Last week we discussed the Amazon store and a few of the resources it provides for self-published authors to utilize in promoting their books. Now let’s take a step back and take a look at how distribution works in self-publishing.
Many authors incorrectly assume that a run of books must exist physically in order for copies to be sold. And for good reason, for centuries that has been the model upon with publishers, retailers, and buyers operated under. Are there still advantages to pre-printed copies of books for authors? Sure, but that necessity is becoming increasingly less important in book distribution and sales. In some cases even a disadvantage. Among the benefits of the POD or on-demand model is that books no longer need to physically exist in order to be sold.
In some cases, books are even printed after they are sold retail. Here’s the short story: a book is purchased through any number of points of sale or retailer locations and an instantaneous print ‘message’ is sent directly to the printer where a single copy is printed, one-off and shipped to the customer with royalties accruing for authors under the pre-established royalty amount agreed upon prior to publication. This explains how POD books can be available at as many as 25,000 bookstores and sales channels across the globe, including Amazon, without that number of books actually existing.
Among the many benefits of this model can be lower retail prices and/or higher profits for authors. No physical inventory to manage, truckers to pay, stores to heat/cool and employees to compensate leaves retailers open to earn higher margins on lower prices, a pricing benefit ultimately passed on to authors.
POD provides self-publishing authors among the strongest, and newest advancements in the publishing world. But it is not the only thing to consider when preparing your book for market. We’ll hit more on those down the road.