How to get your book distributed in South Africa

Publishing is an ever-changing landscape, one that can be quite unpredictable to gauge. Over the past few years, we have seen easy access to electronic platforms service the demand for instant content. However, print is standing its ground, likely because of the experience that accompanies reading a physical book.

Many independent authors are faced with the question: How do I distribute my book once it has been published? There are many ways to distribute a book, but not all of them work for every author. Here, we look at distribution options for both print books and eBooks.

It’s important to note that the distribution of eBooks is much easier than print books and, therefore, many authors choose to publish eBooks only. However, according to a recent article, ‘self-published eBooks have yet to see the kind of success in the South African market that authors in other countries have experienced’ (Malibongwe Tyilo, 2020).

How to get your book distributed in South Africa

Print on Demand distribution

This is an important consideration if you are on a tight budget or do not want to print hundreds of copies right away. With print on demand, there is no need to warehouse stock, and orders are filled as they come in.

We at Print on Demand offer independent authors access to a locally based print on demand and distribution service, as well as a global network of e-commerce and physical retailers around the world through the Ingram platform.

You can print one or thousands of copies of your book and this is linked to a distribution network, which includes the listing of titles on:

  • Takealot locally – providing you with the largest digital reach for your titles in SA.
  • Ingram globally – making your title available in every Amazon store, Barnes & Nobel and Betrams around the world.

The benefit of this is that your title is stored in a digital library ready to be printed in the location of the buyer and delivered to their door within three days. Your title is always available, always in stock and is available on demand.

Rise of online book sales in SA

Booksellers and magazine and newspaper publishers, already under pressure because of the recession that constrained consumer spending, were hard hit when shops had to close during the coronavirus lockdowns from March to June 2020. It is predicted that growth in book sales is expected to be below 1% a year over the next three years while sales of magazines and newspapers are expected to decline.

How to get your book distributed in South Africa

This has jump-started e-commerce in South Africa. South Africa’s largest e-commerce retailer, the Naspers-controlled Takealot group, reported revenue growth of 55% in the last financial year. In the year ended 31 March 2021, which included a full 12 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Naspers reported that Takealot’s revenue rose to R8.7 billion, while trading losses decreased to “near breakeven”.

Solutions Print on Demand provides to publishers

Apart from having all your book titles always in stock, available and ready for delivery in three days, Print on Demand has global marketing reach and can upload and manage your titles virtually through ecommerce portals locally and internationally.

It also offers flexible run lengths of 1 to 5 000+ copies; mono and full-colour printing; fast turnaround; local printing of international titles; scanning of out-of-print titles; ‘last mile’ distribution of your titles to customers; and pre-launch printing and title marketing through its ecommerce network to test demand for titles

Distribution of your books, be they print or digital, has never been easier, removing the stress and time spent doing it by partnering with experts.


New call-to-action