Distributors: An Overview

June 2002
by Kathleen A. Welton

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If you’re interested in getting a distributor and want to determine the best one for you, begin by answering these questions:

What are your publishing goals? Will you be a one-book publisher or do you plan to publish on a regular cycle, maybe one, two, or more books every year?What sales channels do you want distribution for? As a rule, distributors deal primarily with trade bookstores, wholesalers, and libraries as well as with international and other subsidiary rights online. A distributor may want to handle every sales channel, but you can usually negotiate this. What can you do to help the distributor with sales? Remember that while a distributor can help you get books onto shelves, your efforts must move them off those shelves into consumer’s hands!What sales “hooks” make your books unique in the marketplace?What are your expectations for sales and what distribution revenue do you need to break even or begin to make money?

Once you have answered these questions, you can explore available options in terms of your books.


The Facts & the Fit

According to Mark Suchomel, President of Independent Publishers Group (IPG), “A lot of publishers don’t realize that they can have more impact on their sales than their distributor. What you get out of a distributor depends on what you put in YadA cluding ideas about the book and the marketing effort that you present before the distributor finalizes its catalog,…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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