Today, we’ll check out one of the newest entrants into the battle of self-publishing distribution companies, Publish Drive. In order to do that, I've signed up, set up some books, and played around with their system and offerings. So, with that, let's check out the full Publish Drive review and see whether or not it makes the cut as a great book distribution service. Also, whether or not I'll be changing from the service I am currently using.
By the way, if you aren't familiar with book distribution services and how the different ones compare, be sure to check out my comparison of the top distribution services side-by-side article to include Smashwords, Draft2Digital, and the newest, Publish Drive.
So, with that, let's take look at PublishDrive.
In this Publish Drive review you will learn:
- The services offered by Publish Drive
- How Publish Drive’s pricing impacts your author earnings
- The distribution options provided by Publish Drive
- What Publish Drive Abacus can do for Co-Authors
PS: If you want to just jump to my conclusion and skip the specifics, click here.
*Time for a quick disclaimer. I am using affiliate links in this article. But that in no way affects my opinion of PublishDrive. These links cost you nothing to click. They just help keep my coffee cup full in order for me to continue giving you quality content.
Now with that out of the way, let’s get started!
First Things First: Is Publish Drive Trustworthy?
Unfortunately, there are a lot of scammers out there looking to take your money without providing any real value in return. Thankfully, nonprofits such as the Alliance of Independent Authors have your back, and they rank Publish Drive as ‘excellent’.
Now that you know you can trust Publish Drive, what’s their origin story?
In a nutshell:
- Co-founded in 2015 by Forbes rated entrepreneur Kinga Jentetics in response to her struggle in publishing her master's thesis
- The company was assisted by Google Launchpad, an incubator service providing six months of mentoring and funding directly by Google
And, personally knowing Kinga, she's a fantastic person who is dedicated to the company and improving it. Therefore, I can safely say that they are very trustworthy as a company.
What Services Does Publish Drive Provide?
I took the time to sign up to Publish Drive and check out its inner workings. This saves you the time and effort of having to sign up yourself without knowing if Publish Drive is a good fit for you.
I’ve broken their services down into four key aspects:
- Book Formatting and Uploading
- Marketing Services
- Payment and Sales Reports
|Accepted Formats||.docx and epub|
|Who Does the Formatting?||You do!|
|Distribution Network||Amazon, Apple Books, Google Play Books, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Scrib,Overdrive.com, Dangdang, CNPeReading, Playster, Odilo.es, Bookmate.com,Gardners.com, Mackin.com, Perlego, Ciando.com,24symbols.com, bibliotheca,e-sentral.com, ekonyv.hu, bookshout! Tolino, e-letoltestookbook.com elefant.ro|
|Extras||Advanced Marketing Features and Amazon Advertising Credit|
Let’s check out the key things you need to know about each of the four services provided by Publish Drive. We’ll then take a deep dive into each service to show how it functions from the inside.Are you looking for one of the best eBook distribution companies around? Check out PublishDrive! Their high-octane services may be just what you need to get your book in gear! #selfpublishing #amwritingClick To Tweet
1 – Book Formatting and Uploading
Unsurprisingly for a distribution company, Publish Drive offers the ability to upload your book.
Important to note: Publish Drive now allows you to distribute paperbacks and audiobooks, as well. However, uploading a paperback will cost you extra.
So what are the key things you need to know about Publish Drive’s offering in this area?
- You can upload either docx or epub formats
- Publish Drive does not suggest using a pdf manuscript — as it often converts badly. A paid conversion service is available if you need it, or you can check out my free article.
- Your ebook must pass the validation process as stated by the International Digital Book Forum
You can see this process in action later in the article.
2 – Marketing Services
As you probably know, I’m all about book marketing! As a result, it was nice to see Publish Drive emphasizing the importance of marketing for authors.
But what do they actually enable you to do when it comes to marketing your ebook?
- Amazon Advertising. If you’ve seen my free course on Amazon Advertising, you’ll know I’m a strong advocate of using it the right way. If you go with Publish Drive’s subscription model, you even get some Amazon Advertising credits to experiment with. This is key because if you publish using a different distribution system on Amazon, those others will not allow you to do Amazon ads.
