Thor DistirbutionThor Distribution - How It Works

About the THOR Program

  1. Who is THOR?
  2. What is THOR Distribution?
  3. What is POD?
  4. What are the benefits of the THOR Program?
  5. What are the disadvantages of the THOR Distribution Program?
  6. How do I get started?
  7. How much does it cost to have my book distributed by THOR Distributors?
  8. How much will I make per book sold through THOR Distributors?
  9. When do I get paid?
  10. Can I have my book printed somewhere else and still participate in the THOR Distribution Program?
  11. Does THOR have an online bookstore to help me sell my book?
  12. Who controls the retail price of my book?
  13. Why do I have to buy at least 100 copies of my book before I can participate in the THOR Distribution Program?
  14. Why do you recommend that I make an initial order of at least 500 copies?

About POD

  1. What is a POD Publisher?
  2. What is a POD Printer?
  3. What is the difference between a POD Publisher and a POD Printer?
  4. Are you really a Self-Publisher?
  5. What makes this different from Xlibris, IUniverse or Authorhouse?
  6. What is the difference between the THOR Program and other POD programs?

About Distribution

  1. Can I sell books directly to bookstores or is this an exclusive distribution arrangement?
  2. Is THOR Distribution meant to take the place of traditional distributors like IPG?
  3. How long will it take to outgrow the THOR Distribution Program?
  4. How many books do I need to sell through book wholesalers to make it financially viable to use a traditional distributor?

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About THOR Answers

Who is Thor? Go Back to the Top
In Norse mythology Thor was the personification of thunder and the principal war god. Son of the chief god, Odin, and second only to him in importance, Thor was particularly popular among the lower classes of society. He was armed with a hammer (Mjolnir) that returned to his hand after he hurled it at enemies, a belt that doubled his strength when he wore it, and iron gloves that helped him use the Mjolnir effectively. Most of his battles were fought against giants, and he was benevolent to humankind. Thor was noted for his ability to drink vast amounts; he is generally portrayed as a crude, red-bearded, middle-aged warrior who relied on his immense strength rather than on his wits.

According to one popular legend, the giant who constructed the residence of the gods was rewarded with the Mjolnir. When it fell into the giant Thrym's possession, Thor retrieved it by pretending to be the goddess Freya, whom Thrym demanded as his wife in exchange for the hammer.

Thor, also known as Atli, is identified with Donar, the thunder god of Teutonic mythology. His name survives in the English weekday name Thursday, its German counterpart, Donnerstag and in the Dutch Donderdag.


What is Thor Distribution? Go Back to the Top
Thor Distribution is a strategic alliance between Self Publishing, Inc., a New York printing services company with over 100 million books in print , and Lightning Source, a Tennessee based digital printer with just under 10 million books in print. The Thor program provides publishers with a cost effective POD alternative to traditional book distributors. The Thor delivery channels cover over 90% of the bookstores in the US.


What is POD? Go Back to the Top
The meaning of POD (Print on demand) is a printing process where books are printed on an as needed basis one book at a time. POD has evolved to mean any type of short run printing. There are very few true print on demand printers in America. Lightning Source, Self Publishing, Inc.Communication’s affiliate in Thor Distribution, is the oldest and largest.


What are the benefits of the Thor Distribution Program? Go Back to the Top
• Cost effective way to make your books available to the major book wholesalers.
• Maximum return for minimum investment.
• No inventory sitting in distributors warehouse, unsold but inaccessible to you, the publisher.
• Books are printed one at a time and only printed if they are sold.
• Books are sold on a non returnable guarantee sale basis.
• There are no collections or bad debt to worry about.
• Easily converted to traditional distributor


What are the disadvantages of the Thor Distribution program? Go Back to the Top
There is only one real disadvantage to the program. That is while your book is available to over 90% of the bookstore in the US; they are not physically on the shelves of any bookstore. This is balanced by the fact that the Independent Publisher is required to print at least 100 books (500 minimum preferred) before they can be a part of Thor Distribution. It is these books that are the “seeds” for the “Buzz” that the publisher is going to create for their book.


How do I get started? Go Back to the Top
It’s easy to get started. First thing you need to do is fill out the new title information form. Once you have printed at least 100 copies of your book through Self Publishing, Inc., you sign up for the Thor program. As soon as your initial order of books is completed to your satisfaction, your digital file will be uploaded for POD distribution. It’s as easy as that.


How much does it cost to have my book distributed by Thor Distributors? Go Back to the Top
The cost is $129 with NO MONEY DOWN, for one year of availability. (Each year after first year costs $19.95. ) The initial $129 fee with no money down will be subtracted from actual sales. No sales, no fee.


