How to Get Your Book in Waterstones: The Self-Publisher’s Guide

So you want to get your book in Waterstones? Of course, you do! Who wouldn't want their book to be stocked in one of the biggest and most popular bookstores in the UK?

Luckily, getting your book into Waterstones is not as difficult as you might think. In this article, we'll show you how to self-publish your book and get it onto Waterstones' shelves.

There are two main options for getting your book into Waterstones as a self-published author - but keep in mind, nothing is guaranteed!

How To Get Your Book In Waterstones: The Self-Publisher’S Guide

With that being said, here are the two methods:

The Two Main Options For Getting Your Book into Waterstones

  1. Amazon KDP
  2. IngramSpark

There are two main ways to get your book into Waterstones: Amazon KDP and IngramSpark. Both have their pros and cons, so it's important to know which one is right for you. For example, Amazon KDP is the easier of the two options.

IngramSpark is also fairly straightforward but you cannot have submitted your book through Amazon's KDP Expanded Distribution in order to use IngramSpark (this includes having published through CreateSpace).

So, if you're looking to get into Waterstones, you'll need to make sure you choose the right platform for you. 

How to Get Your Book in Waterstones Using Amazon KDP

How To Get Your Book In Waterstones Using Amazon Kdp

Amazon's Expanded Distribution Program allows your book to be sold in physical stores, such as Waterstones, as well as online. There are some things you should know before you make your decision.

The Expanded Distribution Program is an opt-in feature, which means you have to actively choose to participate in it. You can do this on the pricing page when you're setting up your paperback book for publishing. 

You can also add this feature after publishing by returning to the pricing page after your book goes live on Amazon. 

Before you decide whether or not to participate in the Expanded Distribution Program, it's important to weigh all the pros and cons. On the one hand, participating in the program could help you reach a wider audience for your book.

On the other hand, there's no guarantee that Waterstones, or any other store, will sell your book. So sometimes it is a case of putting it out there and waiting to see if you get any additional sales.

Get Your Book In Waterstones Via KDP Expanded Distribution

Amazon Expanded Distribution basically means that other retailers, such as Waterstones, Barnes & Noble, Walmart, etc., can list your book for sale if you publish your book with this feature enabled on Amazon.

You will still receive your royalties through Amazon if a third party sells your book, but your royalty will be lower than if it were sold directly through Amazon. Some authors are fine with this while others are not and simply refuse to choose Expanded Distribution. Which group do you fall into? Let us know in the comments below!

How Does Expanded Distribution Work?

Large distributors sell paperbacks to bookstores and libraries. Your paperback will be available to distributors if you enroll it in Expanded Distribution so that libraries and booksellers can order it.

Booksellers and libraries around the world can order books from Amazon's distributors in the United States and the United Kingdom. Expanded Distribution allows you to make your paperback widely available outside of Amazon, and it is free to enroll your book.

You cannot guarantee distributors will accept your paperback or that a particular bookseller or library will order it if you enroll it in Expanded Distribution. Distributors decide whether to list your book and booksellers and libraries decide whether to order it. It is also impossible for Amazon to tell you which booksellers and libraries purchased your book.

How to Enable Expanded Distribution

  1. Go to your KDP Bookshelf.
  2. Choose the edition of the book you wish to enroll in Expanded Distribution.
  3. Click the ellipsis. The ellipsis button ("...") is located under the Paperback Actions menu.
  4. Select Edit paperback rights & pricing. You can edit the price of published paperbacks by choosing Edit print book pricing.
  5. Check the Expanded Distribution box in the "Royalty and Pricing" section.
  6. Click Publish Your Paperback Book once you've finished setting your price.

Expanded Distribution has not yet been enrolled if you check the box but do not click publish. The enrollment process starts after selecting the publish button and updating the status to Live.

How to Get Your Book in Waterstones Using IngramSpark

How To Get Your Book In Waterstones Using Ingramspark

If you're a self-published author, you may be wondering how to get your book into Waterstones. While Waterstones is a UK-based bookstore chain, they do have a presence in other countries, including the United States.

The good news is that you can use IngramSpark to get your book into Waterstones. IngramSpark is a print and digital distributor with more than 40,000 booksellers worldwide, including Barnes & Noble, independent bookstores, libraries, and schools.

With IngramSpark, self-publishers gain access to Ingram's global print and online distribution partners. As a result, your titles can be distributed worldwide. So if you're looking to get your book into Waterstones, IngramSpark is the way to go.

Who Else Can Order Your Book?

IngramSpark works with many retailers, so your book will be available in plenty of locations. If you have an author website, customers can order your book from there as well.

And of course, if you sell your books at any author events, customers can purchase them directly from you. 

No matter how your potential customers find out about your book, there will be a way for them to purchase it that IngramSpark has made available. 

Some independent authors claim they have had success getting their family and friends to go in requesting their book periodically or going in themselves and requesting it. This could be a great strategy to get the ball rolling if you have a local Waterstones near you.

Spread Your Distribution

Spread Your Distribution

With Ingram's distribution, you're not putting all your eggs in one basket. Your book has access to an incredible amount of opportunities to sell due to Ingram's distribution to all the major players (online and physical stores, gift shops, Big Box chains, libraries, Apple, and many more around the world).

Your book's potential reach and distribution are limited when you enter into exclusive deals with Amazon and beyond. Although Amazon accounts for a large percentage of overall book sales, it is not the only option, and we recommend not ignoring all other retail outlets. You might be turning away potential customers if you do so.

If you'd like more information about working with a book distribution company like IngramSpark, you can check out their Website.

As with Amazon, there is no guarantee that by publishing on Ingramspark that Waterstones will purchase your books. What it does is add your books to their distribution pool so that the purchasing agents at Waterstones, Walmart, or other stores and libraries will see your book, take an interest, then purchase multiple copies at a wholesale price, often times with the opportunity to return the books if they don’t sell.

It is this risk-free opportunity that appeals heavily to the larger stores like Waterstones even as ‘new to them’ author.

How Do The Big Libraries and Stores Like Waterstones Find Your Book Once Published on IngramSpark?

How Do The Big Libraries And Stores Like Waterstones Find Your Book Once Published On Ingramspark?

Ingram distribution partners receive book metadata in various formats that they can then use to populate their own systems. The data includes a synopsis of the book, retail price, reviews, author information and more.

When you publish on IngramSpark and your title is made available in their distribution network, the data about your book becomes available to all of their partner retailers who can then choose to stock your book on their shelves or feature it in their online store.

Ingram also has a feature called iPage which is a digital catalog of all the titles available through IngramSpark. Many retailers use iPage to find new books to stock in their stores.