Book distribution

Publishing and book distribution can be confusing. As a definition the process of publishing is “to issue (printed, reproduced, textual or graphic material, etc.) for sale or distribution to the public.” This is what publishers do with books and ebooks in particular. Ebooks have risen over the past few years to become the source of 25% of book sales in America. They are a popular form of reading for both publishers and consumers as they are digital, eliminate costs such as printing and binding, and can reach a large number of people using e-reading devices.

With free choice in the stores you can to send your book to including Amazon, the largest e-book distributor, it can be difficult to decide which publishing company to use, due to the vast array of services and book distribution packages that are offered. The main aspect that should affect your decision is the cost that the publishers incur and how much support they offer, the number of stores they can distribute to, and whether they support other authors of a similar style to yourself.

Book distribution

Publishers do offer services other than just book distribution. In order to release books that are of a high standard, they will often critique and proofread your manuscript, suggesting elements that can be changed such as grammar, writing style, and other more crucial areas such as plot and pacing of the story. Depending on which publisher you choose, they will likely offer different options for you. The more drafts you can take to a publisher, the better the end product will ultimately be.

In addition to these standard roles, some publishers will also have art directors and designers on hand to help with the design of the book cover and other graphic elements. They may also have marketing and promotion teams that can plan a release date for the book and create a buzz about it in the build-up to release.

As a definitive explanation, a publisher ultimately takes the manuscript of your book and helps you to prepare for its release, fine tuning any elements that need work, and then distributes it to stores. Deciding which publisher is best for you ultimately comes down to what you wish to achieve and how many services the publisher can offer for their price. It is also important to recognise which publishers will give you the most support throughout the drafting process and which really show an interest in your release, rather than considering your book just one in a large pile they have to deal with.

2 responses to “What is Book Publishing / Book Distribution?”

  1. rob says:

    can a person write a book, get it copyright or show original creator and owner of material by old school way of sending originals of book through registered mail to ones self especially to protect from any stealing your material, then make copies by one self ,being able to give some copies to people, without using any help from “publishers” is this all possible?

    • Hi Rob,

      When you have written a book the copyright automatically resides with you, the author. (You can send a copy of the manuscript to yourself through the post if you wish, but in the UK there is no requirement to register copyright.) Yes, you can go directly to a printing company to have hard copies of your book produced without the need for a publishing company. This obviously means that you would need to do your own marketing of the book. One down side to this approach is that you would need to store and distribute the hard copies yourself. The more copies you produce, the better per-copy price you will get from the printer, but then you run the risk of having copies left over. That’s one reason why a lot of self-publishing authors only produce ebooks. Another reason is that if you want your book to look indistinguishable from any professionally published work, you need to make sure it’s typeset well. That can be quite tricky to do yourself, but if you do want to have a go, we recommend Adobe InDesign as the best software to use.

      Many authors who self-publish create their own ‘publishing’ company simply in order to look more professional – so the logo would sit on the spine in the same place as you would traditionally see the publisher’s logo.

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