How much money will I make per book sold through Thor Distributors? Go Back to the Top
You make the difference between the wholesale cost and the cost of printing. The wholesale cost is 50% of the retail cost and you set the retail cost, so you control how much you make. Realistically, you need to set the retail price of your book to be in line with other similar books in a bookstore. Take a walk through your local bookstore to get a feel for what your book can retail for. For figuring purposes, we?ll assume that your 5 X 8 paperback is 256 pages and will retail for $14.95. Your wholesale price is $7.50. Your printing price for wholesale sales is figured at $.013per page plus $.90/book or $4.23 so your profit will be $3.25 per book. That $3.25 remains the same no matter how few or how many books are sold through this POD method. The best thing about this number is that it is a net number so there are no other costs to be subtracted. That same book as a hardcover with a retail price of $24.95 is figured at a wholesale price of $12.48 and a printing cost at $.013 per page plus $6/book. If the book has a jacket the printing increases by an additional $1.55ea, so your printing cost would be $9.33 without jacket and $10.88 with jacket. This will make your profit $3.15 without a jacket and $1.60 with a jacket. If the retail price is raised to $29.95, your profit is $5.65/book without a jacket or $4.10 with a jacket. REMEMBER: The Thor printing price may vary significantly from the price you paid for your original offset or digital printing. Double check your math so you are not surprised later on.


When do I get paid? Go Back to the Top
Payments go out monthly via Paypal.


Can I have my book printed somewhere else and still participate in the Thor Distribution Program? Go Back to the Top
Sorry but this program is strictly reserved for customers of Self Publishing, Inc. (www.BoooksJustBooks.com / www.selfpublishing.com / www.rjcom.com)


Does Thor have an online bookstore to help me sell my book? Go Back to the Top
The Self Publishing, Inc. bookstore is located at www.JustBookz.com. Like the Thor Distribution Program, www.JustBookz.com is reserved exclusively for customers of Self Publishing, Inc.. Books sold through www.JustBookz.com are sold at a 40% discount, compared to the Thor program 50%. Special “Keyword Internet Marketing” is available to bookstore members at no additional cost. There is a $24/year storage charge to be a part of the bookstore. That $24 fee is waived if you agree to use www.JustBookz.com “Buy Me” buttons to clear sales from your website through the JustBookz shopping cart and fulfillment center


Who controls the retail price of my book? Go Back to the Top
YOU DO.  It’s as easy as that.  Along with all the other Vanity Press negatives, many of them control the retail cost and price your book so high that nobody but the author would ever buy it. (Oh, but that’s their idea, remember?


Why do I have to buy at least 100 copies of my book before I can participate in the Thor Distribution program? Go Back to the Top
One hundred is the minimum number of copies needed to get started with www.selfpublishing.com.  We want authors who are serious about marketing their book.  Between friends and family, a couple review copies and maybe a local bookstore signing or two, 100 copies won’t go very far. Remember, it’s not going to be easy marketing a book.  Don’t stack the deck against yourself.


Why do you recommend that I make an initial order of at least 500 copies? Go Back to the Top
If you have researched Independent Self-Publishing much at all, you have probably run across Dan Poynter.  His “New Book Model” calls for 300-500 copies as a start.  We say 500 copies because that is where BooksJustBooks starts printing using a traditional offset printing press where under 500 copies are printed on a digital press. What are the differences? Click here to find out http://www.publishingbasics.com/. Want to listen to a recent interview with Dan Poynter on Reader Radio where he talks about his “New Book Model”, click here http://www.jackstreet.com/jackstreet/RR.Newbookmodel-JBZ.cfm



About POD Answers

What is a POD Publisher?   Go Back to the Top
A POD Publisher is a publisher who publishes books strictly on an as needed basis using a POD printer. They carry no inventory and sell on an as needed basis. While a handful of legitimate POD publishers do exist, most POD publishers are Vanity Press Publishers who charge authors a premium to publish their book.


What is a POD Printer?   Go Back to the Top
Under the strict definition of the term, there are very few true POD printers (one book at a time).  Under the evolved definition (short run) there are many.  Whatever the case, the printer is the one who actually owns the equipment that prints and binds the books.


What is the difference between a POD Publisher and a POD Printer? Go Back to the Top
The printer is the company who owns the equipment needed to print short run books.  The printer sells printed books to the publisher or printing services company. Very few publishers have their own printing equipment.


Are you really a Self Publisher? Go Back to the Top
Self Publishing is made up of two words: Self which refers to you (self) in the first person and Publishing which implies there is a Publisher as in a Publishing company. In order to be recognized as a publishing company by the book industry you need to own a series ISBN numbers. NOBODY can sell, give or assign you an ISBN except for RR Bowker, the North American ISBN agency or an authorized agent of RR Bowker like Self Publishing, Inc.. If you did not buy an ISBN directly from RR Bowker you are not a publisher, therefore you are not a self-publisher. You might be an author who paid a Vanity Press to publish your book so you can call yourself a “Published Author”, but you are not a self-publisher. To read more about the Vanity Press issue click here.


