How Does the Book Distribution Process Work?

Now that you have read all about the book production process and have copies of your book, printed and ready to be dispatched to your readers, it is time to understand the book distribution process.


Book distribution for bookstores at a warehouse.
A warehouse full of books.


Before your book reaches the hands of your readers, it goes through a few channels known as distribution channels. Continue reading to find out what these channels are and how you can ensure that your book reaches your readers in good condition and at an affordable price, without any delays.

There are mainly 3 distribution channels for a book to pass through a printing press’ warehouse to the reader.


The Direct to Consumer Channel

In this method, the publishing company that is also managing your book distribution will set up a sales page on their website for your book.

This page will have a brief overview of your book, your author profile, a few reviews and the price of the book. A ‘Buy Now’ button on the sales page will redirect them to another secured page where they can include their banking details and proceed to purchase the book online.

After they have placed an order, their book can directly be shipped to them from the printing press’ warehouse, or printed on demand.

Selling your book directly to your readers is advantageous for you as you can minimize the distribution fee that traditional distributers and bookstores will charge you. So, in this way you can retain a higher percentage of the royalty and revenue generated from the sales of your book.


The Expanded Distribution Channel

The expanded distribution channel is further broken down into the brick-and-mortar and the online distribution channel depending on the format of your book (paperback copies or an e-book).


Brick and Mortar

This channel is to be selected for the book distribution of your printed hardcopy books. From the printer’s warehouse, the books are sent to wholesalers like Ingram and Baker & Taylor.

These wholesalers then ship your books to bookstores that have placed an order for your book. These are physical, brick and mortar bookstores like the Barnes & Noble in New York City or the Waterstones in London.

From here, your readers can browse the long aisles of bookshelves to find your book and purchase it.

And while this method of book distribution is the original and traditional one, you must keep in mind that along the way, wholesalers as well as bookstores will keep their profit margins, increase the price of your book, and give you only a small amount of the revenue generated from the sales.


Online Distribution

In the online book distribution method, online retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble directly place an order with the printer or publisher.

The books are shipped from the printer’s warehouse to the large and automated warehouses of these companies. They advertise and sell your book on their website by creating a sales page. Readers can order your book online from these websites and expect it to be shipped to them within a week or less depending on your reader’s location.


Now that you have a clear understanding of the different kinds of book distribution channels, we hope that you will pick yours wisely. If you have any questions about the publishing or marketing process, you can contact us here and schedule a call.



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