Marketing to Bookstores – Still a Waste of Time?

I covered this topic back in 2004 but the question still comes up on a weekly basis.


I have been repeatedly frustrated that I cannot get books on big box or independent bookstore shelves. My book is “up” on many of the store websites for online sales (including many of the top independent booksellers), BUT I still can’t get the actual book in front of potential readers.

I have a big radio interview coming up and I have no place to direct people (other than my publisher’s and other websites) to go buy a copy. I can’t even wiggle into the University bookstores and I can’t help feeling a bit embarrassed about it.

The vast majority of traditionally published books are also not stocked by bookstores. There were more than 750,000 books published in 2009, most of them self-published. There simply isn’t enough shelf space for all of those, even the new traditionally published ones, plus the books already on the market.

Bookstores are folding left and right and most books are purchased online now, through the large, online bookstores, and even publishers’ websites.

My advice is that authors should concentrate not on a physical bookstore presence, but instead on marketing online directly to potential readers.

There is a link to my series on online book marketing here:
One-Shot Book Marketing Does NOT WORK – But THIS DOES!

Physical bookstores are no longer the main key to an author’s success. And, while most bookstores won’t stock your book, any bookstore will order your book if a customer calls or comes in asking for it.

I’ll say it again. Marketing directly to customers online is what sells books. ‘’s print books are listed on,,,, and many other smaller, online bookstores, both domestic and foreign. Any bookstore with an Ingram account can pick up Ingram’s feed, so BookLocker authors find their books listed in stores they’ve never heard of.

Most bookstores use Ingram’s database to find and order books so bookstore customers can ask their neighborhood bookstore to order a book as well.

What you should tell your radio listeners is this:

“My book can be ordered from the publisher, (insert name here), or from your favorite online or neighborhood bookstore.”



How to Sell Books on Consignment to Bookstores and Other Retailers

Another Shocking Reason to NEVER Accept Book Returns!

Offering Credit to Bookstores Can Be VERY Risky

Do NOT Sneak Your Self-Published Book Onto Bookstore Shelves!


A practical resource outlining the self-syndication process, step-by-step. Packed with detailed information and useful tips for writers looking to gain readership, name recognition, publication and self-syndication for their column or articles.