One of the major benefits of using IngramSpark to self-publish a book is the distribution that's made available to indie authors. When you self-publish with IngramSpark, you have access to one of the publishing industry’s largest global print and ebook distribution networks which makes opportunities to sell your books that much greater.
How Does Book Distribution Work?
When a retailer wants to order a book, it's typically purchased through book distributors instead of the publisher directly. With Ingram’s print-on-demand service, a retailer can order a physical title through Ingram Book Company and the order prints, ships, and arrives to the customer, store, or library within a few days.
Print titles aren't the only books distributed through Ingram. Ebook distribution is also possible, with ebooks made available to major online retail partners in ebook distribution channels including Amazon, Apple Books, and Kobo. In cases of print and ebook distribution, the orders are added to your monthly compensation report when you sell a copy, and you’ll then receive your compensation.
Why Do I Need to Work with a Book Distribution Company?
Many retailers aren't willing to purchase a book straight from an author. They would rather make all of their purchases from one supplier versus making individual purchases from thousands of different suppliers. Distributors, such as Ingram, make it easier for retailers to do business, which is why retailers almost exclusively order from distributors.
As a new author with a first book where the demand is unknown, there's a tremendous amount of value in using print on demand (POD) as a means to get broad book distribution. It’s not always the best idea to invest in large amounts of inventory at the beginning of your publishing venture, but if you’ve already done it and want to work alongside a book distribution company like IngramSpark, don’t worry. You can always use any inventory you've already printed for your own direct sales coming from your website, giveaways, events, and speaking engagements. Then, you can get broader book distribution by setting up the book through a POD/distribution program like IngramSpark.
Who Are My Distribution Partners?
Ingram is a major book distributor in the United States, distributing to 40,000+ retailers (including Barnes & Noble and your local independent bookstore), libraries, schools, and universities. IngramSpark makes distribution for self-publishers even more expansive by granting access to Ingram’s global online and print distribution partners. This allows your titles to be distributed around the world.
Global Connect Program
The Global Connect program will allow your books to be printed by our printer partners in Germany, the United Kingdom, India, Italy, Poland, Russia, China, Spain, Brazil, Japan, South Africa, Australia, and South Korea. The printers will print the books that are sold by bookstores located in those countries. This saves you and the retailers overseas shipping charges if they were to order your book from the U.S. You'll receive publisher compensation payments as you normally would, based on the pricing you've provided for your book in the U.S. market.
How Do Stores and Libraries Know About My Book?
Ingram sends a metadata feed to our distribution partners. A store/library can search for your book and see the metadata linked to it, which is why the book metadata you provide for your title is so important. Your title metadata will help your book show up in relevant searches, for your book in particular and for books like yours. Although Ingram makes your book available to stores/libraries, there is no guarantee that they will order your book, which is why we have several other blog posts with tips on how to sell your book to bookstores and how indie authors can get their books into libraries. Typically, stores/libraries will not order a book if they don’t already know it exists, which is also why book marketing and promotion needs to be an essential part of your strategy to sell your book.
Who Can Order My Book?
Any bookstore, online store, library, or school that Ingram (or any of our other distribution partners) distributes to can order your book. You, the publisher, are also able to order your book directly from your IngramSpark account for any of the several reasons why you may want to do so.
Customers are able to order your books through bookstores, online retailers, or directly from you if you have an author website or author event at which you sell your books. Customers cannot order your book directly from Ingram because only you, as the publisher, have access to direct printing and shipping costs, and only sources who have agreements with Ingram’s book distribution services can order books through distribution.
Don’t Limit Your Distribution
The best part about Ingram’s distribution is that you aren’t putting all of your eggs into one distribution basket. Because Ingram distributes to all of the major players (online and physical stores, libraries, gift shops, Big Box chains, Apple, and many more around the globe), you have access to an incredible amount of opportunities to sell your book.
Entering into exclusive deals with Amazon and beyond limits your distribution and your book’s potential reach. While Amazon is a very large part of overall book sales, it is not the whole marketplace and we recommend not wagering your book’s future by ignoring every other retail option. Doing so could be turning your back on potential sales.
We could discuss distribution all day; it’s one of the things we do best, but if you’d like more information about working alongside a book distribution company like IngramSpark, feel free to download our free guide.