For book/ebook authors, publishers, & self-publishers
There are many steps and various parties involved when you want your book to reach the marketplace. These parties are book agents, book distributors, publishers, wholesalers, and retailers and others who help you with various formal and informal aspects of book marketing.
Book distributors act as the connecting link between publishers and retailers. Retailers could be libraries, bookstores, or any other outlet that sells directly to the public (consumers). You may ponder whether book distributors are an indispensable lot? The answer is the size of the company and the internal staff. Many small and mid-sized publishers do not wish to hire a sales staff, so they contract with distributors to carry out the task of supplying the books to retail stores.
Big book publishing companies prefer to have their own sales reps to supply books to the bookstores and libraries directly. At times, book wholesalers come into the picture between distributors and retail book outlets. However, in this chain, not only elements are indispensable, and a book can be well published and sold with one of more of these.
The role of book distributors should not be undermined. Distributors make the task easy for publishers who do not have a wide geographical reach. They also help them focus on their primary role of publishing if diversification is not their strategy.
Merely contracting with a distributor will not guarantee success to the publisher. Having a sound distribution system in place doesn’t mean the book will garner enough sales. Publishers and distributors need to be well aware of the potency of a given title. They know when, how, and whom to pitch the book title. They will use tact and strategy rather than bore the buying with unwanted information.
Having your book distributed by a recognized distributor is one of the key criteria for success. A smart and successful publisher or distributor has all the necessary features like author experience, cover, price, marketing and advertising know-how, and target to be pitched at.
With self-publishing becoming a common trend like people marketing their books through online stores in the form of eBooks, bookstores are on the verge of declining, and the role of distributors seems to fade soon. It is about time distributors must do something to revive the charm of physical books so that their role is saved.
Distribution system isn’t completely dead but on the verge of it. Efforts must be taken by the relevant parties before self-publishers take over a major share and wipe out the presence of the distributors.
Designing schemes and developing strategies that attract book readers and bookstores to buy books and titles from them is important to keep the spark going on. Self-publishing, though seems attractive to most authors, has its own disadvantages.
It is not credible as much as a distributor or publisher performing the task. The latter looks more formal and professional and earns brownie points with serious readers. Digitization of books and their complete transformation into eBooks looms large in the face of the book industry. Book distributors must soon pack their bags and hunt for another profession if eBooks completely replace physical books.