The difference between using a nationwide bookstore distribution partner or a market-specific distributor is like the difference between firing a shotgun and using a sniper rifle.
There is nothing wrong with using the shotgun approach to distribution because your readers will eventually come across your book.
But if you knew that there were distributors who specialized in selling non-fiction books like yours in places where your target audience is likely to shop and socialize, wouldn’t you want to at least learn what they have to offer?
I am very open with my praise for Brian Jud’s comprehensive book marketing tips. “Marketing Plan for Non-Fiction Titles” is one of the best free resources that he offers. It is also the inspiration for this post.
In the “Action Plan” section of the guided marketing plan, Jud lists 14 non-fiction book distributors.
These book distributors can help you get your non-fiction book into (the distributor name and website link is in parenthesis):
- Warehouse clubs like Costco’s or BJ’s (Anderson Merchandisers),
- Business stores like Staple’s (Select Media Services),
- College bookstores (Follett),
- Entertainment-themed markets (Source Interlink),
- Airports (Hudson News Co.),
- Petco (Siennax),
- Home design stores like Bed, Bath & Beyond, Lowe’s, Macy’s and Sears (Home Design Alternatives),
- National Parks (Eastern National),
- Science centers, zoos or aquariums (Event Network),
- Online non-fiction bookstores for business and finance (IncBookstore.com or National Small Business Network bookstore),
- Niche book clubs (Book-Clubs.com, BooksOnline.com and FreeBookClubs.com)
How to choose the best distribution partners for your book
Think about where your readers may go to get answers to the problems they have or where they might go as a normal part of their lifestyle. Those places are where you want to make your book available, and the list of book distributors above can help you reach them.
Are these distributors easy to connect with?
These distributors are not as first-time-self-publisher-friendly as CreateSpace, Lulu or IngramSpark because they often work with established traditional publishing companies.
This does not mean that you cannot approach them, but it does mean that you need to have an excellent quality publication that meets their distribution requirements.
How can I get help with connecting with the right distributor?
Once again, Brian Jud comes to the rescue!
Hire Brian Jud to review your book and give it to five of the distributors who are most likely to represent your book. If your book needs more work to get it up to the distributor’s standards, he will let you know and tell you how to improve the book. If your book already meets the distributor’s standards, he will handle the logistics of getting the distributor’s attention.
He cannot guarantee that the distributors will agree to carry your book, but with him on your side you have a much better chance for success than if you do it alone.
Learn more about this $650 service on Brian’s website.
A valuable alternative to having Brian find a distributor for you is to have his sales force promote your book to schools, organizations and businesses that are likely to buy your book in bulk. He has about 5,000 commissioned sales people that you can hire for as little as $250.
I am not affiliated with Brian Jud in any way and I do not receive anything if you buy his services. I simply recommend it because it’s the best service I know of to help authors like you connect with the distributors you need to help you reach your goals.
Question: What is the most unusual place you have ever seen a book for sale?
Image by: By Marcello Casal Jr. (Agencia Brasil) [CC-BY-3.0-br (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/br/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons