Now that you have finally finished your work, you are probably wondering what you can do to make your self-published book available in physical bookstores / is physically available in bookstores.
It is true that it can be difficult for a self-published author to get his books on the shelves of bookstores, both large and small. But if you have print your own children’s book about your city, your town, your family or any topic that may be of interest to someone around you, we are convinced that your local bookstores will be interested. The same thing happens if you have written a book on a very specific topic. There are surely specialized bookstores that will be interested in having a couple of copies of your book.
At Writers of USA we believe that the best way to sell your book is to do so directly to your customers in our web store, this way you will get the highest profit margin. But bookstores continue to be a powerful sales channel accessible to almost everyone, whether or not they have computer knowledge to buy online.
Sell in traditional bookstores
Traditional bookstores continue to be a powerful book sales channel, despite the growing dominance of online purchasing. In 2019, 42.3% bought in physical bookstores, while only 19% did so online. However, physical bookstores lose more ground each year in favor of digital platforms. A trend further exacerbated by the situation generated by Covid-19.
Not being at their best for some time, bookstores tend to be cautious when it comes to purchasing books from self-published authors, as they often consider it an unnecessary risk. However, we recommend that you contact your local bookstores to see if they are willing to sell your book. Having your book available in a physical store is a huge legitimacy boost and a great marketing opportunity. And if you don’t succeed, don’t be discouraged, think that you have already established a very useful first contact for your future book presentation, for example.
On the other hand, if you get a bookstore to have your book, congratulations! But remember that he will want a share of the profits. Typically, this percentage will be between 15 and 40 percent. But, how do you manage the purchase of copies by bookstores? How are these percentages agreed upon? Keep reading because we have created a step by step for you.
How to approach a traditional bookstore?
To make things easier for you, we have created a list of all the things you should keep in mind when approaching and negotiating with bookstores. You can also look for other stores, businesses or events that are willing to sell your book. Of course, options vary depending on where you live.
1. Determine which store you want to sell your book in
The first step is to do a little research on the bookstores in your city, your neighborhood or those specialized in the topic of your book. In addition, there are surely local stores that may be interested in having the work of an author from the municipality. Imagine that you have written a book on nutrition or sports: you can present it to your trusted sports nutrition retailer, or even to your gym or your physiotherapist. Or maybe you have written a travel guide, then consult bookstores specialized in tourism and adventure. Bookstores are the most obvious and most trafficked channels, but placing your book in specific places for your ideal reader can be a very smart move.
Once you have made a list of all the bookstores that may be interested, it is time to determine which bookstores you would like to approach first. We recommend that you do a little research about each bookstore and approach them one at a time.
2. Contact bookstores and introduce yourself
Now that you have a plan, it’s time to contact the bookstores and arrange a meeting to officially introduce yourself. You can call, leave them a private message on social networks or send an email, but without a doubt what works best is to simply stop by the bookstore and let them meet you in person.
These are our tips for your first meeting:
– Tell them a little about yourself: start with basic information, who you are, what your background is, where you come from and why you have decided to visit their bookstore.
– Tell them about your book: what it is about, why you wrote it and who your target audience is. Above all, tell them why your book could be interesting for their bookstore.
– Tell them what promotional actions you are going to do: unfortunately, a book does not sell itself. Booksellers are not going to want to pick up a book with low sales expectations. That is why it is important that you tell them how you are going to promote the book and attract buyers to their bookstore. It would even be a good time to propose a book presentation at the bookstore, for example. Here’s a complete guide on how to promote your book.
– Bring a copy of your book and leave it with them: it is normal for the bookseller to want to examine the book before deciding whether to sell it or not. He thinks he doesn’t know you or your work. There is no better cover letter than your book.
3. Who buys the books?
Now let’s get to the part that probably interests you the most: how do I sell the books to the bookstore? There are two ways to do it:
You buy the books, send them to the bookstore, and the bookstore sells them for you. How does it work? You buy your own books (in ‘buy my book’ at the cheapest price) and agree your margin with the bookstore. Generally, the margin is between 20 and 40 percent. Don’t forget to agree with the sellers when you will get paid, in what way and how you will be informed of the sales.
- You agree with the bookstore on the number of copies that the bookstore wants to acquire and for what price they can acquire and sell them.
- With this information, the author places an order for these copies for the bookstore and sends them directly to them.
- The author then makes an invoice for the bookstore which covers the printing, shipping and margin costs.
The store buys your books directly; This option is the simplest, since you will automatically receive your margin and at the same time the store will receive its margin when it sells them. That is to say: the bookstore buys them directly from the MI bestseller store (so you already get your royalties) and then they add a percentage to the price to take their profit.
Once you have published your book on book writing services, we will offer you a complete guide to promote it, both on social networks and other more traditional channels, and all the tools you need to do so.