Originally a comment from this blog post (edited for my blog).
As a power reader myself (157 books last year)… I’m finding the Traditional Publishers keep repeating a very tired phrase in defense of their business model…
… “Authors NEED print distribution in retailers to succeed”
… or something like that.
So, here’s my relationship as a reader, with these “retailers” they claim an author NEEDS to have distribution in:
1. I don’t go to Wal Mart to buy books, they don’t have any selection.
2. Same for Target and other “big box retailers.”
3. As for Barnes and Noble, my relationship begins and ends at “I want to go pick this book up NOW instead of waiting for it.”
So, focusing on #3, because to me, an author doesn’t “need” distribution in retailers to reach me…
Amazon gets most of my business, because when I type a title into the search box, they say they have it. End of story.
How I get that title?
I don’t need bestseller lists, book reviews (the kind published, not talking about Amazon reviews), advertising etc…
I find my books in discussions, blogs, my friends, my colleagues, etc…
Through PEOPLE (social media anyone? Not just Facebook btw, or even Twitter, almost never there… forums, blogs, email etc…).
I also find books by doing a particular kind of Amazon search:
When I’ve found a book, I look at that line “Customers who like this also bought” or whatever, it usually list about 20 books that are LIKE the book I’m buying.
This works for both fiction and nonfiction books btw.
Bottom line is this, the best way to sell books is to go where your READERS are looking for them.
It is that simple.
I can tell you, from my perspective as a reader, readers ARE NOT looking (very much) in Wal-Mart, Target, etc…
(plus I haven’t bought a book in a retailer for over a decade)
I’m not the only reader who does this, because I also show other readers how to find books they like too 😉
Authors, when a traditional publisher tells you you MUST have print distribution in retailers, that is B.S.. Their top authors might, for now, but publishing is changing (has already changed)… so these dinosaurs of publishing will need to wake up.