Book distribution refers to the process of making your book available to the public. This can include publishing your book in paperback, hard cover, and/or as an eBook, and making the book available to retail channels where people typically go to buy books.

Distribution also includes the process of printing and fulfilling orders, collecting payment, and shipping the books to customers or booksellers who act as middlemen.

Distribution has changed dramatically in the past 20 years. For print books, it is now possible to make your book available to over 39,000 booksellers without spending any cash up front on printing, storage and fulfillment.

Print on Demand systems allow the print edition of your book to be listed for sale with major online retailers like Amazon.com, Chapters.com and BarnesAndNoble.com. Brick and mortar bookstores will also be able to easily order your book through their distributors.

For eBooks, there are no major barriers to having your book published alongside bestselling authors. A handful of eBook formats dominate the marketplace, including:

  • The Kindle (Amazon.com)
  • The Kobo (Chapters-Indigo), which is especially popular in Canada
  • The Nook (Barnes and Noble)
  • Apple iTunes ebooks

The most effective strategy is to make your book available in all of the above formats as well as soft cover and hard cover. This ensures that your book is available to the broadest possible audience in the format they prefer.


Every time a bookstore buys your book for resale, or people buy your book from an online retailer like Amazon.com, you earn a royalty. In assisted self-publishing, you earn much, much higher royalties than in traditional publishing.

We offer two main streams of distribution, Managed Distribution and Direct Distribution.

The Direct Distribution route can be great for someone who really wants to be able to take control of his or her own distribution. This option gives you control of managing your all of your different accounts so you can log in to each individual account and make changes whenever you feel the need! This option puts you in the drivers seat, offering 100% royalties.

The second option, Managed Distribution, is just as exciting. This more assisted option puts a great level of the work on Tellwell, instead of you. This can be a great option for authors who do not have the time to manage multiple accounts and keep up with the agreements of all of the different accounts. Instead, Tellwell will set your book up for distribution with all of the important channels for you. Instead of managing lots of accounts, you just have your Tellwell account where we will consolidate information for you, and make it all easily accessible in one place. This option lets you sit back and relax with 85% royalties.

Here’s a summary of how we compare to the five companies that represent 85% of self-published books. Tellwell offers the best deal for authors in the broadest range of distribution options.

Publishing Feature* Tellwell Author Solutions Lulu Smashwords KDP IngramSpark
Max POD Royalty via major retailers** 70% 10%*** 50% X 40-60% 70%
Kindle royalty 70% 35% 63% X X 40%
Kobo royalty (Chapters) 70% 35% 63% 60% X 40%
Nook royalty (Barnes and Noble) 60% 35% 58.5% 60% X 40%
iBooks royalty 60% 35% 63% 60% X 40%