Book distribution is the process of making books available for sale and all the ensuing processes that need to be undertaken such that the book in question sells well. In this article, I will explore these processes, who the best book distributors in the UK are and how these companies distribute their books.
Traditionally, the main part of this was ensuring that the physical copies of the books reached the books store so that they were sold. In today’s technological multimedia age, however, this involves many other processes.
Relationship between author and distributor
Where in previous centuries, the author of a particular book was typically in charge of its marketing, distribution and everything else, today there are multi-million pound publishing companies who usually do this for the author.
In theory, this means there is harmonious relationship where the author is free to concern himself exclusively with the creative aspect of his work while the publishing company is solely responsible for the business side of things. However, because both parties have vested interests, the respective parties can overstep the unwritten line and there can be conflict.
Distribution There are a variety of channels books can be distributed through, including booksellers, online shops and other retailers (controversially, the market for literature in supermarket has grown massively since the turn of the century). Often, sample copies of books will be sent to retailers for pre-release reviews, before the remaining books travel from the printing factories in bulk via train, truck, sea freight, aeroplane or a combination of the above.
Best distributors of books in the UK
One of the biggest changes to the book industry in the past decade or two has been the emergence of online book retailing, the market leader being the books branch of online giant Amazon. Amazon is a site which sells products, either their own product or acting as a host site for individual vendors or other online retailers.
Amazon has international distribution and post and packaging costs takes a variety of different forms and books (and other products) can often be guaranteed for next day delivery (or later delivery for a smaller price). Amazon Book UK is renowned for its value and reliability.
Biggest publishing companies in the UK The following is a list of the most successful (in terms of profit) UK publishing companies (aka the book company) in descending order, all of their books are sold in major UK book retailers and on their websites: Hachette Livre, Random House, Penguin Books, HarperCollins and Pan Macmillan.