I want (a large, specialty book distributor) to sell my book on their website, as well as to physical retailers. My publisher doesn’t like their terms. Do you have any advice?
There are thousands of distributors and specialty retailers across the globe. Like most physical bookstores, they’re feeling the pinch (okay, the deep, guttural stab) of Amazon’s success. In order to survive, they must demand very deep discounts from publishers (and authors), and they want to be able to return books.
If you have self-published your book, you may not be able to afford to work with these firms. Unless you’re buying several hundred to a thousand or more copies of your book, you may not be able to give these firms the 55% to 65% discounts they require.
If they purchase 1,000 copies from you, and then return 900 of them later, you’ll have to find a lot of extra room in your garage and, worse, you’ll have to pay them back for those 900 copies they didn’t sell.
You really need to ask yourself if the risk is worth it. Instead, we recommend marketing your book directly to buyers online. Please see:
Yes, online book promoting can be EASY and FUN! Let us show you how, from Day 1 through Day 90…and beyond!
Also, please see:
We do not accept returns. You can read our thoughts on this practice here:
STOP GLUTTONOUS PURCHASING PRACTICES BY BOOKSTORES! Why ALL Books Should be Non-Returnable!!
If you plan to sell copies of your book on a returnable basis, you should be aware that returned books can be dusty and damaged and, thus, unsellable. If the distributor is willing, sell them just a handful on consignment instead. If those sell, and if you get paid for those, then offer them a larger quantity the next time. That protects you from taking such a large financial risk. Remember, since the distributor can return all unsold copies, their only risk is the return shipping fees on the returned books. But, some distributors won’t even cover that.