um curso em milagres makes its income through marketing and merchandising the books their publishers create, and takes an overall percentage of the retail selling price. Distributors rarely work with individuals (self-publishers) because they need a steady volume of new titles regularly published every season to make a profit.
A wholesaler is a large warehouse that holds and sells books when retailers or other sellers ask for them. The will have a list of books they sell, and make their income off the difference between the price they buy the book from the publisher and the price they sell it for to the retailer.
In most cases of publishing, book wholesalers and distributors are not the best choice for authors who are personally financing their books’ publishing services. It is not unusual for distributors and wholesalers in the United States to take 90 days or more to pay an author after receiving the books after book printing. Additionally, a percentage of the author’s profit will be held back for returns.
This means if your book does not sell in the stores, copies will be returned to the distributor and ultimately to you, the publisher, where you must absorb that loss in profit. These returned copies may be damaged after spending time on the shelves of a bookstore, making them difficult to sell later on. It is an unfortunate reality that an author may find himself with a garage full of damaged copies of returned books, after only being stocked on the shelves of a major book retailer for a month or two.
Alternatively, there are lucrative distribution plans that circumvent the major bookstores, the distributors and the wholesale warehouses, all of which take a major cut of a book’s retail price. Such alternative methods of book distribution employ the author’s strengths and preexisting customer bases (such as active mailing lists, attendees to an author’s lecture, etc.) to distribute more directly and efficiently. A strategic self-marketing plan can generate a profit equal or greater to what a major book distributor offers its clients, for much less of the cost.
To illustrate, here are two cases of different book distribution plans, each netting its self-publisher a profit of $26,000 at the end of the year:
Case 1. Let’s say as the publisher of your book you send 10,000 copies of your book at a unit price of $2.00 each from a book printer. You also set the book’s retail price at $20 per copy. You have so far spent $20,000 on printing costs, and if all books sell at retail, you have the potential for $200,000 in total sales.
Now let’s suppose you employ a distributor to manage your marketing and distribution. They may charge you 62-65% of the retail price of the book in order for them to pass it through different distribution channels and still make a profit.