Open Road Press has a book distributor! On Friday, we received a signed contract from Advocate Distribution Solutions, a division of Send The Light Distribution. Two Are Better: Midlife Newlyweds Bicycle Coast to Coast will soon be available to a book store near you!
Having a distributor offers several advantages.
1. It expands a publisher’s potential markets exponentially. Most book stores on planet Earth can now buy Two Are Better through their normal supply channels.
2. A full-service distributor like Advocate has a team of sales representatives who pitch books to wholesale and retail book buyers. Distributors have relationships with industry book buyers that publishers do not. And they’re essentially commission-based, so they only make money when the publisher makes money.
3. Since they aggregate supply from many publishers, distributors create efficiencies in logistics and billing and share the financial benefits with their client base. A publisher is no longer encumbered with expensive small-lot shipments or saddled with detailed recordkeeping. By trading off some of the book profits to streamline its overhead, the publisher can devote more of its time to creating other books that can increase its revenue.
4. Distributors stand between the publisher and book stores whose profitability is being challenged by online retailing. They’re in a better position to manage the credit risk. The distributor bears the risk of loss if their customers can’t pay their bills. The publisher bears less of the overall credit risk, although its risk is now concentrated with the distributor.
For us, signing on with this particular distributor comes with a bonus. One distributor who considered Two Are Better suggested that we had a better solution awaiting us than what he could offer. He thought the book would appeal to both the general and Christian book markets, and he did not have good channels to Christian trade. Advocate does…and with a strong presence. They also service the general market. Although our book is not a Christian book per se, they picked it up because they also market wholesome books.
Beyond the benefits cited above, this feels like a strong vote of confidence. A distributor like Advocate does not often add a fledgling publisher with only one title. We’re thankful they’re willing to take a chance on us. But just because we now have a distributor will not make the headwinds go away. Book industry experts have told me that there is no way of predicting–or controlling–a book’s future. Not even an appearance on Oprah guarantees success.
Yet, we’re encouraged by the Advocate deal and other positive feedback we’ve received, such as the interest of choosy distributors, interviews with media, and positive reviews. And, we have more seeds planted in the fields. They lie fallow for now. It takes time to read a book. And it’s easier for contacts to wait on the sidelines and see how things develop before they jump into the fray. But, that’s okay. We’re in the game, and we think our prospects for success just kicked up a notch.