PDA

View Full Version : How to Approach Book Stores?



Tales of the Pack
06-07-2011, 02:37 AM
N00b question here-

I'll be self-publishing my book through LSI or CreateSpace, upgrading as much as possible for the highest quality look, plus pro graphic design & typsetting. I'd like to approach individual book sellers to suggest they carry my book (mostly local, mostly specialty shops, places where I can make a personal connection, etc).
I know it's a delicate and difficult process, but I don't even know the parlance to make it make sense.
Do I offer a retailer discount, sell in bulk, offer returns? Any guidance would be much appreciated!

Giraffe
06-07-2011, 05:42 PM
Book stores expect a 40% discount and the book must be returnable. Generally speaking, they also prefer to order through Baker and Taylor or Ingram's rather than dealing with individual publishers. As an alternative, you might see if some of your local shops would take the book on consignment and give them a cut of the purchase price for each copy sold. You would have to take the books back if they didn't sell, but it might be a good way to get your product out there.

I would recommend reading Tom and Marilyn Ross's The Complete Guide to Self-publishing and Peter Bowerman's The Well-Fed Self-Publisher to gain some understanding of the logistics of selling to book stores and specialty shops.

Carradee
06-08-2011, 12:25 AM
Dean Wesley Smith has some posts on his blog in his Think Like a Publisher Series (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?page_id=3736) about getting into bookstores, including the discounting that's worked for him, both for the publishing company he used to run and the one he runs now. And according to him, you don't need to offer returns.

I've not tried what he says on book pricing for bookstores, myself, yet. Waiting to get a few more titles done first. :)

DerekJCanyon
06-08-2011, 12:55 AM
I am soon going to start cold-calling bookstores as well, for my young adult novel. I plan to donate 3 copies to each store. Hopefully, the books will sell and they'll order more.

I'm planning to do this for 10 or 15 stores, so it'll be about a $250 investment.

bowiefan1970
06-08-2011, 06:46 AM
The bad thing about bookstores is that they usually display your book with only the spine showing. I'm not saying it's not worth doing, but it's a tough sell. I had two copies of mine in the local Hastings, and they took about 2 months to sell.

Giraffe
06-09-2011, 02:13 AM
The bad thing about bookstores is that they usually display your book with only the spine showing. I'm not saying it's not worth doing, but it's a tough sell. I had two copies of mine in the local Hastings, and they took about 2 months to sell.

If it's a local store, when you drop off the books, try giving them one of those little display stands that holds a book on a counter top with the cover facing the customer. You could even paste a little sign to the top of the display stand saying "LOCAL AUTHOR." This might not work in a bookstore where this kind of high-visibility space goes to paid placements, but a store that sells other things might go to for it.

thothguard51
06-09-2011, 02:39 AM
How to Approach Book Stores?

Money in hand might help...

If you want high visibility, end caps, display tables, and window placements, its gonna cost...

shaldna
06-09-2011, 01:24 PM
Easons in belfast and newtownards often have 'local author' signs on the shelf under the book.

Old Hack
06-09-2011, 08:08 PM
I am soon going to start cold-calling bookstores as well, for my young adult novel. I plan to donate 3 copies to each store. Hopefully, the books will sell and they'll order more.

I'm planning to do this for 10 or 15 stores, so it'll be about a $250 investment.

I've had a word with a bookshop manager I know and she's told me that this is almost certainly a bad idea.

If the book isn't bought by the bookshop in the first place, it won't be on their system; which means they won't be able to sell it; which means that your books will probably just be thrown away almost as soon as you hand them over, or given to any staff member who wants them. It is highly unlikely that they will end up on the shelves, I'm afraid.

You'd do far better to ask if they'd like to buy a few from you, or take the books on consignment, as others have suggested. There's a way for bookshops to get this added to the stocking system, apparently (sorry, I'm vague on these details).

The story might be different with shops which sell books and other stuff; but I can't guarantee it.

kaitie
06-09-2011, 08:33 PM
I'm sure I've seen this discussed on the PA boards before because PA was going to "donate" books to bookstores. There was a lot of talk over why it wouldn't mean anything and any books sent wouldn't be actually put on the shelves, but I just don't remember the details well enough to know why. I'll try to go search for it later and see what they said.

John G. Hartness
06-14-2011, 07:24 AM
Obviously all independent bookstores will be different, but several of them in the Carolinas will accept self-published or otherwise non-returnable books on consignment. I have had some success getting a local bookstore to stock my work that way.

In this case, the store will take up to five copies of as many titles as I want to give them, and will hold them for up to six months. At the end of six months, they pay out their consignment sales and either send me a check and tell me to bring more books over, or they call me and tell me to come pick up my books.

They were also very willing to have me come in and do a signing under their consignment rules. I brought in the stock I had, they put books into inventory as they sold, then took them right back out of inventory in the same transaction (basically logged it in to "buy" the book from me, then sold it to the customer, added a few seconds to the transaction but nothing too bad). Then a few months later I got a check from them for what I sold that day and what they sold afterwards.

You'll do much better with the smaller stores, obviously, because you can make that personal connection. Hope this helps.

Cyia
06-14-2011, 07:53 AM
I'm sure I've seen this discussed on the PA boards before because PA was going to "donate" books to bookstores. There was a lot of talk over why it wouldn't mean anything and any books sent wouldn't be actually put on the shelves, but I just don't remember the details well enough to know why. I'll try to go search for it later and see what they said.

One of the authors in question was contacted by a store manager who had received a box of books "donated" to the store. Rather than toss the books out, the manager treated it as though it was a mistake in delivery and told the author to come pick them up - most wouldn't make that effort and, after determining that the books couldn't be returned, would toss them into the trash bin.

Similarly, there was an idea a while back for "reverse shoplifting", with the idea being that if someone happened across a book an author slipped onto a shelf, and wanted to buy it, they'd take it to the register. The clerk, unable to find the book in the system would "immediately order" it, as it was obviously in demand and then it would get stocked.

Unfortunately, when put into practice, it ended more like "Um... I don't know how this got on the shelf, but it's not ours. We can't sell it."

IF you have a willing local bookstore, consignment is your best bet in most cases.