Is This a Bookstore Scam? Maybe.


A bookstore emailed me to see if I wanted them to carry my POD book.

First, I had to send a copy to see if it was “appropriate.” Now they say it is, but they want me to send books to them. They do not want to order them from my publisher. Also, I have to sign a 50/50 contract, meaning I’ll lose money on each sale. I’ll even have to pay postage to ship the books. Wouldn’t I be stupid to do this?

It’s wonderful to have you at my back.


Regular bookstores don’t seek out individual authors for books to sell so it’s possible something is up with that outfit.

I don’t have a good feeling about this. They may be looking to charge you an annual fee. I recently heard about a bookstore that would “stock” an author’s books but for a few hundred dollars per year PLUS a large percentage of each sale.

Authors should avoid this type of “deal” as it’s NOT a good deal for authors. The bookstore could conceivably pocket the author’s stocking fee (the annual fee) and not even place the books on their shelves. Seems like some bookstores are coming up with new revenue generators, to the detriment of authors, in a desperate attempt to keep their doors open.

Remember that most books are sold online now, not in physical bookstores. Amazon outsells all bookstore chains, including Barnes and Noble. In 2004, I wrote Marketing to Bookstores: A Waste of Time? I touched on this topic again in 2010 –
Marketing to Bookstores – Still a Waste of Time?

Yes, I love going to bookstores just as much as the next person but I can’t afford to “sell” my books at a loss just to keep bookstores open…and neither can most other authors.


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