Now that you’ve chosen your publishing method, the next step is to choose your distribution method. Start by asking yourself how you want your book to be sold and in what formats:
In physical bookstores?
Your best bet in this case is to go after traditional publication. Although it is possible to get into brick-and-mortar bookstores without being traditionally published, it is prohibitively expensive for most small presses and self-publishers. (Think about the costs of printing a huge batch of books, warehousing, accepting returns, or paying hefty “return insurance” fees through print-on-demand distributors.)*
There are endless opportunities to sell your ebook and print book online, including major retailers like Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Chapters/Indigo. We’ll list the options for online distributors below.
As both print and ebook editions? Only as a print edition?
Ebooks are inexpensive to create and easy to distribute. We recommend that you have an ebook edition as well as a print book unless your print book is meant to be a personal project and not distributed. For example, you’re planning to print a single batch for a charity fundraiser or to give to your family and friends.
*Why the “return insurance”? When bookstores stock a book, they expect to be able to send any unsold books back to the publisher. They’ll therefore only order books that are marked as returnable. This can be a problem for print-on-demand (POD) books, since they’re printed to order. Most POD distributors will pass on the cost of returns (and return shipping if you don’t want the book destroyed) to you, while some offer insurance plans so you can avoid paying for each individual return.