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Self-Publishing Distribution Options

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Last Updated on September 14, 2022 by Ben Oakley

Fortunately, in this new era of book publishing, there are many self-publishing distribution options.

Self-Publishing Distribution Options
The choices can become overwhelming.

So many in fact, that you might find yourself overwhelmed with the options. But fear not, there are ways to find the best option for you.

Ask yourself what you want from your publishing career. Do you want your book to be exclusively available on Amazon (KDP Select), or as many retailers as possible (wide)?

eBooks are not the only route to publishing success, paperbacks and hardbacks have their market too. Here, we look at all the self-publishing options open to you.

Direct self-publishing eBook options

This is where you make an account with each distributor and upload your files according to their rules.

Uploading an eBook to KDP is a far different process than adding one to Apple iTunes. If you find the formatting tedious, there are freelancers who can do the work for you.

The benefits of direct self-publishing are the control you have over your book and maximum royalties.

Aggregator self-publishing eBook options

This is where you upload your book to an aggregator who will send your book to various booksellers.

With Draft2Digital for example, you can opt in to have your book published on Amazon, Apple, B&N, Kobo, and many others.

Publishing through an aggregator is sometimes the easiest and most time-effective way to publish your book wide.

The only negatives are the slightly lower royalties you receive by not going direct.

However, using an aggregator in addition to going direct can get your book into many other smaller retailers and libraries.

  • Draft2Digital
  • Smashwords
  • BookBaby
  • IngramSpark

Self-publishing print book options

There are more eBook options than print ones, but there are ways you can self-publish a print book.

Amazon KDP or Ingram is the easiest way to do it. Ingram also get your book listed on Amazon, so there is an argument to only use Ingram.

KDP offer extended distribution, which only works sometimes, as it is down to other retailers to accept their list. Both use print-on-demand services to get your books to customers.

You can also set up an Amazon Seller Central account and sell your book using their fulfilment programme. However, using KDP print instead cuts out that initial cost, and additional work.

  • Amazon KDP
  • IngramSpark
  • Barnes & Noble Press
  • Amazon Seller Central

Other self-publishing distribution options

Some self-publishers prefer to produce their own print runs, which can help with inventory, book signings, and to sell on their own site.

Downsides are the lack of distribution options outside of your own methods, and the upfront costs involved. In the UK, two of the better options are Clays and Book Printing UK.

Other options include distribution via trade shows, conventions, indie bookstores, schools, and libraries.

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Ben Oakley is a bestselling author, researcher, publisher, blogger, and mental health advocate from Camden, England. Usually found on Twitter or in the bars and parks of Camden. Agathokakological is his favourite word!

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