Like many authors, I have several ways to get my books into the hands of my adoring fans. Who number in the dozens, I'm sure ;-)
Libraries and bookstores can order paperback copies wholesale from Ingram Books in the US, or overseas, or from Red Tuque Books here in Canada. Regular customers can order online from Amazon or Chapters/Indigo, or buy a copy direct from me at a book reading or writer's festival. Or if they bump into me on the street or in a pub or cafe, I always have a few copies with me. Of course. Or they can read it via their library. Only the Ottawa one so far, but I'm asking other libraries to order it, and readers can certainly request it on their own. Ditto for finding ebook versions - online, for Kindle, Kobo, iBooks, etc - with no DRM protection so it can be passed on to others. Or teh ebook may be in your library too.
So which is the best way?
For readers, a face to face purchase means they get a discount, on a signed copy, with a chance to chat with the author. Bookstore or online purchases are more expensive, but more convenient. And the library is both cheap and easy.
For me, the author, online or bookstores are simpler, but - since I have to sell to them wholesale with returns - my profit is much smaller. Face to face, even with a discount, gives me twice the profit, plus a chance to talk to my readers, and remind them to leave a review online somewhere. As for libraries, I get still the small wholesale profit, but the Canada Council of the Arts has a program that compensates authors for having their book in libraries. Plus this increases my readership.
Which is the best for me? Whatever gets my books out there, to be read, reviewed, and recommended to others.