FAQ - Distribution & Availability


Where will my book be available?

Once your book is published, it will be listed in the Books in Print® database and will be available for order through Xlibris. Subject to specific limitations, your book will also be available for sale on online retailers such as Amazon.com and Barnes&Noble.com. Channel availability limitations include the following:

  • Flip-over books (e.g., books with two identical cover versions, Spanish [back] and English [front]) will only be available for sale on the Xlibris bookstore.
  • Full-colored books in hardcover formats are not available through online resellers.
  • Full-colored books in landscape formats are not available through online resellers. You may opt to create an alternative format to be made available through resellers (e.g., calendar format or square format).
  • Author pen names must not exceed 38 characters.

Your book may also be picked up by other resellers worldwide through the Ingram and Baker & Taylor distribution network.

Will my book be placed on bookstore shelves?

In the current bookselling climate, it is difficult to place any books on bookstore shelves. This is an industry-wide statement, but applies to print-on-demand books in a particular way. Most booksellers order most of their titles on consignment, meaning that they will pay the wholesaler within 90 days after they SELL the book (the wholesaler in turn then pays the publishing company). If a book does not sell, they can return the book to the publisher at any time, in any condition. Books spend between 6 weeks and 6 months on bookstore shelves before they are returned.

The Xlibris Bookstore Returnability Programme enables bookstores to purchase titles from Xlibris on a returnable basis, and has leveled the playing field for self-published authors. Even with the added attractiveness of a returnable title, the one to approach and convince the bookstores to stock and display copies of your book remains heavily on you as the author.

Do traditional retail outlets like B&N know about you, and do they order from you? Do you pursue sales with them?

Traditional retail outlets are very familiar with Xlibris and how to order books from us. With the addition of the Bookstore Returnability Programme it is easier now than ever before for traditional outlets to order and stock Xlibris titles. Even without the programme, some bookstores will still fulfil special orders for people who order the book through them.

We do not actively pursue marketing and sales with bookstores - marketing and promotion predominantly rest on you as the author-publisher, with assistance from our team of marketing professionals. If a bookstore wishes to order an Xlibris book, they can. About one third of our orders currently come from traditional bookstores.

What distributors do you use?

Xlibris uses Ingram Distribution, which is the largest book distributor in the United States, and Baker and Taylor.

Will my book be available on Amazon?

If you are publishing a Black & White book, it will be listed on Amazon.co.uk, BarnesandNoble.com, and online book retailers (unless you opt for Xlibris' Advantage service). If you have a Full-Colour book, the paperback edition can get the same distribution with the Channel Availability add-on service and is good for two years of availability.

Do people have to buy my book on the Internet?

No. Readers can purchase Xlibris books by telephone at 1-888-795-4274, fax at 610-915-0294, e-mail at orders@xlibris.com, or mail to:

Attn: Book Orders
Xlibris LLC
1663 Liberty Drive
Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403

You can also order copies of your book at your local bookstore by approaching the customer service counter.

How many copies does the average Xlibris book sell?

How well a book sells is heavily dependent on what your goals are as an author, and how actively you choose to promote your book. Some of our authors are very visible, talking on the radio, organising book signings, and reaching and exceeding their sales goals by selling tens of thousands of books. At the other end of the spectrum, we have some authors that have only sold a handful of copies, mostly to friends and family, because that's all they wanted to sell.

We are continually introducing marketing and publicity services to help Xlibris authors achieve their personal selling goal. How well your book sells is entirely up to you.

I already have printed copies of my book. Will Xlibris sell them for me?

Xlibris maintains an exclusively digital inventory of books; because of this we do not manage inventories of previously printed books.

When will information about my book appear in Ingram Book Company's database?

This registration process can take up to 30 to 60 days.

Lightning Source, Inc. is the print-on-demand facility of Ingram Book Company. After your book has completed the publication process, the printing files for your book are transmitted to Lightning Source, where your title is further prepared for distribution. Your file is stored, and the title information, annotations, and other pertinent information are registered in their database, iPage. Almost all independent bookstores, libraries, and online booksellers subscribe to iPage. When orders come in via iPage, it takes 1 to 2 business days for paperbacks and 2 to 3 business days for hardbacks, to print and bind.

Can libraries order my book?

Of course. Libraries can order your book directly from Xlibris and receive the bookseller discount by contacting 1-888-795-4274 or e-mail at orders@xlibris.com.

Will the Xlibris and Lightning Source partnership affect my royalty accounting?

While readers and booksellers may now get your book more quickly there is a downside to working with these distributors. The reporting of your book sales through these channels will take longer than usual. These distributors release their sales reports to us just as they do for traditional publishers and that can result in a reporting delay of two to three months. So, while you may sell more books through the distributors, you won't see the results reflected right away in your royalties statement.

Start Publishing Your Book Today!

Call 1-888-795-4274 or e-mail to publishtoday@xlibris.com for your free consultation. Get Started today by requesting your Free Guide To Publishing Services.