Will you choose only one, either, or all three?
Your manuscript might be flawless on your computer screen, but your meaning won’t translate unless you get it to your intended audience. The distribution choices are endless—will you do what’s easiest? Or what might be most effective?
Evaluate your manuscript. Who will it appeal to? Where can you find your audience?
Some readers still will only read print books, but in order to expand market potential, many books are also published in digital (i.e. tablet compatible) form or as an online (pdf) download—or both.
Amazon is the most commonly chosen option because of their print-on-demand, marketing additives, digital and print distribution features. If you don’t want to do much legwork in distribution, or have a unique (i.e. niche, international) audience—choose Amazon. Then focus on marketing to your readers, assuming you haven’t already implemented a marketing plan.
If you want to sell locally mostly, you might want to print it yourself through a local printing press or use Lightening Source to produce your book, and have a digital version available online through Amazon’s CreateSpace, the Apple Store or even as a download off your own website.
There are, of course, additional distribution choices that require much more work. For example, audio books are another market to tap into, but a good reading voice, quality recording, and easy accessibility can all be issues to address. Interactive books, some of which are available entirely as click-through websites, are another attractive new distribution method, but the technical and testing requirements could raise costs and limit instant accessibility. The publishing market is changing, but it has yet to perfect the technological opportunities available.
No matter what form you decide is best for your book, an effective distribution strategy is essential to getting your book in the hands and heads of the right readers.