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Member only guide to the Australian book industry.
Have you self-published, or are you looking to self publish, and want to know how to get your print book into Australian bookshops?
The ASA has negotiated an agreement with John Reed Books, to provide sales and distribution into Australian bookstores, for ASA members’ print books. This is an extension of the temporary arrangement that was put in place following the liquidation of Dennis Jones & Associates in September 2018.
This is a Full member-only service for authors who own the rights to their new work in the Australian market, or who have reverted the rights to backlist titles with a proven on-going sales pattern. We are delighted that John Reed Books have been willing to work with us to make this valuable access available to our members.
Please read the Terms and Conditions for the full details of the arrangement.
Please read the FAQs below, as these will answer many of the questions you might have about the arrangement.
Distribution is the process of making your printed book available to retailers, including independent bookshops, book chains such as Dymocks and Collins, library suppliers, online retailers including Booktopia and Dymocks and wholesalers. Generally, it is very difficult for self-published titles to be stocked by bricks and mortar retailers in Australia without going through a distributor. Imagine how difficult it would be for an independent author to individually knock on the doors of bookshops around the country. A distributor is your way of accessing retailers.
The distributor will:
New titles are unpublished books or books that are within 3 months of publication (at the time of submission).
Backlist titles are any titles published more than 3 months prior to submission.
There are several ways in which booksellers can find out this information:
No. This arrangement is for print titles only. You will be free to continue selling your ebooks as you please.
No, JRB is a distributor and does not offer printing services (including print on-demand). You will need to liaise with a printer and supply stock to the JRB warehouse in order for the title to be distributed.
JRB has accounts with and supplies stock to almost all bookstores in Australia, excluding QBD and discount department stores such as Big W. Booksellers who do not yet have accounts with JRB can easily create one by ordering a title distributed by JRB. Your titles will still be discoverable in the industry databases.
Yes, Amazon Australia is an Australian retailer and can order stock from JRB. JRB provide their title information to Amazon Australian regularly and will supply stock for any orders placed.
As with all distributors, JRB cannot guarantee that retailers will order stock of your title.
Yes, libraries and library suppliers will be able to order all titles accepted into the JRB distribution arrangement.
The JRB sales force may be unable to convince booksellers to stock your title if the pricing is well above industry standards. Consumers have expectations for the recommended retail price (RRP) of books and will be less inclined to purchase titles outside of this range.
We generally recommend pricing your title in line with industry standards. For example, a paperback commercial fiction title would retail somewhere between $19.95 and $32.95, depending on the size of the book. Anything above this range would reduce the saleability of your title and anything less would impact your earnings.
Please spend a few moments researching the RRPs of titles in your genre. Take note of the genre, readership and format (paperback/hardcover) and see how this affects the pricing.
You can do this by simply browsing the books available in retailers, for example on the Dymocks website: https://www.dymocks.com.au/
You should also consider your printing expenses and the revenue split with JRB before setting your RRP. Please see the Schedule 1 in the terms and conditions for full information on the revenue split.
Booksellers and libraries will see your title information via two sources: JRB catalogues and order forms, and from the metadata tied to your ISBN.
The information you supply at submission will be included in the JRB catalogue, circulated to their bookselling network. JRB creates an Advance Information sheet for your book, which details all the key information booksellers may wish to know before stocking your title. Please find some information on advance information sheets by Jericho Writers here.
Many book title databases and retailer websites will upload title information automatically from the metadata of your ISBN. JRB is unable to modify your ISBN information, as they do not have access to your publisher account with Thorpe Bowker Identifer Services. As such, we highly recommend members joining the JRB Distribution arrangement update their ISBN information via Thorpe Bowker’s My Identifiers website, where you originally purchased your ISBN. This way, you can ensure consistency across the JRB system and other title databases that use your ISBN metadata. To learn more about assigning and editing metadata on your ISBN, please read the Thorpe Bowker resource here.
The ASA submits all titles to the JRB for their review and approval once a month. Depending on when you submit your online form please be aware that approval could take up to 4 weeks from the date of submission.
If accepted, you will be invited to send stock to the JRB warehouse. Generally, it takes approximately 2 weeks after stock is received to have your book available for order.
The timeline varies depending on when you apply, but we suggest allowing up to two months after submission for your title to be available across the databases at the very outside.
As far as when you should be submitting your book to the distribution service, you might like to consider the timing of the sell-in process to bookstores, as follows:
Typically bookshops buy new titles 2 months in advance of their publication date. The only exception to this is Christmas, when most stores will finalise all their Christmas buying by the end of August. So if you want your title to be available in bookstores for Christmas you need to submit it for approval by mid to late June.
Any title submitted after the end of August will not appear on a sales list until the following year.
If your book is accepted, you will be advised how many copies you need to send to the JRB warehouse. Stock is required before your title can be uploaded to the databases. On average, JRB requests between 20-50 copies of each title.
