Around The World

Print Distribution

Once you hit the publish button, what happens to the paperback version of your book? Where will it be sold? The answer is one of the more difficult decisions for an independent author.

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and IngramSpark are the primary players in the print book distribution game. For many authors, KDP’s options, standard distribution, and expanded distribution are the most familiar.

Standard distribution for authors with worldwide rights lists the book on Amazon sites in the US, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Japan, Canada, and Australia.

To reach markets, such as Barnes & Noble, libraries, and academic institutions, the expanded distribution is an option. According to KDP’s website, “They currently work with US distributors, but booksellers and libraries outside of the US may purchase books from these US distributors.”

When Createspace merged with KDP, the description for the expanded distribution service changed and no longer identifies the distribution partners. Createspace utilized IngramSpark’s distribution network. I suspect KDP still does.

The advantages to expanded distribution are—one account, one upload, and it’s free.

The disadvantages are:

1)  There is no option for the wholesale discount and book return policy required by brick & mortar stores.

2)  The royalties from a book sale from the EDC distribution will be significantly lower than a sale on an Amazon site. The distribution partners charge a fee. The added fees account for the loss of royalty.

3)  The ISBN assigned to the paperback must have been purchased by the author or the free ISBN available from KDP. The book cannot be distributed through another service. In other words, KDP has the exclusive rights to the sale of the book.

4)  Authors are limited to the standard trim sizes. An author cannot select a custom trim size, which typically applies to children’s books.

IngramSpark is the world’s largest book distributor with an extensive list of retailers, wholesalers, libraries, and schools that comprise the international and US markets. The international component has been expanded with print facilities in the UK and Australia. With a reduction in shipping costs, book titles are more readily accessible.

The Global Connect Program provides advanced distribution with links to printing networks in Brazil, South Korea, Poland, Germany, Russia, China, India, and Italy. The partnership localizes the POD (print on demand) service in the country, thus increasing visibility for book titles and decreasing shipping costs.

In the title setup, access to the global network is stipulated in the market pricing section. Individual markets (US, UK, European Union, Canada, and Australia) are listed, and each has a field for the entry of the book price. Additional options for each market include the wholesale discount and book returns. At least one market must be selected. The other four are optional. The selection indicates the author has the right to sell the book in the designated market and authorizes IngramSpark to distribute the book. An author must also authorize distribution to the Global Connect Program. If the entry field for a market or the Global Connect Program is left blank, the book will not be distributed.

Despite Ingram’s extensive global distribution and the option for a hardback version, laminate or dust jacket, there are disadvantages:

1)  The file setup is not as user-friendly as KDP.

2)  The cover must be redesigned. The formula to calculate spine width is different from the formula used by KDP.

3)  A $49 fee is assessed for the title setup.

4)  Once the book is published, a fee of $25 is assessed for any revisions to the cover or interior content.

5)  Shipping costs for an author’s purchase are still slightly higher than KDP, though IngramSpark recently reduced printing costs and are more comparable.

Deciding which route, a book will take through the labyrinth of the distribution networks can be challenging. The positive note, though, is there are options. An author can choose and implement a marketing plan tailored to specific goals. It is another advantage for an independent author.

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