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Traditional publishers rely on traditional distributors to sell their books through retail partners. Indie publishers have the freedom to distribute through several streamlined options to put more money into their pockets. It’s even possible—and sometimes most desirable—to focus distribution efforts through an author’s personal website, offering special pricing and packages directly to the audience.

How to Distribute Books

Book distribution doesn’t need to be confusing. It’s all about getting books to customers through whichever sales process the reader prefers. The author has the freedom to choose how to make their books available.

Book Distribution Options

The first way to distribute an indie published book is offering it directly through the author’s website or through personal, face-to-face sales opportunities. The fewer participants between the author and the reader, the more money the author gains from the sale.

Some indie-publishing authors will utilize a Print-On-Demand (POD) production and distribution program to make their book available through broad retailer networks of websites and stores. Many of the vanity press publishers rely solely on POD model. Because the focus is on getting the title published, few of these books will break into the mainstream.

Other indie-publishing authors will print books in volume to make them available through popular online retailer sites. Some sites charge more and have strict rules about their pricing and split of the profits. Redbrush can assist in researching and comparing each publishing option before committing to a path.

Traditional distributors and wholesalers may or may not be available to an author depending on your platform, product, and ability to support the title in the mainstream marketplace.

Return Policies

One hurdle for self-published authors is some major retailers want the option to return the book to the distributor for a refund or credit. If the author has specific audiences, it’s better not to focus on getting your book into bookstores to compete against more mainstream titles by better-known authors. For those authors with a mainstream products appropriate for bookstore consideration, Redbrush offers a special distribution option including a return policy to give the best chance of getting the book in the correct places.

Independent Book Distribution Demystified

Redbrush can help authors determine which distribution option best fits their book and platform based on the author’s goals and their target audience.

Helpful Hint! Before considering a high-priced distribution option with the smallest profit potential, focus on direct sales first. Concentrate on outreach to target audiences first. Sell through a personal website. Add a POD program—and don’t direct anyone to it. If the book does well, then consider other options to get the book available through more avenues.