Long, long ago, when we first started publishing print books back in 1999, we used to offer all retailers, schools and libraries credit. Some had ridiculous terms, like “Net 90” (meaning we had to wait three months for a check that sometimes never arrived), while others blatantly violated our purchase terms…
I received the following letter last week:
I was interested in your article on book return policies. Recently, I published a book with AuthorHouse and was expected to contact bookstores myself. When they found out there wasn’t a return policy in place they wouldn’t order my book. AuthorHouse then came out with a fee (currently $699) for book returns. They wouldn’t cooperate with advertising either even though it was part of the package. The publisher would not help with the most important part of the presentation of my book. Both publisher and bookstores expected me to do it all myself.
I’m often asked how new authors, both self- and traditionally-published, can get their book into bookstores.
Traditional publishers often don’t get the majority of their new titles on bookstore shelves. There are just far too many books on the market for bookstores to carry all published titles on their shelves. Sadly, many authors think that getting a traditional contract means their book will be in almost every bookstore in the country. That’s just not the case.
Authors who successfully manage to get their books on a few bookstores shelves are primarily targeting local bookstores which are often happy to help a local author.
As the author of a POD book, you have three hurdles to overcome in selling to bookstores: discounts on POD books are generally less than 40% (sometimes as low as half that), POD books are usually non-returnable (which discourages experimentation), and the publisher isn’t promoting your book to the bookstores. Here are some ways that you can overcome these hurdles and get your book into the stores…
During the past month, I’ve received dozens of emails from concerned authors who have heard rumors that bookstores won’t sell their print on demand (POD) books. While this may be true in some cases, it’s certainly not the standard. And, these rumors shouldn’t discourage you at all from self-publishing your book through affordable print on demand publishing.