All Tellwell, all publishing packages include print-on-demand paperback distribution through Ingram, which makes the book available for popular retailers like Amazon.com, Chapters/Indigo, and Barnes & Noble to list on their websites.
Depending on the services included in the author's publishing package, the book may also have Enhanced Amazon paperback distribution, hardcover distribution through Ingram, and/or ebook distribution through Amazon Kindle, Kobo (Chapters/Indigo), and/or Smashwords (Apple Books and Barnes & Noble Nook).
At Tellwell we refer to the above companies as “distribution channels” because all book sales, no matter where in the world the book is purchased, will be fulfilled by one of these four companies. Royalties for all purchases of books published with Tellwell are earned via one of these four companies. Tellwell consolidates all royalties and issues payment to authors.
Net Royalties are defined as the total royalty earned via each distribution channel and paid by Tellwell. Royalties are determined by the Suggested Retail Price (SRP) chosen by the author. Each book's print cost will also impact the amount of royalties earned, which is determined by the trim size, page count, interior colour, and binding type. The Retailer Discount also impacts royalties, so in order to maximize royalties we recommend setting the minimum discount available.
The Pricing Page in Octavo will calculate royalties based on the above factors and the SRP chosen.
Royalties are paid out 45 days after each quarter (provided that the author meets the minimum sales threshold of $100).
Preliminary sales reports (only includes sales from Ingram & KDP) are released 15 days after the end of each month, and final sales reports are released 45 days after the end of each month.
Royalties are always calculated based on the Suggested Retail Price
The prices authors submit are known as the Suggested Retail Price (SRP). Online retailers like Chapters/Indigo and Amazon can price books at their discretion, and while listed prices will usually reflect what is submitted, sometimes retailers will list it for higher or lower.
However, after setting the SRP, authors will make the same royalty for their book regardless of what it’s actually priced at on a retail site; for example, if the royalty is $5 on a book with a SRP of $20, then regardless if a retailer chooses to sell the book at $15, $20 or $30, the author will still receive $5 in royalties.
Through the Managed Distribution Program, Tellwell does all the heavy lifting to make an author's book available for sale via Ingram's network of booksellers with ongoing print-on-demand (and ebook, if applicable) order fulfillment whenever the book sells. We also consolidate and pay royalties from all channels and provide regular sales and royalty reports. One annual metadata update to the book’s description, pricing, keywords, and/or categories is also included. Most authors choose this program as opposed to Direct Distribution.
Tellwell will also remain available for support as long as the book is published if there are any issues with the book’s retail listings. To request a change to a book listing, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll do our best to help.
With Direct Distribution, the author must correctly set up the files and metadata with up to four different distribution channels, fill in taxation and banking forms, and liaise directly with the various distributors' support teams. This option is not recommended unless the author has previously distributed a book themselves and has a high level of technical expertise, as Tellwell will not be available to provide ongoing post-publication support.
Unfortunately for Canadian authors, Ingram doesn't distribute directly to Amazon.ca; rather, Amazon.ca will usually list the book through Amazon.com’s feed, but it will occasionally only sell via third party retailers on the website.
This is why Tellwell offers the Enhanced Amazon Distribution service to optimize the Amazon listings on Amazon.ca, where we set up an author’s paperback book on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), which is owned by Amazon.
When a book is set up through KDP, paperback orders placed through Amazon will be printed and fulfilled by Amazon itself, rather than through Ingram. Furthermore, the paperback listings on Amazon.ca and .com won't say "out of stock" and always show at the Suggested Retail Price.
Enhanced Amazon is a good option for many books, but not all. For more detailed information, review the link below.
Books will also be listed by many third party retailers on Amazon, at varying prices and shipping costs. It’s important to bear in mind that Tellwell has no direct control over book price, shipping cost or availability on Amazon websites; however, recall that whatever the advertised price, the actual retail price shown on any website does not affect the royalty agreed to with Ingram or KDP based on the Suggested Retail Price, because all third party retailers will place their orders through Ingram.
All titles in the Managed Distribution program are entitled to one annual listing support change, which may include a change to the metadata, Suggested Retail Price, price discounting, or other minor changes to the listing data. To request a change, simply email email@example.com.
The annual distribution fee keeps the book in all distribution channels originally included in the publishing package.
The first year of distribution is covered in all publishing packages, and the fee for the second year can be waived by completing our client feedback survey.
The difference between distribution channels and retailers
While books can appear for sale on hundreds (or even thousands) of online retail websites, there are only four companies (distributors) to which Tellwell distributes books. At Tellwell we refer to these companies or distributors as “distribution channels”:
Ingram (included in every print package)
Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) (included with Enhanced Amazon Distribution service for print and/or Kindle ebooks)
Rakuten Kobo (Kobo app and Chapters/Indigo)
Smashwords (Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble Nook, and many others)
The reason we call these companies “channels” is because all purchases of the book, no matter where the book is purchased, anywhere in the world, will be fulfilled by one of these four companies and royalties for all purchases of books published through Tellwell are earned via one of these four companies.
For print sales, Tellwell works with two distributors, Ingram and KDP. Ingram prints both paperback and hardcover while KDP only prints paperback format. The major difference between Ingram and KDP is that Ingram does not have a retail presence; they fulfill (i.e. print and ship) orders only. Ingram does have a worldwide network of printers and makes the book available to thousands of retailers worldwide, including Chapters/Indigo, Barnes & Noble and Amazon, who then have the ability to sell these books through their websites.
The distributors and retailers, not Tellwell, ultimately have the choice how their book appears to customers; price, listing location on the website, whether the book is in stock, and shipping cost/times are all examples of factors that are outside of Tellwell's control.
How to get a book into bookstores (consignment vs returns program)
The best way for our authors to start having their books shelved and sold in brick-and-mortar bookstores is to provide the book to the store on consignment. In this scenario, the author has an agreement to provide bookstores with their book (typically ordered in advance by the author through Tellwell's print department), and the bookstore will take a cut of the profits (usually 45–55%). The details of a consignment agreement are different for each bookstore, and arrangements must be made between the author and the bookstore.
In order to purchase a book directly from the distributor (Ingram) and stock it on their shelves, retailers will require a 55% wholesale (or retail) discount to be set, which will significantly reduce the royalty the author will earn per book sold.
On top of this, books will need to be marked as returnable, which comes with an unlimited amount of liabilities as the author is responsible for all charges (45% of the suggested retail price) for each book that is returned.
Tellwell has created a program to enable authors to do this, but there is an opt-in fee (CA$500 +tax) and authors would need to price their book to ensure that the royalty they earn could cover costs in the event that 50% of the books are returned. Beyond this, Tellwell withholds all royalties earned via the distributor until six months following the author’s decision to opt out of the program, since books can be returned at any time in that period.
Most independent authors find a combination of online sales and consignment sales in their local area to be the most effective option when first starting out. With this in mind, it is not advisable for authors to make their book returnable for physical bookstores before understanding the implications, and most importantly, having confirmation from bookstores that they actually intend to stock the author’s book.