You have spent months, if not years, researching, writing, designing and editing your book. It is now finished and ready for sale.
You undoubtedly want your book sold and in the hands of readers. You want it distributed through retail channels, online outlets and other avenues that sell books.
Many options exist to distribute your book through these diverse channels. Each offers its own advantages and disadvantages and understanding and choosing the correct one for your particular needs can be overwhelming.
Traditionally, books have used a distribution channel consisting of book distributors and wholesalers.
Book distributors actively sell books to bookstores, retailers, libraries and online stores, usually from a catalog. Personal sales calls and visits can also occur as long standing relationships typically exist between a distributor and retail outlets. Distributors offer a full range of services to stimulate demand and sell books through the distribution channel.
Book wholesalers make books available to retailers but do not typically engage in actively selling books to the retail market. They process orders and ship books but do not generally create demand for books. They do not offer the full range of services that distributors provide. Publishers and authors still have to pitch, market and sell books to book retailers. But wholesalers might offer a relatively inexpensive method compared to distributors to have books made available to a multitude of potential buyers.
With the growth of self published authors has come a viable alternative method for authors to reach potential book buyers…directly online. Social media and single focused book sites offer book reviews and relevant articles and the opportunity to sell directly to readers. For example, bookhitch.com allows authors and readers the opportunity to “meet,” sell and buy without having to go through distributors or wholesalers.
And, should authors choose to sell books from personal websites, companies such as NetPublications’ NetSource distribution service can establish a shopping cart connection allowing the fulfillment of orders and processing of payments placed via authors’ websites.
Each of these methods offer a unique value proposition and each must be thoroughly considered and evaluated to understand which offers the best distribution route, and value, for an individual’s particular situation.
But, ultimately, they all allow authors the opportunity to put their books in front of an audience of potential buyers after the solitary time spent writing and completing their books.