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View Full Version : How are books provided at bookstore signings?



Susan B
12-13-2008, 03:37 AM
I know this is a naive question, but I'm wondering what role the author plays in providing the books for author events at bookstores. (This is assuming the book is not self-published.)

I'd kind of figured that the bookstore either has some on hand already, or--more likely for a new author--at least agrees to order a modest number from the supplier ( the publisher or the book wholesaler the store uses.) But I'm discovering that it can be more complicated, depending on all sorts of things. Sometimes the author has to provide the books, and they are sold on a "consignment" basis. Which raises a whole other set of issues.

Anyone have any experiences they could share? I'm very new at this!

Thanks!

flashgordon
12-18-2008, 09:40 PM
Usually if the book is carried by the major distributors, then the bookstore orders copies from them for the signing. If the book is self-published or published by a small press, then either the bookstore orders copies directly from the publisher or from the author. The key is that the books are returnable and that the bookstore gets the standard 40% discount - otherwise, it is generally not viable for them.

Since yours is published by University Press of Mississippi, they should have their books distributed by Ingram, Baker & Taylor, or another distributor and the bookstore most likely will order through them. However, some small indie bookstores do not use these distributors and rely on smaller, more regional distributors.

Basically, each book signing is different because of the dynamics of the industry.

Susan B
12-19-2008, 08:20 PM
Thanks! That's what I'd assumed, and what is turning out to be the case--most of the time, as I've been setting up book signings. I just came across one place that wanted me to provide the books myself. The arrangement ended up being messy in various ways (including financially) so that's not one I'll be doing.

Captshady
12-19-2008, 08:28 PM
I'm no where near this phase, but out of curiosity, how many copies need to be sold before you're even asked to do a signing?

Toothpaste
12-20-2008, 05:44 AM
I find it is less about the author being asked to do a signing, and more like the author asking to do one. That is to say, I've had things arranged for my by my publisher but those are usually at conferences or conventions. Bookstore signings are usually organised by the author herself as a means of self promotion. So technically you don't need to have sold a single book in order to host one. Just convince the book store manager that people will buy the books if they are ordered.

Susan B
12-20-2008, 09:52 PM
I find it is less about the author being asked to do a signing, and more like the author asking to do one. That is to say, I've had things arranged for my by my publisher but those are usually at conferences or conventions. Bookstore signings are usually organised by the author herself as a means of self promotion. So technically you don't need to have sold a single book in order to host one. Just convince the book store manager that people will buy the books if they are ordered.

Yes, that's the rub! Especially if you are trying to arrange events before the book comes out--which you want to try to do, because bookstore event calendars are set several months in advance.

4 of the 6 book release events I have scheduled so far have been initiated by the hosts (3 local independent bookstores, 1 southern university library.) These have all come about through pre-publication marketing by my publisher, a university press. Only 2 of the events have been in response to my own initiatives. So far, I'm happy with the way things are working out. My situation may be a little different because we are focusing on a couple of regional and specialized audiences.