Book distribution refers to the process of making your book available to the public. This can include publishing your book in paperback, hard cover, and/or as an eBook, and making the book available to retail channels where people typically go to buy books.
Distribution also includes the process of printing and fulfilling orders, collecting payment, and shipping the books to customers or booksellers who act as middlemen.
Distribution has changed dramatically in the past 20 years. For print books, it is now possible to make your book available to over 30,000 booksellers without spending any cash up front on printing, storage and fulfillment.
Print on Demand systems allow the print edition of your book to be listed for sale with major online retailers like Amazon.com, Chapters.com and BarnesAndNoble.com. Brick and mortar bookstores will also be able to easily order your book through their distributors.
For eBooks, there are no major barriers to having your book published alongside bestselling authors. A handful of eBook formats dominate the marketplace, including:
- The Kindle (Amazon.com)
- The Kobo (Chapters-Indigo), which is especially popular in Canada
- The Nook (Barnes and Noble)
- Apple iTunes ebooks
The most effective strategy is to make your book available in all of the above formats as well as soft cover and hard cover. This ensures that your book is available to the broadest possible audience in the format they prefer.