How Indie Publishers Distribute Books

Learn more about how indie publishers distribute books and what your options are.

How indie publishers distribute books has changed a bit in the past years and  the good news is that today authors have choices in terms of choosing distribution methods for their book. Today we will discuss number seven in our “Top TEN questions you should ask a publisher before signing” series and learn more about issues around the actual fulfillment of your book orders.

  • Purchase in bulk, carry inventory and pay storage fees and send to a book distributor who will fulfill the orders. This can be very costly with no guarantees that the books will all sell. I do not recommend this option, personally.
  • As I mentioned in my previous post, some indie publisher will require authors to purchase a set amount of books. Authors can store inventory and fulfill the orders themselves.
  • POD (print-on-demand) is highly recommended for both new and seasoned authors. I like a POD set-up, even though the print costs are higher to print one book at a time. Read on to learn why this option can be beneficial.

I find that authors need some guidance in choosing the right distribution channel for their book. At SDP we utilize a print-on-demand distribution system. There are many print-on-demand printers out there today, but many are not global book distributors who offer direct fulfillment services to the end user (the reader).

SDP uses a POD printer, distributor and wholesaler that will automatically fulfill orders that come direct from Amazon, Barnes and Noble.com and other online retailers as well as brick and mortar bookstores.  Our book distribution channel has global reach where each book can be purchased from just about anywhere in the world. The other great thing about a POD distribution channel is that an author doesn’t have to carry inventory unless they want to.

It’s best to start with a POD arrangement and test the market to get a feel for the demand. If the book is selling like hot cakes, authors can decide to buy in bulk saving in per unit costs, and find a reputable book distributor that will carry inventory and fulfill the orders should that prove to be more cost effective.

The complex web of book fulfillment can be overwhelming for new authors, so trusting the right publisher will be key to ensuring maximum visibility for your book! Knowing the details of how indie publishers distribute books at each company you interview can put you at a strong advantage, like the one we offer at SDP.

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