Book Distribution for Small Presses, Literary Journals & Self-Published Authors
We’re a book and lit-journal distribution company focused on connecting the best of small-press talent with booksellers who support literary excellence.
We offer four product lines: A small-press catalog, a literary-journal catalog, a catalog for (curated) self-published authors, and a Journal of the Month club — a mystery box for literary journals.
Catalog for Independent Booksellers
Lakeshore Literary Logistics offers an easy-to-use, hassle-free system for buying books at wholesale distribution without the added stress of pushy salespeople, antiquated ordering systems or ridiculous business terms.
We offer three catalogs: Small-Press Books, Literary Journals and Self-Published Authors. We do not require exclusive agreements, nor do we make you pay membership costs or adjust your discount based on your purchase volume. Buy what you want, when you want, with no upsells. And every bookseller earns a full 55 percent discount off list, regardless of whether you do $1 per year or $1M per year in business with us.
Learn more about our program for booksellers by visiting our Bookstores page. To get started, you’ll just need to complete a simple, no-cost online enrollment form. After we “flip the switch” on your wholesale-buyer credential, buy what you want, when you want, at full discount.
Distribution of Small-Press Books
Small presses draw the short end of the stick: They’re the first ones to take a chance on emerging literary talent, but often the last ones to get preferential placement in bookstores. Most distributors charge an arm-and-a-leg just to enroll a title, and don’t get us started on “annual membership fees!” When you’re working on a budget, shelling out a dollar today to maybe earn a few nickles tomorrow isn’t a charming prospect.
The average book enjoys a less than 1 percent chance of ever being stocked on a single bricks-and-mortar retail shelf. We can’t guarantee that any bookstore will buy your books from us, but we can give you visibility — power in numbers! — through a distribution arrangement that specifically focuses on small presses and independent bookstores.
We think our small-press program is a low-cost, low-friction method of getting your product a bit more visibility:
- No cost to sign up and no exclusivity requirements — give us as many or as few titles as you want, in any quantity you want
- Transparent monthly reporting
- A one-time fee of $25 to enroll a new title
- You earn a flat 30 percent off each sale (bookstores get a 55 percent discount, which you’re likely already paying) and we reserve 15 percent for shipping and handling — no obscure “net” math
- We solicit author metadata to promote sales and discoverability with parner retailers
Distribution for Literary Journals
Literary journals represent the first chance many promising new creators enjoy to see their work in print, yet the periodicals-distribution market is so broken that very few of these worthy volumes ever make their way to readers.
We treat a literary journal just like a book — same terms, same catalog visibility. Only a few bits of metadata differ. We welcome any literary journal with an ISBN or a UPC. We’ll carry full or partial issue runs, without an exclusivity agreement. Want to send a handful of copies to see how they’ll fare? Go right head. We do not require a minimum shipment order.
See the Small Press Distribution page for more information about our literary-journal distribution system.
Journal of the Month Club
As a literary-journal editor, you can sign up for this program. No cost! Just tell us how many copies you can send, and when. We’ll pool the participating journals for that month and release them to the Patreon supporters. We don’t require a minimum participation level. And you’re even welcome to insert some literary propaganda betwixt your sheets to promote your journal or to encourage independent subscriptions.
The best part? We know by the beginning of the month how many we need, so we only ask for what we require to fulfill subscriptions. No shipping waste. And every copy we release earns a flat $14 for the participating journal (regardless of the journal’s list price).
Distribution for Self-Published Authors
Many self-published authors produce great books that, by the industry’s design, cannot access the wholesale distribution network. Even if an author gets clever and creates a single-author press, most distributors categorically refuse to enroll single-author presses, which consigns their work to just, basically, the Ingram catalog. But even there, a self-published title often languishes because it lacks support.
We recognize that a lot of self-published titles just aren’t very good. But some of them are fine, and some are even sublime. Although we encourage self-published authors to enroll in our distribution catalog, we look for books that we think meet high levels of textual and design quality and are likely to be purchased by consumers in a bricks-and-mortar context. Many self-published books, including many otherwise worthy titles, may not qualify. But for those that do, this program not only offers a chance at retail placement, but also an opportunity to partner with bookstores willing to host readings or signings with an author from “just down the street.”
We believe that self-published authors deserve a fair shot. That said, we will not accept books released by vanity/subsidy/hybrid presses that charge the author for some or all of the cost of development and production.
The L3 Difference
We’re a subsidiary of a small press, run by people who’ve been editors, authors and publishers, and advised by friends who’ve owned indie bookstores. We understand the painful truth about today’s print market, especially relative to bricks-and-mortar retail: Amazon has sucked a lot of the oxygen out the room, because Amazon serves simultaneously as a publisher, a distributor and a retailer. In the traditional print space, too many different hands grab a slice of a book’s pricing pie, and everyone’s motivated to meet gross-margin targets. Thus, print publishing remains a high-cost, low-margin business.
We’re different. We think “book distributer” shouldn’t be code for “yet another profit-seeking stakeholder that siphons revenue from indie bookstores, authors and small presses.” Rather, we think distribution ought to be a budget-neutral cost center instead of a profit center.
Because our goal is to make a profit off the sale of the books and the lit journal sponsored by our parent company, instead of from the sale of books we didn’t produce, we eliminate profit margins from our distribution operation. That means, in turn, that we can offer the best rates to retailers and publishers, with easy-to-understand terms and transparent reporting.
Remain in-the-know with our quarterly newsletter that highlights new releases in our catalog and provides effective tips for book marketing and updates from partner bookstores and small presses. We won’t spam you, and your email address will never be sold, traded or leaked to Cambridge Analytica.