How To Sell an eBook With PayPal

Selling Your eBook With PayPal Buttons – The Simple Steps

If you’ve been following along you know we have been talking about how to sell an ebook with PayPal. In the last post, we talked about how to create an eBook and convert it into a PDF file.  Now, the big question – What if you want to SELL your ebook?  What are your options?  One of the easiest ways to sell an eBook online is by using the buy now buttons available to you thru your PayPal account.  Now, this is far from the ONLY way to sell an eBook, but to me, it is the easiest way to get started selling info products online.  In typical PotPieGirl fashion, let’s walk thru the steps needed when selling an eBook with PayPal (and yes, there are pictures, too….lol).

What You Need To Sell An eBook With PayPal

When it comes time to set up your eBook for sale with PayPal, there are a few things you will need.

1.  An eBook  =)

2.  A PayPal account

3.  A Sales Page – web page online where you will sell your eBook

4.  A Download page (also called a “thank you page”) where customers can download your eBook after purchase.

5.  Your eBook hosted online via your server (don’t let this freak you out – and yes, there is an option to this.  Just stick with me here and I’ll walk you thru it all)

Since you already have your eBook, and I’m hoping you already have a PayPal account, let’s talk about the sales page for your eBook.  You can sell your eBook from just about any type of web page.  It does not HAVE to be an HTML page in that long sales-letter fashion that is so common these days.  In fact, your sales letter could actually be a video or a blog post.

The most important thing is that you have somewhere online where you talk about your product and detail out the features and benefits of it.  If your eBook solves a problem (as it should), be sure to make it clear what problem your eBook solves.  There is a TON of info online about writing effective sales copy so I won’t go all into that.

The most important thing in relation to todays post about selling an eBook with PayPal is to have a web page where your PayPal Buy Now button can be found so people CAN buy your eBook.  In this example, PayPal is the payment processor you are using.

Selling eBooks – How It Works With Payment Processors

PayPal is one of many payment processor options for selling eBooks online.  Others include Clickbank or PayDotCom or e-Junkie….and many, many more.  When you are selling something online, you need some sort of payment processor to take payment for your product.  The payment processor will then redirect the customer back to somewhere on your site so they can download or get their product.

Using my oh-SO (not) impressive graphic skills, let me show you what the simple process of selling an eBook looks like.

It’s a simple process…. A soon-to-be customer finds your sales page, clicks the PayPal Buy Now button and then is redirected OFF your site to the PayPal site for payment. After payment is complete, the customer is re-directed BACK to your site to get their eBook.

This whole entire process can be set up to happen automatically with PayPal.

Once you have a web page where you want to sell your eBook and a download page where customers can get the eBook after payment, head on over to your PayPal account to set the process up.

How To Set Up PayPal Buttons To Sell an eBook

Log in to your PayPal account and look across the top for “Merchant Services” – click that:

After clicking Merchant Services in your PayPal account you will see a LOT of options and PayPal tools for merchants.  We only want one thing from this page so just look at the top at the pictures and click “Buy Now Button” –

There are 3 steps that are available to use to set up your PayPal Buy Now button to be able to sell your ebook. Let’s look at each one.

Just a note: There are TONS of ways to make the process of selling an eBook online fancier and more complicated. My goal with this post is to NOT complicate things and show you the basic way of getting your eBook for sale on the internet. So let’s start with the basics. You can ALWAYS learn more after that =)

Creating a Buy Now Button – Step 1

Each step of creating a PayPal button to sell your eBook is broken down into separate tabs on the screen you see next. Do NOT get over-whelmed now… just hang in there with me as we walk thru the steps.

Let’s start with step 1:

Sorry if that appears confusing when you first look at it, but once you make one of these PayPal buttons, it will be second nature for you.

Choose “products”. Then choose to make a “buy now” button. Usually, “Add To Cart” buttons are made when there are multiple products to choose from so customers can put them in their “cart” and then check out all at once. Since we are only selling one product – your eBook – we only need a “Buy Now” button.

Next, give your product a name and an ID. These things will be shown via email when someone buys your eBook both in an email to you and an email to the customer. Also, if you ever want to run PayPal reports to see how much you made each month (or day or week or year….lol), you will need a unique name and product ID for each product you sell.

Give your product a price and choose the correct currency. The stuff in the middle (where I noted “Don’t worry about all this stuff”) isn’t important right now. In short, these options let the customer add things and make choices when making the purchase. For example, if you were selling a product that could be engraved, this is where you’d add the field where the customer could tell you what to put on the product. Since we are just selling a simple little ebook, we don’t need to worry about all that today.

As for shipping – usually there wouldn’t be any shipping for an eBook since it is all delivered electronically online (ie, nothing is mailed). As for tax – check your local regulations. I am FAR from anything resembling a tax lawyer or a CPA so I am not comfortable giving advice on all that.



