you are not VAT registered then you will not be able to open a seller account, and will need to use the services of an eBook distributor. We can act as a distributor for you, and full details of our eBook Distribution Service can be found here. If you are VAT registered and would like to set-up a seller account with Waterstones you should contact them directly. If you have a Waterstones seller account you should have received instructions detailing how to eBooks to their system.

How we can help you sell your eBook on Waterstones.com

We work with some of Waterstones bestselling authors (at the time of writing we have two books in Waterstones Top 10) and can help you with every stage of the process:

  1. eBook conversion – we can create an ePUB version of your book
  2. ISBN allocation – we can allocate you a Neilsen-registered enhanced ISBN listing
  3. eBook distribution – we can upload your ePUB file to Waterstones

For more information please email details of your title(s) to helpdesk@ebookpartnership.com

Timescales, Pricing and Royalties

  • Once your eBook has been uploaded it usually takes around a week for it to appear on Waterstones.com.
  • Waterstones generate weekly sales reports and if you open your own seller account you will agree a royalty rate with them.
  • Waterstones will take the price for your eBook from the ISBN listing.
  • The minimum price is 49p.
  • Waterstones only sell eBooks to customers based in the UK.
  • Waterstones pay 60% royalties after VAT

If you have any questions about selling your eBook on Waterstones or any other retailer, please contact helpdesk@ebookpartnership.com.