5 Ways That Books Wholesaler And Distributors Differ

The framework of the book industry is extremely complex. In this industry, book wholesalers and distributors play a key role in advertising, supplying, and providing books to retail shops. As a business owner, aligning with effective books wholesalers or distributors can help effectively advertise and distribute your inventory. However, there are several differences between wholesalers and distributors that you must be aware of to effectively choose one. Choosing between a wholesaler or distributor influences how much you pay or how much recognition your merchandise receives. To find out the most distinct ways that books wholesaler and distributors differ, continue reading this post.

Different Revenue Models

Book distributors and wholesalers use different revenue models in order to earn profits. These different models ultimately impact how much you are charged and therefore, how much profit you receive. Wholesalers buy books in bulk from publishers. In exchange for their bulk purchase, they receive a discount from roughly 35% to 55%. After their purchase, wholesalers sell these bulk quantities of books directly to retailers. For example, a book wholesaler purchases books for 50% off their list price. The wholesaler then sells those books to a retailer for 30% off their list price, keeping the 20% as profit. Distributors work directly with publishers. In doing so, they work directly as a sales force to get books to retailers. In doing so, they charge a fee based on a percentage of net sales. Publishers distribution fees often range anywhere from 20% to 35%. Consider the differences between the revenue models used by wholesalers and distributors of books.

Selling Methods

Distributors and wholesalers also use distinct selling methods. Distribution companies hire experienced sales representatives. These representatives negotiate directly with large book retailers to sell your inventory for the highest price. This guarantees you earn the highest return on your merchandise. Book wholesalers however, sell differently. Some wholesalers use negotiation techniques to sell to large book retailers as well. However, especially in the case of smaller wholesalers, many use more personal selling methods. For example, wholesalers frequently use popular e-commerce websites or trade shows to sell products. Some may even purchase wholesale items to sell from home. If you are aware that a wholesaler is personally selling your merchandise, you can likely charge them higher prices since they keep all their revenues. Analyze the unique selling methods used by book distributors and wholesalers.


There is a clear difference in the exclusivity received when working with distributors or wholesalers. Distributors act as your own selling agent. They are responsible for selling a pre-determined number of units at a pre-determined price. Working with distributors allows you a level of control over where your products are sold, how much they are sold for, and how quickly they are sold. If you want to avoid selling your books in a specific retail location, distributors can ensure that happens. Wholesalers on the other hand, do not provide this level of exclusivity. They can choose to work for whoever they want, and sell where ever they want. Wholesalers frequently manage several accounts simultaneously. It is crucial to understand the differences in the level of exclusivity offered between wholesalers and distributors.

Who They Work For

Wholesalers and distributors work and serve completely different clients. Since they work exclusively for you, book distributors work on the publisher level. Many distributors work directly for large book publishing businesses. They seek to sell the merchandise you provide regardless of their personal beliefs. Wholesalers on the other hand, do not report to you. Because of this, wholesalers largely work on the customer level. They seek to provide retail locations with popular inventory that customers are purchasing. This leads them to base their purchasing decisions somewhat off their personal beliefs. If they do not believe they can make money off of specific merchandise, they will not purchase it. Consider the differences in who distributors and wholesalers work for when making your decision.

How Much They Charge

There is a very clear difference in how much wholesalers and distributors charge. Wholesalers purchase bulk volumes of books from you for a discount on list price. In this sense, they can be viewed simply as high-volume customers. They do not require any fees other than the discount provided. Because of this, wholesalers somewhat impact your profitability but greatly increase your revenues. Distributor fees are often much larger. Book distributors hire experienced sales representatives. These representatives get publicity for books you want to sell. There are often fees attached to compensate for their services. In addition to this, distributors charge a percentage fee of net sales. While distributors have the ability to greatly increase your overall revenues, it will also significantly impact your profitability. Distributors and wholesalers offer different fees that greatly impact how much you pay.

Book wholesalers and distributors are both key proponents to sell your inventory. However, while both doing so, their methods and techniques differ wildly. Wholesalers and distributors use unique revenue models. In this, they using extremely different selling mechanisms. They both offer different levels of exclusivity, and differ wildly in who they work for. Furthermore, because of these unique services, wholesalers and distributors also differ in how much they charge. If you are confused on the different ways that books wholesaler and distributors differ, consider the points mentioned in this post.

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