What makes this different from Xlibris, IUniverse or Author House? Go Back to the Top
The above mentioned companies are the leading Vanity Press publishers in the country. If you want to pay a premium to have someone “Publish” your book you go to a company like them. If, on the other hand, you want to self publish your book, you need to be the publisher. The way you become the publisher is to order a set of ISBNs from RR Bowker. If you have any questions concerning ISBN’s click here http://www.isbn.org/ . If you are ready to order your ISBN click here. Thor Distribution only works with publishers. To read more about the Vanity Press issue click here.


What is the difference between the Thor Program and other POD programs? Go Back to the Top
The idea of POD was original developed to allow large publishers an opportunity to keep their backlist alive indefinitely after the titles had run their course through the system. Instead of having to reprint a couple thousand books to keep a title in print, a publisher only needed to have a digital copy on file at a POD printer so books could be ordered on an as needed basis. This is still the primary use of POD. 

The Vanity Press publishers jumped on the POD idea as a method to limit their printing expense while maximizing the profits made off their authors. Vanity Press publishers sell very few books to anyone but the author and the authors friends and family and make most of their money from up front costs to their customers. The last thing that the Vanity Publisher needs is inventory because they aren’t going to sell any books anyhow. 

Thor Distribution looks at POD as a starting point for a new title in the bookstore sales process. It is meant to serve as a “place saver” for the publisher until bookstore sales get to the point where it pays to have a book distributed through a traditional book distributor. Bookstore income is treated as “Found money” while the publisher devotes time and effort into obtaining publicity and selling inventory copies into the special sales market.  That is why the Thor distribution is only offered as an add-on to a regular print run (minimum 100 copies, suggested at least 500 copies)



About Distribution Answers

Can I sell books directly to bookstores or is this an exclusive distribution arrangement? Go Back to the Top
YES!!! The beauty of the Thor Distribution program is that the publisher is free to sell to any retailer they can.  Some bookstores have exclusive arrangements with Ingram or Baker & Taylor so sales to them would come through Thor, but most do not.  If you arrange a book signing at a local bookstore, you are free to sell books out of your inventory at whatever price you wish. You are also free to pursue and retail chain you’d like.  The idea behind the program is to free the publisher of the worry of getting their book listed in the major wholesale databases so marketing efforts can be narrowed to narrower targets.  


Is Thor Distribution meant to take the place of traditional distributors like IPG? Go Back to the Top
NO!!! The Thor distribution program is designed to serve as a starting point.

Most independent publishers lack the funds to effectively market a book to the national market. Getting a new book into the marketplaces is normally a slow process. The math really doesn’t work using a traditional distributor unless you can guarantee a couple thousand bookstore copies per year. This is only going to happen after the publisher builds a demand for a book. Once the bookstore sales are there using the POD method, a traditional distributor can take it to the next level. 


How long will it take to outgrow the Thor Distribution Program? Go Back to the Top
You are never more that one phone call away from outgrowing the Thor program. By removing the worry of bookstore distribution, the publisher’s full attention can be devoted to promoting the book. A couple good reviews, a couple interviews could easily get book sales to the level needed to make dealing with a traditional distributor worthwhile. On the other hand, a book may never out grow the Thor Program and only sell a few hundred copies or less per year through brick and mortar bookstores but remember... it’s found money so that’s not bad either.


How many books do I need to sell through book wholesalers to make it financially viable to use a traditional distributor? Go Back to the Top
The following chart shows you the dollars and cents comparisons between the two types of distribution.  It will give you an idea of where you need to be to start considering a traditional distributor.

Sample Book

  • 6 x 9”, perfect bound
  • 256 pages plus cover
  • 50# white offset
  • 4 color laminated cover
  • $14.95 retail
Copies Sold selfpublishing.com unit cost per copy* Your gross profit/copy for sales via distributor @ 60% discount**    Thor unit cost per copy*** Your net profit /copy on all sales
500 copies $5.42 $0.56 $4.23 $3.25
750 copies $3.90 $2.08 $4.23 $3.25
1000 copies $3.16 $2.82 $4.23 $3.25
1500 copies $2.38 $3.60 $4.23 $3.25
2000 copies $2.00 $3.98 $4.23 $3.25
3000 copies $1.59 $4.39 $4.23 $3.25

*plus shipping and all copies printed at same time
** Not included is any freight to and from, returns, restocking fees, storage all which publisher pays
*** Thor copies print one at a time