Marketing to Bookstores – A Lot of Work for Little (if any) Money!

Good morning Angela,

I need to please ask you a question. I have started sending a copy of my book to some large bookstores out west. My first response was no, they wouldn’t accept it because of my publisher’s no returns policy. I’m afraid the other stores are going to say the same.

Thank you for your assistance.



Even if your books were returnable, most of them would likely be returned (at your expense) in dusty, bent and otherwise un-sellable condition. You can read our thoughts on the old WWII practice of book returns here.

I recommend selling a few copies to a bookstore on consignment instead. I must warn you to not sell them more than a handful at a time because chances are most will be returned. One author reported a bookstore telling her all copies of her books were stolen. (They never paid her and I, of course, didn’t believe the bookstore was telling the truth.)

Please see:

How to Sell to Books on Consignment to Bookstores and Other Retailers

Unfortunately, bookstores are dying so we recommend focusing on online book marketing directly to the public instead. Please also see:

Marketing to Bookstores – Still a Waste of Time?

Whatever you do, don’t sign up for those “returnable programs” offered by some POD publishers. They charge authors a few hundred dollars a year to make their books returnable but they know making a book returnable isn’t likely to result in enough book sales to pay for that annual fee. That’s why they don’t offer the service for free.

Have a question for Angela? Contact us here.