- Price Promotions. You can set price promotions for the stores which allow this within the Publish Drive user environment.
- Review Copies. You can quickly and easily generate review copies to hopefully bring some positive professional attention to your next book.
Publish Drive states they are looking to expand on their in-service marketing capabilities in the future, so keep an eye out for further info.
3 – Distribution
One of the primary reasons to use a self-publishing distribution company such as Publish Drive is the ease of having your work distributed to different bookstores — and having your sales data from each avenue collected conveniently.
So what does Publish Drive bring to the table when it comes to distributing your book?
- International distribution. If you’re an international book publisher, Publish Drive has a lot to offer. You can distribute in different territories, and even adjust your pricing and rights for a specific region.
- Wide. Publish Drive distributes to a wide range of bookstores. You can check out the full list along with royalty rates and other info here.
Let’s check out the final piece of the Publisher Drive puzzle–getting paid!
4 – Payment and Sales Reports
For many authors, it can be tiresome and stressful to keep accurate and meaningful records of their sales information.
Thankfully, this is one area where Publish Drive really shines. The reporting is great, and the user interface is clear and intuitive, as you will see a little later.
So what are the key facts about getting paid with Publish Drive?
- Payment methods. Publish Drive can pay you out via Wire Transfer, Bank Transfer, Check, Paypal, Intercash, or Payoneer.
- There is a $5 minimum threshold for payouts. You can set your own payment threshold.
- The process for getting paid via Publish Drive is shown below.
Now that you have an overview of what Publish Drive can do for you, let’s check out what you’ll be giving them in return.
How Much Does It Cost To Use Publish Drive?
Publish Drive now offers a subscription-based service. Below, you'll see the pricing for authors–but there's a publisher's tab too with even more options.
Here's the rundown:
- Publish Drive is now free to use for one of your titles, provided that title is an eBook. No royalty share.
- If you'd like to distribute more than one book in more than one format, Publish Drive will cost $19.99 and upwards per month depending on your needs.
- The more titles you have, the more it will cost you to distribute them per month.
- You can also split royalties for collaborative publishing projects for $2.99 per title per month. The first title is forever free.
- Importantly, each format of the same book counts as a new title. Effectively, you could not distribute the paperback or audiobook version of your book without paying extra.
- If you sign up to Publish Drive hoping to distribute a paperback with the free plan, you'll be disappointed. Print book distribution is not included in the free title distribution plan.
Now you know what Publish Drive offer you as an author, and what you will give up in return. While PublishDrive seems to be making a lot of moves and adding a lot to their offering, I do not think this justifies the cost. I, personally, will be continuing to use Draft2Digital for my books.
If you like the idea of the service so far, you won’t want to miss this deep dive inside their user environment, so you can see exactly what it’s like to distribute your books through Publish Drive.
Publish Drive Review: Look Inside The Service
I’ve always believed it’s one thing knowing the facts about a publishing service, and it’s another entirely to actually get hands-on and use the service in a lot of detail. So, to really see what Publish Drive was like to use, I took the time to sign up and take a look inside the service.
Let’s check it out!
Signing Up To Publish Drive is Simple
Publish Drive allows you to sign in through your own registered account, or via any of the main social networking platforms.
After entering those details, you are taken to the welcome screen seen here:
The first thing Publish Drive asks you to do is set a goal. This is basically your reason for using their service, and the stage of your author journey you are at.
After choosing a goal, it’s time to enter your Publisher info. You can also choose your language and main category. No sci-fi? Madness!
Next, it’s time to specify the legal information relating to your publishing operation. If you want to know more about the legal aspects of self-publishing, check out my article!
That’s all it takes to get started. Not too arduous at all!
So once you’ve created your Publish Drive account, what’s it like to use the service?
What Publish Drive Looks Like on the Inside
When you first access the Publish Drive user environment, you see the following screen:
As you see, you can quickly switch between tabs showing your sales summary, by day, as seen above, and your live statistics, as shown below:
This is cool to see as it breaks down your book’s performance by different stores, and allows you to quickly check out trends for each.
