“Should I buy book returns insurance from my publisher?”

“Should I buy book returns insurance from my publisher?”

Q –

New author on verge of publishing first memoir. I would desire exposure through Amazon, B&N, etc. etc. in addition to brick and mortar book stores. How serious should I consider book return insurance and what’s a reasonable estimate to budget for?

Thank you in advance for your opinions and thoughts.

-P.L.


A –

I do not recommend book returns insurance (nor any derivative of those words – lots of publishers call it all sorts of things). If making a book returnable really resulted in more net book sales, all publishers would be offering that service for free.

1. Making a book returnable isn’t likely to result in increased net sales (meaning total sales less returns). In fact, you might find yourself in the red because the returns process can cost you even more money in the long run.

2. Bookstores should be responsible for their own ordering practices. Publishers and authors shouldn’t have to foot the bill for a bookstore that over-orders.

3. Most people are going to buy your book from Amazon anyway because just about everybody has an account there.

4. Even if your book is returnable, is is HIGHLY unlikely it will get stocked in stores. With more than a million books being published now, in addition to the best sellers, mid-list titles, and classics, there simply isn’t enough shelf space.

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