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STAGE 4A: Distribution. Lecture 7 Publishing Principles and Practice ACP 2079. This Week’s Lecture is…. Based on a reading of the set text, Self-Publishing Made Simple by Euan Mitchell, pages 105-125. Legal Deposit.

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STAGE 4A: Distribution

Lecture 7

Publishing Principles and PracticeACP 2079


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This Week’s Lecture is…

  • Based on a reading of the set text, Self-Publishing Made Simple by Euan Mitchell, pages 105-125.


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Legal Deposit

Before distributing books to the general public there is a simple but important step a publisher must take or be fined:

Legal Deposit

This involves sending a copy to both:

  • The National Library of Australia

  • Your State or Territory Library.


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The Launch

The launch is an event designed to publicise the release of a new title.

  • Large publishers will usually try to attract the media to a launch during normal business hours

  • Small publishers will usually try to attract friends and family of the author/s to a launch after hours (weeknights and weekends).


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Before the Launch

  • The publisher distributes copies of the title to as many stores as possible before the publishing date (“pub date”).

  • These orders are known as “subs” (subscriptions) or “sell-ins”.

  • A publisher who does not have copies of a book on the shelves of most bookstores by the “pub date” will not last long in the job.


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Traditional Distribution Stages

  • Introduce the title to stores via a sales representative (drives to the stores)

  • An order is placed with the distributor which may or may not be the publisher (see agencies on p.122)

  • The distributor:- picks,- packs, and- posts the book/s (including an invoice)

  • The distributor chases any unpaid invoices

  • The distributor returns a percentage to the publisher


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GST $1

Retailer $4

Distributor $2.50

Publisher $3.50

Percentage Split of Revenue

A reminder of the percentage that a distributor takesfrom an $11 book


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Sale-or-Return vs Firm Sales

  • Bookstores generally stock books on a sale-or-return basis, i.e. if a book doesn’t sell within a certain time, then the store can return it for a refund.

  • Sometimes a store will buy books on a ‘firm order’ basis, but will ask for a higher discount such as 50%.


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Direct Selling

  • Some publishers sell their books direct to customers via the internet, for example:http://www.lonelyplanet.com.au/

  • But most big publishers are not yet prepared to upset their relationship with existing distributors, for example:http://www.penguin.com.au


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Internet Distributors

  • Some internet distributors stock books as simply one more commodity they sell over the internet, for example:http://www.amazon.com

  • Some internet distribution is done by bookstores themselves, for example:http://www.angusrobertson.com.au


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The Future of Distribution

Recent challenges to the publishing industry:

  • Competition from other forms of entertainment and avenues of information

  • Competition from overseas bookstores such as Borders

  • Introduction of GST for books

  • Internet sales of books

  • Print on demand

  • E-books.

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