Should You Offer E-book Resale Rights?

When you publish your e-book, should you offer resell (or distribution) rights? Here's what I think:

I'd suggest not offering resell or re-distribution rights on e-books that you're using as an income stream. This was probably my single biggest mistake with my own first e-book, and one I won't make again.

Why would you want to avoid offering resell rights on a paid e-book? Because you lose value. You lose value, because all of the leads aren't directly coming through you - you lose site traffic (that can potentially turn into regular readers, customers, etc.), and you lose the potential to fully use your e-book sales for list-building.

If you really want to offer resell or redistribution rights for your paid e-book, at a bare minimum make sure the terms clearly state that it can't be edited (PLR e-books obviously wouldn't be included in this example), and that the buyers can't match or undercut your own prices (you shouldn't be competing with other people to sell your own product).

I learned the hard way that resell rights were a bad idea. If people want to make money selling your e-book(s), let them do it through an affiliate program instead.

Free E-books

Free e-books are a bit different... the whole idea is to get them to spread virally, so they work as a marketing tool for you. In order to do that, you have to give people the right to distribute it. In that case, you may want to offer only re-distribution rights for it to be given away for free, or you may want to let people sell it. It's up to you. Personally, I'd opt only to give re-distribution rights in a free sense, and probably wouldn't let people sell my free e-books. Again, you'll need to make sure that it's distributed with your name, links, and other credits in tact to get full marketing benefits, so don't forget to make that clear in the terms.

What are your thoughts on offering resell or re-distribution rights with e-books?

Profile image for Jennifer Mattern

Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

Subscribe to the All Freelance Writing newsletter to get freelance writing updates from Jenn in your inbox.

2 thoughts on “Should You Offer E-book Resale Rights?”

  1. It ultimately depends on your objective. Are you trying to make money from your ebook our are you trying to get your ebook seen by as many people as possible? That’s pretty much what you said.

    If money’s your goal, then don’t offer resell rights. You may end up selling to someone with much better marketing skills than you. The next thing you know, your ebook’s selling like hotcakes, but you’re not getting the profits.

    If you can find a way to make a percentage from every book sold, then resell rights might continue to work in your favor. Is that what affiliate programs do? (I feel like I should already know that, but I don’t)


Leave a Comment