"What Does Distribution Really Mean for Self-Publishers?"
Yeah, the article is directed toward self-publishers, but I think there's a lot for a writer to learn regarding distribution, whether you're with a large press, small press, or decide to self-publish. The article provides some insight into the difference between distribution and having a listing in the Ingram catalog...
Joel Friedlander says, "A self-publisher these days, having read one too many websites, thinks that having their book printed at Lightning Source grants them “distribution.” You can go to different author-services companies and buy “distribution packages” which amount to about the same thing: a listing in the Ingram catalog.
According to this, distribution is equal to a catalog listing. It is simply made available for purchase.
But this is really closer to the definition of a wholesaler, not a true distributor. Even small-press distributors attempt to sell the books of their publishers. A large, traditional publisher doesn’t just have a listing in a catalog. They have a dedicated sales force."
If you're looking into publishing with a small press, do your best to find out about their distribution. Do they make your book available for purchase with a listing in Ingram or do they have a distributor and a dedicated sales force?