sell pdf files

Thinking of increasing your income? Here’s a crazy idea: sell PDF files online. Pioneered by bloggers trying to earn a living this method seems to be everybody’s favorite nowadays. However, selling digital products isn’t as easy as it sounds but some online platforms made an effort to help you. Therefore, if you want to sell PDF files my research could be very useful to you. Take a look!

What type of PDF files should you sell

First of all the PDF’s been around for almost three decades now and it proved to be quite versatile. The beauty of it consists of its compatibility with most of the smart devices we use today. Please take a moment to think about that. Also, the PDF supports any kind of documents, it doesn’t require physical storage and it lasts forever. After all, these are the perks of the digital reality we live in but don’t count your blessing just yet.

To avoid wasting your time you ought to find your niche and sell PDF files containing the information you master. If you already know what to sell then scroll down to the next paragraph. But since you’re reading this article I’ll just assume you’re at the starting line. To prep you well for this journey here’s a list of PDF files in high demand:

  • DIY patterns
  • Catalogs & brochures
  • Courses (coding, marketing, design)
  • Guides & tutorials (cooking recipes, first aid, beekeeping)
  • Magazines
  • E-books (fiction & non-fiction)
  • E-mail marketing templates
  • Document templates
  • Workout and nutrition plans

Remember your goal is to make money which means you want the online community on your side. For that to happen on a regular basis your PDF files ought to be relevant or useful or entertaining. Actually, a combo of these three characteristics guarantees a steady revenue.

The right platform to sell your PDF files

Now, the help provided by the platforms mentioned above comes with a cost of course. You might find it steep or you might find it fair. It’s up to you to decide which one provides the best service for you. Luckily you have plenty to choose from so take your time and sniff around. Although I did a little bit of detective work and found out that most of them concentrate on a niche. Let me give you some examples.

  1. Teachable

    This is the platform you were looking for if teaching others is your passion. Teachable is a Learning Management System on which you can upload courses as PDF files and sell them online. They made education accessible by creating a market for it. Besides that they’ve integrated some marketing and selling tools that’ll help you as an educator greatly. This platform knows its audience and is one of the most easy-to-use platforms of its kind out there.

  2. Lulu

    Built for writers who prefer to self-publish their work (ebooks) this online platform has everything a writer needs. It’s been around for some time now and despite Amazon Kindle’s dazzling success, Lulu has a solid user community. The reason behind its resilience might have something to do with the fact that it plays nice with others. What does that mean you ask? Lulu sells printed books by collaborating with Amazon and Barnes & Noble. So while you sell your ebook on Lulu, if you desire, you can capitalize on this collaboration. Make the most of what each one has to offer.

  3. Flipsnack

    We know it’s not ethical to eulogize our platform and we won’t. Our users already do that for us. We’re also aware that Flipsnack is not the most famous or the most successful online publishing tool. However, we offer one of the best services for uploading, creating, and selling flipbooks. That’s right, you can sell through our magazines, brochures, catalogs, guides, reports, newspapers, and so on and so forth. Our editor will help you make your flipbooks stand out and attract buyers like bees to honey. I’m sorry but I couldn’t refrain from boasting a little. Also if editing isn’t necessary than just upload something you already created in PDF form and start selling. We thought you don’t like extra fees on your sales so all the money you make with Flipsnack is yours. You can find out more about that in this other article.

  4. Sellfy

    If you don’t have the money, time, and skills to build your own website then Sellfy is for you. This e-commerce platform is used worldwide by entrepreneurs to sell digital products such as DIY patters. Uploading and selling your PDF files on Sellfy is pretty easy. Plus they offer quite a few marketing features to help you succeed. So if you want to open an online store without the hassle than, in my opinion, this platform is a great option.

  5. Selz

    I’m inclined to believe that Selz was created for those of us with a strong practical side. You can upload any document in PDF format here and sell it but non-fiction ebooks seem to be bestsellers on Selz. From nutrition plans to workout routines and other how-to ebooks this is the place for this kind of digital product. They value customer experience and customer service which is why they offer a “buffet” of marketing options you can use.

    These are my five picks if you plan to sell PDF files online. Let’s see what advantages have these platforms in common.

More reasons for you to sell PDF files

You should know that selling PDF files on these platforms is safe, fast, private, and easy. Also, they allow you to embed the Buy Button on your website, or blog if you have one. That means you don’t have to worry about storage or losing customers to other sellers. In addition, since you have access to a global market you decide how, when, and where to promote your digital products. You are in total control at all times and you’re never going to run out of stock.

Final thoughts

We all want to live a stress-free life and we should. Selling PDF files on any of these platforms can be a way out of the rat race. Besides paying those few dollars a month the costs to sustain such a business don’t exist. If you decide to sell digital products online remember to sell only what’s relevant, useful, or entertaining. Find a niche for your products and a platform that suits your entrepreneurial needs. In case you already sell PDF files online please share your experiences with us in the comment section below.

Join the conversation! 13 Comments

  1. Thanks very much, this information was just what I was looking for.

  2. Hi guys.
    I’m thinking about selling recent numbers of Scientific American for half the prize I bought them.
    The question is: is this legal? Will I violate any copyrights here giving SA the right to sue me?

    • Hi Rina,
      Thanks for your comment. Regarding your question, as far as our copyright knowledge goes, re-selling copies of the Scientific American, as long as you don’t own any rights to it, is illegal.

  3. Thanks for the information. How do I get copyright for my own pdf material?

    • Hi,

      Getting copyright for your PDF is the same as for any other piece of written work.
      You don’t necessarily have to register your work in order to get legal protection, but if you do this, it can help you secure and prove your ownership. However, you must make sure your work is original.

      The easiest way you can get copyright for your work is to place a copyright notice on your work. Also, don’t forget to include your full name and date.
      Use the © symbol or simply write copyright. This will make it very difficult for anyone to argue in court that he was not notified the work was copyrighted.

  4. Hi I’m Michelle

    I’m new to this, I wrote a cookbook a while ago. And recently a friend suggested I do pdf sell of my cookbook.

    I didn’t notice a fee or pricing to post your product, or did I misunderstand.

    • Hi Michelle,

      You can easily put your cookbook for sale using Flipsnack. Read more about it here:
      If you have any related questions to this, make sure to contact our lovely people from chat support.
      Also, we have a few articles related to cookbooks on our blog. Simply search for “cookbook” in the search bar on our blog and they will come up.

      Have a great day!

  5. Hey, I have a lot of books online as PDF form but i don’t have them as hard copy. The books are written from other people most of them are fiction and non-fiction novels. Can I sell them online?

    Plus: I’m in EU.


  6. Hi! Is there a platform that allow people to sell pdfs that can’t be downloaded? I don’t want any buyer to share the pdf they bought.


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About Liviu Ungur

Film geek, resilient daydreamer and a certified wine snob.