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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 format are not available through online resellers. Should you want to make your book available for online distribution, you need to purchase a new publishing package and choose a trim size with channel availability.
  • 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 networks.


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 Program it is easier now than ever before for traditional outlets to order and stock Xlibris titles. Even without the program, some bookstores will still fulfill 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 or Full-Color paperback book, it will be listed on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and online book retailers. The hardback format for picture books is not available for purchase through any of these online booksellers.


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, organizing 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.


What is offset printing?

Offset printing is a method of mass-production printing in which digital book files are converted into film negatives that are used to etch the pages of a book into custom metal plates. After ink is added to the plates, large rollers pick up the ink from the plates and then transfer it to paper. Offset printing is commonly used in traditional publishing, allowing authors to print their books in bulk. Typically we use Print-On-Demand (POD) fulfillment, where books are printed one at a time after each book order is placed.


What are the benefits of offset printing?

  • More design and print flexibility. You’ll have more options than what is supported through POD printing, such as the following:
    • The ability to print at a higher resolution, meaning sharper and cleaner book covers and interior type than POD because of the printing tools used.
    • Additional cover and paper stock options, such as gloss- or matte-coated paper stock.
    • Additional trim size and design options (example: embossed text on the front cover).
  • Lower author price. Each book costs less for the author to print when compared to POD. The cost to print each offset is individually quoted depending on volume and the book’s specs.


Why would I want to do offset printing?

There are several reasons why some of our authors choose offset printing. If you’re considering offset printing, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you have special print requirements—such as unique formats, paper options, binding or cover treatments—that are not supported or available through POD?
  • Do you have a large reach and ability to process a large number of orders? Do you want the opportunity to sell a large number of books directly to customers?
  • Do you want to lower your print cost to maximize your return on books you sell?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, offset printing might be right for you. Call your Book Consultant to discuss your options.


What are the disadvantages of offset publishing?

Offset publishing is certainly not for all authors, as most are satisfied with the POD advantages. Offset publishing requires a large upfront investment that authors may not wish to spend, and it does not guarantee that bookstores will pick up your book.


Is there a minimum print run that offset is available for?

Yes. To benefit financially from your offset investment, we suggest that you plan to print a minimum of 1,500 units. Please contact your Book Consultant for more information.


How much does it cost to do offset printing?

The cost of offset printing is quoted on a case-by-case basis, depending on your book’s format and the volume you wish to print. Please contact your Book Consultant for more information.