If JRB is running low on stock of your title, they will place a reorder with the ASA. We will immediately advise you and ask you to send the required reorder direct to the JRB warehouse. You pay for the cost of the freight to the warehouse.
You will be responsible for shipping stock to the JRB warehouse. JRB will then be responsible for supplying stock to all outlets that place an order.
You supply JRB on a consignment basis, which means that you get paid when your book sells, not when JRB receives stock. This does mean that it can take some time for you to receive revenue: If your book sells in Month 1, the retailer will pay JRB 60 days later, in Month 3. JRB then pays ASA and ASA pays you, the Author, on a quarterly basis. The payment schedule is detailed in Schedule 2 of the terms and conditions.
Because the ASA is only charging the nominal annual administration fee and is not taking any share of the sales revenue, we do need to make sure that we have received the cash from your sale before we are in a position to pay that money on to you.
Payments are made directly into the bank account that you provided us when you joined the service and you will be sent a notice itemising the sales of your book over the 3-month period and the total of the payment to be made.
You will be paid your share of the sales (30% of RRP less GST) as per the quarterly schedule. The revenue split is detailed in Schedule 1 of the terms and conditions.
Print distribution can arguably be the most expensive part of the self-publishing process, due to the logistical expenses of shipping and the 40-50% discount on the RRP provided to booksellers. Authors need to provide their titles on consignment to the JRB warehouse in the MidCoast region of NSW, so you will be responsible for both the printing costs and shipping stock to the warehouse. JRB will be responsible for the costs involved in supplying the individual bookstores, libraries, etc.
If you have access to short, cost-effective print runs or currently own stock of your book that is eligible for sale in Australian retailers, then this arrangement can work. We have found that authors who use print-on-demand may incur higher costs of production per title than those who can print a short run directly with a printer.
Creators of highly illustrated works may find the costs of production outweigh the return from sales, as printing hardcover, glossy, colour pages can be quite expensive to produce in Australia.
As such, we highly recommend authors budget carefully when considering their printer and the RRP. Please see the revenue split in Schedule 1 of the terms and conditions to understand what your earnings will be per title. Your RRP should be set in line with industry standards (please see the question above ‘What price should my title be?’) but also should be enough to cover your printing and shipping costs.
Essentially, the main consideration you should make before entering the JRB distribution arrangement is whether you will recover costs or whether you will be running at a loss.
No. The arrangement assigns JRB the exclusive distributor for your print title in Australia. If the print title is available via another Australian source, it would breach the arrangement. Your book cannot be available print-on-demand AND with JRB at the same time, as this arrangement assigns JRB exclusivity to sell and distribute the print title in the Australian market.
The arrangement with JRB is exclusive as far as book retailers are concerned. You cannot therefore supply any bookshops, but you can sell your title in person at workshops and events that you have organised yourself. It is up to you whether you wish to also sell your title from your website (if you have an ecommerce function on your website).
While you cannot sell your title directly to retailers and libraries, authors are encouraged to promote booksellers and librarians to stock their titles via JRB. If you are promoting to bookstores and libraries, you can let them know that your book is distributed by JRB and direct them to order stock via JRB. The retailers and libraries will have access to the necessary databases to place an order.
Yes you can, but your book will require a barcode to be distributed in Australian bookstores and libraries. If you do not have one and you have the ability to edit your cover before printing, you can purchase these from Thorpe Bowker Identifier Services. Once you have included these on your cover, you can then do a short run printing to supply stock to JRB.
You might also need to consider whether print-on-demand is the best way to acquire print stock of your title, as print-on-demand can sometimes incur a higher price per title than a print run with a printer. Please read the questions ‘Is this service right for me?’ and ‘What price should my title be?’ for further information.
Associate members can upgrade their membership at any time via the Member Dashboard.
If your membership is due for renewal, you can upgrade to Full membership during your membership renewal by selecting one of the upgrade options in the Member Dashboard.
Please ask any questions you have BEFORE you submit your form. The form is not an expression of interest. By submitting the form, you are ENTERING the agreement. So please contact the ASA first if your question is not answered in the FAQs or if you are uncertain about anything in the terms and conditions.
Please contact the ASA on 02 9211 1004 or email [email protected]
By submitting your book to the John Reed Books Distribution arrangement, you are agreeing to the terms and conditions and entering the arrangement.
Please ensure are in a position to assign JRB as your exclusive print distributor and that you understand the terms and conditions.
If you have any questions or are uncertain of your eligibility, please contact Lauren Anderson, Services and Awards Coordinator, at [email protected] or on 02 9211 1004.
If you are eligible and ready to enter the distribution arrangement, please submit your book details via the button below.
The ASA offers members access to a Publishing Consultancy Service, a one-on-one consultation with an industry expert who can provide you with tailored advice about any aspect of the publishing industry.
Our comprehensive and regularly updated FAQ section addresses many common queries about publishing, copyright, earning a living and rates of pay. With links to further detailed resources, this section is a must-see for anyone who has a query regarding the publishing industry.