What Does it Cost? Distribution Part 6

Throughout this series on distribution we've talked about what it is and many of the tasks a distribution program or company can help you with as an author. Some of you may have felt that all sounds good, how do I get started? Before you jump in, there's definitely another piece of the puzzle that needs to be considered and that is of course, cost. The companies who perform these services certainly don't do it for free and they are in business to make money just like any business.

I have personally researched a couple of full service companies in the last couple of months as I was curious to see if it would make sense to try it for my new book or not. Right now the answer is "not". Though it might be beneficial to be in stores this time, the cost is prohibitive at the moment for full service. Even though the two companies vary in their fee structure, the end profit works out to be similar. Here's how one works:

Set up fee $495 (they actually both have this and why it's so high, I'm really not sure)
Wholesale discount 55%
Distributor fee 30%
Warehousing $.03 per book per month

So here's what it would look like for my $12.99 book if a store buys it to stock it

$12.99 - 55% discount so I get 45% put in my account = $5.84
From that they invoice me their fee of 30% = $1.75
I also need to subtract my print cost which is between $2 and $3 depending on how many I've printed but to be cost effective 500 is probably the minimum.

So that leaves me with around $1 give or take per book, again depending on printing costs.

As you can see, this is where larger publishers (or smaller ones with huge budgets) have an advantage. They can get the print costs down further generally and if they handle distribution in house, the costs probably vary from the 30%. However, they may also have more overhead so overall, I'm not sure they really make much more (which partially explains the dire straights some are in right now).

You can probably also see why authors who go the traditional route only get 6, 7 maybe 8% in royalties. and remember, there's often an agent taking 10-15% out somewhere in the mix too.

If you're like me, one of the first things people ask is are your books going to be in such and such bookstore. Right now, my answer is people will be able to special order most of the time but they won't be stocked. Down the line, who knows. BTW, the website for the new book in case you are curious is www.creationinspirations.com

Have you considered full service distribution, have you used it? Please share your thoughts.

Good Writing & God Bless,
Cheryl Pickett

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