The final tab is a breakdown of sales by title, as seen below:
Aside from the three tabs of the main screen, the Publish Drive user environment is broken down into:
I don’t currently have my books uploaded to Publish Drive, but you can easily see your range of titles in that option.
The ‘Marketing’ section of Publish Drive looks like this:
As you see, three options are offered, one paid and three free.
I like the simple and clear user interface for the marketing section. I feel there are probably a few more avenues the company could offer, but they state they are looking to expand on this area of their business.
When you check out the ‘sales’ section of Publish Drive, you are quickly given a clear and concise summary in three key areas, as seen below:
This is good as it requires no math at all! You can quickly see what you’ll actually earn without having to calculate percentages or anything else.
Aside from the main three pieces of data offered above, Publish Drive allows you to quickly and easily see:
- Your best performing categories
- Best performing countries
- And earnings by store and country
The other main feature found within the Publish Drive user environment is the option to ‘add a book’, as seen below.
As you can see, adding a book to Publish Drive is a seven step process, consisting of:
- Uploading an ePub or docx file, plus a cover image, with jpeg the preferred format
- Setting the creators of the book, including rights for coauthors
- Adding metadata for your book
- Selecting the relevant categories for your book
- Setting your pricing option
- Confirming the rights for your title
- Choosing the particular distribution channels that will be used
The user interface for this is clear and concise, and you can save a draft upload midway. This is great for when life gets in the way, and you have to come back to your upload a little later!
Publish Drive Abacus for Co-Authors
But what if you're a part of a collaboration of authors? Things can get pretty hairy when it comes to royalty dividends and data sharing.
HOWEVER… Publish Drive has come up with an awesome new software that helps you to overcome that hurdle.
Publish Drive Abacus.
Abacus sets out to achieve three major goals:
- Calculate royalties between co-authors
- Provide each contributor with detailed reports
- And streamline the entire accounting process
Now, Abacus is geared directly toward author groups and collaborations that publish on Amazon–and that includes Kindle Unlimited. In order to get started, all you need to do is sign into your Publish Drive account and choose Abacus. Afterward, use their drag-and-drop mechanism to apply your KDP Sales .acx or Publish Drive report. It's that easy.
If you're part of a co-authoring group, Publish Drive Abacus is definitely a feature you need to think about when considering Publish Drive. Check out Producthunt for some more great info on Abacus!
Now that you know exactly what it’s like to get hands-on from this Publish Drive review, let me offer you some thoughts on its advantages and disadvantages.
Publish Drive Review: Pros and Cons
These are some of the major highlights of advantages and disadvantages for Publish Drive, and all things considered… Publish Drive is actually a pretty sweet platform. Now, if you're heading into the arena of Paperback and Hard Cover publishing, this isn't place for you. But if you're looking to self-publish your next eBook… You should consider taking a gander at Publish Drive!
My Personal Take on PublishDrive…ehhh
While PublishDrive is extremely well put together and an intuitive program and does offer more programs and capabilities than the others, it won't serve my purposes and thus, wouldn't be worth the extra $19.99 to use them. Let me explain…
I personally upload my books to Amazon, B&N Press, iTunes and Kobo. I do this without using a distribution service like PublishDrive because I get more control on how the books turn out–and they DO look better. Furthermore, those 4 markets account for 99% of my sales.
So, why would anyone use a Distribution Service at all?
Because, I DEFINITELY will not personally upload my book to the 55+ other book markets, of which only account for 1% of my sales. Instead, I'll use a Distribution Service and tell them to disseminate my books out to the other markets. This way, they help me make money I wouldn't have normally received–they basically earn their paycheck.
From these other markets I have only received about $7,000 over the past 5 years. Since the other companies only take 5% of the total sale, and PublishDrive costs $20 per month, I have only paid my favorite distribution service $350. Whereas with PublishDrive I would have paid $1200 in total. Plus the features PublishDrive offers would not have helped me with those other markets.
Therefore, while they are nice, they wouldn't be worth it to me. I'd only recommend PublishDrive over the others if a) you only wanted to use 1 market and did not intend to publish a book on Amazon yourself, if b) you wanted to start a publishing company and needed something like Abacus…which is seriously cool.