Everything Ken says is right, and he has more experience than most ebook authors in this regard.
The current thinking on distribution of your ebook, past that of solely selling it on your own is to sell it through an Affiliate program.
Take the master himself "Corey Rudl", he is said to have over 10,000 affiliates on the Web all selling his hard copy manuals on a commission.
Ken Evoy is another self publisher who went down this road with great success.
Obviously selling reprint rights has its advantages over going the affiliate route;
1. An initial windfall of money upfront over a short period of time. e.g. 20 Reprint Rights @ $900 = $18,000.
2. No monitoring of thousands of affialiates or cutting monthly checks each month.
But here are the disadvantages;
1. You cannot lower your own selling price on the ebook you sell from your own Web site, without upsetting your Reprint Right Holders. Nor can you ever give it away for free with another product, etc.
The ability to control your own price, and have occassional "special deals" like at Xmas etc is lost forever.
2. No ongoing income after the lump sum of money is received from Reprint Right Holders.
3. The income that can be generated in the long term with an affiliate program could far outweigh the amount received from selling the rights alone.
4. Although you can set the limit to the number of reprint rights you sell, there is nothing to stop a reprint right holder from having an army of sites or affiliates selling the ebook under his own name.
For example one of Ken's Reprint Right Holders allows anybody to sell "ebook Secrets" as an affiliate. (Maybe Ken is not aware of this). Thus there are always more individuals selling your ebook than the limit you initially set.
5. If a Reprint Right Holder decides to give the ebook away for free (which has happened)... It immediately puts all the other holders at a disadvantage, especially if the one giving it away for free has a high profile on the Internet.
However the problem you, I and Ken have in setting up an affiliate program is that we live in Australia and New Zealand. Most of the affiliates who sign up will be in the USA. Cutting payments and checks in US dollars, exchange rates, taxation headaches etc, can make this much harder for those living outside the US.
To ease the problems, you would have to set up a US bank account, transfer funds and then may have to file a US tax return depending on circumstances. Technically, once an affiliate reaches a certain income level, you have to report the amount of money paid to him or her to the relevant tax authority in their country.
That's why those selling "How to make money" type ebooks living in the USA don't always supply you this type of information that can be applicable to non US residents and business people.
Also bear in mind that once you offer reprint rights, you make it hard to ever sell your ebook through other channels such as online book stores, like Amazon or Barnes & Noble.... Who are then competing with your Reprint Right Holders.
Ken Evoy also had this problem, when he sold his ebook to an online book store. They discounted the price, disadvantaging his affiliates.... He quickly had to withdraw the ebook from sale at the book store.
Warmest Regards & Success
Author of the e-book
- Sell Your Brain On The Net
Ricky Higgs ONLINE – Ebook & Marketing Forum
The B.O.A.R.D. – Business Online Article Review Digest