You'll actually see this one in your local bookstore
February 13, 2012 5:18 AM   Subscribe

In the post-printed-book era, how has distribution to bookstores changed? Indie author seeks distribution across the world!

For my third book, I'd like to see about getting a distributor for the print version. While I'm open to working with a publisher, the subject matter (e.g. Korean travel) doesn't lend itself to a mass market, and I'm concerned a publisher won't consider it a lucrative enough market to make it worth their effort. My previous book (an e-book with print on demand available) has done better than expected - and the bestseller in its category - but I'm really hoping to up the ante this time around.

Ideally, there's a publisher out there with enough distribution to make a niche book available to larger bookstores, without overly restricting e-book sales. The goal is greater awareness, greater revenue, and eventually, world domination.

A tall order, perhaps, but one I hope you MeFites can help with!
posted by chrisinseoul to Writing & Language (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
So I don't know how much this would help, but a good friend of mine has published his latest through and has had quite a few more sales of the print than the e-book. I don't know about bookstores, but he does sell on Amazon both versions and is doing well. (He also wrote a book which is not really mass market but is of interest none the less.) Sorry if it's not what you're looking for, but it's the first thing that came to mind when I read the question. =)
posted by PeppahCat at 8:29 AM on February 13, 2012

Yeah, it's not the "post printed book era" and I would advise you to drop that shit like a hot potato in any conversations with people in the publishing industry.

So you want to self-publish your book, and you want it to be distributed in several countries. (I am presuming by this you mean "English-speaking countries" but please correct me if I'm wrong.)

I can really only speak to the US market and give you some leads for the Canadian market (which is in turmoil right now, as the largest book wholesaler there, H.B. Fenn, closed in early 2011).

Step One: Get your book listed with Baker and Taylor and with Ingram, the two largest US wholesalers. They are not actually "distributors" so much; they make books available to bookstores and libraries, but they do not actively promote books the way a traditional distributor does.

Step Two: Get your book on,,,,,, and whatever the leading Australian and New Zealand online booksellers are. If there are online booksellers in India that cater to the giant English-speaking reading public there, get your book on those, too.

Step Three: Make a deal with a US book distributor that works with self-publishers/micropublishers. I would recommend Independent Publishers Group as the best firm in this market niche myself; here's a fairly comprehensive list of book distributors who will work with self publishers.

Step Four: Make a deal with book distributors in the other English-speaking countries that work with self-publishers/micropublishers. I recommend joining and asking other self-publishers and micropublishers on their forums for their recommendations on book distributors in their countries.

Step Five: Identify 25 or 50 independent bookstores in each country that are located in areas where a bunch of people might be interested in your book (college and university towns where folks might be doing a lot of traveling, areas where there are a bunch of second/third/fourth generation Koreans whose first language is English and who might be planning a visit to the "old country", etc.) Make up an attractive marketing email, or an attractive snail-mail marketing one-sheet, and send it along to each of those bookstores.

Step Six: Identify public libraries in areas where a bunch of people might be interested in your book and send the acquisitions librarians (or head librarians, if you can't identify the acquisitions librarians) the same marketing materials.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:32 AM on February 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you don't want to self-publish, you'll need to find a niche publisher in each country. Small presses don't have international distribution. In the US, I would recommend Globe Pequot and Hunter Publishing (which doesn't seem to have any Korean titles yet, so maybe there's an opportunity there), but there are many others.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:40 AM on February 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

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