The Cost of Seeing Your Book on Barnes & Noble's Shelves

Selling books directly to your audience is the best way of selling books. If you signed a contract with a book distributor, you would have to pay that company up to 25% of everything they sell either to independent bookstores or wholesalers. But that is not all you would have to pay. Barnes & Noble, Borders, and other large chains usually buy through wholesalers like Partners, Ingram, and Baker and Taylor, who demand a 55% discount. That means that if your distributor sells to a wholesaler, the return on your book would be 33.75% of the selling price: a $16 retail trade paperback would yield $5.40. If you get wholesalers to list your book, and you do not use a distributor, sales of each book would return $7.20. Selling your book on would yield the same. Alternative methods of book distribution – through organizations, associations, corporations, trade shows, festivals, conventions, fund raisers, back-of-the-room sales at lectures, or your own web site – are the most profitable ways of selling your book.

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