Distribution Part 2

In the first installment of this series, we talked about a basic definition of what full service distributors do:they get books to the stores and other outlets that then sell them to the public. Today, let's talk a little about how they do this.

Distributors make life easier in many ways for publishers because they handle at least some, if not all of these kinds of tasks: creating and then taking and fulfilling stock orders from stores, creating marketing materials, representing books at trade shows, processing returns from stores.

In addition, some provide fulfillment for orders directly from the publisher's website or even via phone number they provide. The distributor receives books shipped from the printer, stores them and then packs each individual order as it comes in. If the distributor has collected the funds from a customer as well, they then pay the publisher their portion on a set schedule.

As far as the customer is concerned, all of this happens seamlessly behind the scenes and that's the idea. Once in a while you might here the phrase "distributed by such and such company", but if you're like me, it makes absolutely no difference as long as your purchase experience is good/you get what you want.

One other thing that you should note is that occasionally, the terms distribution and fulfillment are used somewhat interchangeably. Generally though, fulfillment means filling and shipping orders, it doesn't usually involve marketing activities.

Who are the distributors, what does it cost to use their services? More next week.

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett

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