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Book Distribution Options for Independent Authors

book distribution optionsbook distribution options

book distribution options

Wondering how to distribute your book to your reader base? That all depends on how and where you publish it. In this post, we’ll look at the book distribution options available to independent authors.

Ebook-only Distribution Options

You may not need to produce a paperback version of your book if you plan to distribute it online only. When you publish an .epub through Kobo, or a .mobi through Amazon, your book will only be available through these companies’ online distribution networks.

In Canada, Kobo is partnered with Chapters Indigo. So, when you publish an .epub through Kobo Writing Life, it will show up on both Kobo and Chapters Indigo websites. Books that are published to Amazon through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), on the other hand, will only be available for sale through Amazon’s ecommerce site.

Digital Book Distribution Options

The term “digital book” can refer to ebooks, paperbacks, and even hardcovers. Online worldwide book distributors, such as Amazon and Ingram Content Group, utilize print-on-demand (POD) technology to sell physical books online. In other words, they won’t print and store any physical copies of your paperback/hardcover book in a large warehouse anywhere.

Instead, they’ll store only the digital cover and interior files that you’ve uploaded to their sites. And they will print, bind, and ship only as many copies as someone buys from them at any given time. Of course, this saves you from having to print any upfront copies whatsoever. If someone goes to their site to buy ten copies of your book, then ten copies will be printed, bound, and shipped to that buyer. If another person buys only one, then they will print, bind, and ship only one—hence the term “print on demand.” This is a definite pro, isn’t it?

Now here are the cons: digital printers can only handle certain trim sizes and paper weights. This limits you to certain book trim sizes, binding types, and paper stocks/colours.

Traditional Distribution Options

If you want your books sold on traditional booksellers’ bookshelves, you must play by the peculiar rules set by the traditional book supply chain. And, believe me, peculiar is the best word to describe these old rules.

As well, most “bricks and mortar” booksellers and libraries will only purchase their books through established distributors such as Ingram Content Group. They simply won’t deal with individual authors on anything more than a per-event consignment basis.

Related reading: Is Book Printing a Good Idea for Indie Authors?

Related reading: Printers and Publishers: What Their Graphic Designers Will and Won’t Do for You

Related reading: Why Do Authors Need Graphic Designers?

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