At the bottom, choose the “secure” option. What this does is encrypt your email address in your PayPal button so those nasty email harvester programs can’t come along and read your email address via the PayPal code. This could save you from some added spam in your inbox.

Step 2 – Setting up PayPal Buy Now Button

Step 2 is mainly for people selling “real” products – things that they need to keep inventory of and only have so many they can sell. The only thing I check on this step in to keep a copy of my PayPal button in my PayPal account. One never knows when I will totally erase a web page by accident (again…) and need a new PayPal button for my product right away. It’s nice to have it saved somewhere….just in case.

Step 3- Setting Up a PayPal Buy Now Button For Your eBook

This the step in the PayPal process that makes the magic happen when selling your eBook. To me, the “magic” is when it all happens automatically FOR you. Trust me, it is super nice when people can buy your eBook and GET your eBook and YOU don’t have to do a thing.

Here is how the Step 3 tab looks and works:

The first 3 answers are No, No, and No. You don’t need any of that to sell an eBook with PayPal.

The next field asks you what url (web address) you want PayPal to redirect someone to if they CANCEL the order process and do NOT buy. This can be any web page. Many folks choose to send them back to the sales page or to their main website. It’s totally up to you.

The next field is VERY VERY important for the magic to happen the way we want it to. This is the url (web address) where a customer goes to GET the ebook after their payment is completed. This should be one of those “thank you for your purchase, please click here to download your eBook” type pages that the majority of us are all-too-familiar with =)

This download page should be blocked from the search engines with a no-index/no-follow tag in the area…and it should be located on your server somewhere that is not that easy to find. Protecting eBook downloads is a WHOLE ‘nother topic that I could write 20,000 words on so I am going to let the topic be for the purpose of this post.

Above all, just make SURE the url you are having PayPal send paying customers to is right.

The “advanced variables” at the bottom – trust me, don’t worry about that today. There are so many ways to code and customize the PayPal process, but you don’t need any of that for this basic tutorial.

When you’re done, click “create button” (and yes, you can go back and edit in case you screwed something up like I always do).

Congratulations! You Can Now Sell Your eBook With PayPal!

After clicking “create button” you will come to a screen that looks like this:

All you need to do is copy all that code and paste it onto your sales page where you want the “Buy Now” button to go.

And, as I promised, there is also a link to go back and edit your button if you need to =)

Now, that wasn’t so hard, was it?

Selling an eBook With PayPal – Common Questions

1. How long does it take for me to get paid for my eBook sales?

PayPal puts the money for your eBook sale into your PayPal account immediately after a purchase is completed.

2. How will I know if I sold an eBook thru PayPal?

PayPal will email you (to your PayPal email address) each time a sale is made. It will show the product ID in the subject line followed by “Notification of Payment Received”. The customer will get an email receipt, too.

3. What if I don’t have a website or don’t understand how to get my eBook online and available from a download/thank you page?

There is an option to having a download page…. You can simply email the eBook to each customer as the payment notifications come in.

The payment notifications will actually have a sender email address from the customer (not from PayPal), so you could easily open the notification email, click “reply” and then attach the eBook to the email back to the customer.

This is not the optimal way to do, but it still can work very well if you’re ok checking your email often. I would also be clear on your sales page that the eBook is hand-emailed and to allow x amount of time for delivery. Trust me, people do NOT like to pay for an eBook and not get it right away =)

If you are afraid of terms like “FTP” and “upload to your server” – don’t be.  Once upon a time (not so very long ago) these terms absolutely drove me crazy.  I had NO CLUE what they meant.  If you don’t know what they mean – it’s ok!  You’re not SUPPOSED to know what they mean when you’re new.  That’s why *I’m* here  =)

If you want to learn what FTP and upload to your server means in PotPieGirl-type explanation, read this post called “What IS FTP???” on my 6StepNicheSites.com blog.

4. Does PayPal charge for this service?  Are there fees?

Yes, PayPal charges a fee to be your payment processor.  It looks to be about .60 USD (sixty cents) for me for every $10 in sales.  Just check in your PayPal account in the Merchant Services area.  There is a ton of helpful info in there.

Selling an eBook With PayPal – Demystified!

Well, there you have it – the PotPieGirl tutorial on how to set up your eBook for sale online using PayPal buttons.

There are LOTS of ways to customize this process so you can do things like collect email addresses and have affiliates and offer re-curring charges (like a membership fee), but my goal here is to get you started and bust thru the fog of confusion.

We all have to start somewhere….and in a little over 2,100 words, I just got you empowered, educated, and on your way!

Now – get out there and sell some eBooks!

Learn More:

  • How to Make Covers and Images for your eBook (video Lesson)
  • How To Create, Market, and Deliver your eBooks (video Lesson)
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