Book distribution and book fulfillment.
Book distribution and book fulfillment for self-publishers. You can have all or part of your book shipment sent to a local provider. We have used direct mailing services before. Just make sure they have a secure, climate-controlled storage area on site. There are charges for storing the books, shipping them out individually or in batches. The package or box for shipping, plus postage or other shipping costs are also charges to consider.
Amazon will charge around another fifteen percent send to your book to the buyer. The cost of doing business is going up. With the feedback that we get from the self-publishers that we work with, we suggest that you fulfill the first print run yourself. Not only do you save the money that you would have to pay Amazon, but you also get a feel for how quickly or slowly the book moves. If you are printing 3,000 copies or more, book fulfillment at Amazon is a reasonable option.
Book fulfillment and direct mail services
You can have all or part of your book shipment sent to a local direct mail service provider. There are also fulfillment services, but there is usually a number of direct mailers in suburban and metro areas.
Direct mailers must have a secure, climate-control storage area onsite. There are charges for storing books, mailing individually or in batches, and the package or box for mailing. Postage is extra.
If self-publishers sell books on their website, add another cost for shipping and handling in addition to the retail price.
Global book distribution … Have you been lured by headlines touting global book distribution or availability in bookstores? There are companies that provide book distribution, but it is not free, and not inexpensive. Sometimes they insist on printing your book, which can be disastrous for books that need to be high-quality and finely bound. Ask for samples so that you can see the quality.
Here is the secret: If you buy an ISBN at ISBN.org, your book title is in the database in use by all brick and mortar bookstores. You are not being promised anything you do not already have.
Anyone that offers distribution is unlikely to get your book into physical bookstores. I say unlikely, because they will gladly sell you a display advertisement for several hundred dollars in a quarterly catalogue sent to bookstores. That might get attention, but does not mean your book will sell in bookstores. The best thing to do is go directly to bookstores with your book in hand and a good sales pitch.
What more successful authors do …
They have an Amazon Author page and they target keywords that buyers may search to find a book such as theirs. List in several Amazon book categories and use their “look inside” feature. Book buyers are more likely to buy a book if they can sample a few pages before buying. List your book on Barnes & Noble. Many self-publishers we work with over two decades, follow this formula.
What drives book sales is being found in searches. To be found, you need to be visible. To be visible, you need to not only be part of the large crowd that shops for books on Amazon, but you need to have keywords and information that potential book buyers are looking for.
- Listing on Amazon does not guarantee sales.
- Your own website traffic will boost sales, provided that you already have significant traffic.
- Social Media is a factor in success but only if you put in a great deal of effort and often.
- Even if you already have a built-in network, concentrate on professional book design to attract attention.
- Have an Amazon Author page and utilize keywords and phrases. List in several categories.
- Do keyword research for Amazon and your website, so that you know what potential buyers are searching for. Investigate what successful competitors are doing on Amazon and on their websites.
Delivery and shipping costs
The books that Star Print Brokers prints deliver DDP to the door. We include the cost in ballpark quotes as well as firm quotes with all details.
Typically, delivery to the door is not in USA printing quotes. This means that the self-publisher picks up the books themselves or delivery is an extra cost. Get a cost quote for shipping when you get a quote. We list below the standard shipping and delivery terms and what they mean for self-publishers:
FOB (Free On Board)
Self-publisher will pay more and have work to do. If the quote is from a USA printer, make sure they provide delivery as well, unless you want to pick up the books at the printer. If it is not clearly in the quote, assume delivery is not in the quote.
Lower cost book printing quotes could turn out to be the highest — and mark extra work and expense for self-publishers.
USA: The books are left on the printer’s loading dock. The self-publisher needs to arrange for pick up of their books at the printer and delivery to the location where the books are to store or fulfill orders.
Overseas: Books deliver on board a vessel which the self-publisher designates. The printer fulfills their obligation to deliver, when the goods pass over the ship’s rail. The receiver pays inbound customs clearance costs for ocean shipping, and either picks up the books at port, or hires a trucker to pick up and deliver to the final destination.
CIF (Cost Insurance Freight)
The printer arranges ocean shipping to the port of entry and provides the buyer with the documents necessary to pick up the shipment at port. The recipient is responsible for all inbound customs clearance and delivery arrangements and costs.
DDP (Delivered Duty Paid)
All usual shipping and delivery costs, including the cost of ocean shipping, customs clearance, and delivery to the door. GST / VAT (non-U.S. deliveries) are the responsibility of the buyer and are not in DDP delivery. We do insure the shipment from departure to delivery by a local trucker.
DDP quotes are all-in. The shipment delivers to the door, whether that is the front door, garage door of your residence, a storage facility, a mail or fulfillment house, Amazon warehouse, etc. Inside delivery is extra.
Compare book delivery costs on printing quotes. Most buyers choose DDP terms since nearly everything is included except taking the shipment past the threshold of the door.