Most authors might not realize it, but when it comes to hard-copy editions of a book, publishers do not sell books directly to book stores. Instead, publishers work through an intermediary distributor/wholesaler. There are really only two such wholesalers in the entire United States- Ingram (the largest) and Baker & Taylor. When a bookstore wishes to stock a book on its shelves, it orders that book through the wholesaler who then in turn obtains the book from the publisher. For example, if Page Publishing is your publisher and a particular book stores wishes to stock 50 copies of your book on its shelves, it would place the order through Ingram who would purchase the book from Page Publishing at a wholesale discount- typically 55% off the retail price. Thus if your book is retailing for $19.95, Ingram would buy the book from your publisher for $8.98 and then sell it to the bookstore at a markup of 10% to 20% above that. As the author, you and your publisher are really only concerned with the price received form Ingram- it does not matter to you how much Ingram sells the book to a bookstore for, nor does it matter how much that bookstore sells the book to the public for. Your revenue is $8.98 before printing costs and commission or royalty to the publisher. Assuming a cost of $2.00 for printing and 20 cents to the publisher, your profit on this hard-copy book would be $6.78.
This is a common question asked by new authors- should I publish my book in only ePub format or should I go the extra mile and publish a print edition as well? The answer is most definitely that you should print both editions if possible. While it is true that roughly 50% of all books sales now take place in digital format (i.e. downloaded to iPads, Nooks, Kindles, etc.) and this is an astounding number, it still means that the other 50% of all book sales take place in the print realm. Why would anyone knowingly forsake 50% of their potential client base? Some authors do because they are so persuaded by cheap-and-easy publishers who do not have the ability to distribute book sin print, and thus they urge the simpler (and cheaper) route of ePub only distribution.
A true full-service publisher, like Page Publishing of New York City, will have an established print distribution network, and should be an authorized/approved publisher with Ingram or Baker & Taylor (the two leading book wholesalers in the United States). Don’t be fooled into accepting print distribution through Amazon alone. Amazon is great and they move a large number of print books- probably more so than retail book stores- book you still need retail books store distribution as well. Remember- your book deserves as much exposure and distribution as possible. Demand it all!
Many people are under the impression that they must first have a literary agent in order to publish their book. Fortunately, such is not the case in the current publishing environment. In the “old” days where only a handful of New York literary giants controlled the publishing world, it was near-impossible to get the proverbial “foot in the door” without the assistance of a well-connected agent.Sending your manuscript to one of those publishers would inevitably lead to your manuscript being shredded and a short “no thank you ” letter being sent to you.
This is not to say that you should not get a well-connected agent if one will agree to represent you, but the odds of that are extremely slim. The 15% cut of all of your future earnings that an agent usually requires may be worth it if it means that you can get into a major publishing house. Thankfully though, if you are not so lucky as to find an agent (or do not want to give away 15% of your earnings) you have other options. Like most authors today, you hold your fate in your own hands. You have the ability to submit your manuscript to a smaller publishing firm like Page Publishing in New York City that is more open-minded than the big publishers. By doing so, and investing in your own book, you will not only get to keep the vast majority of your book’s revenue, but you will have near-total creative control over all aspects of your books production- every single page will be under your control during the publishing process..