Getting Your Book into Stores - article

Understanding the Book Channel

Every item sold in any marketplace comes to the final consumer through its own particular sales process or channel.

Traditionally, a typical book retail sales channel has involved these basic processes:

- A publishing house publishes the book

- The publishing company's sales force presents the book to buyers at various booksellers

- The booksellers sell the books to consumers

In the retail book channel, buyers at booksellers determine what books are available for consumers to buy by making decisions as to which books they will stock in their retail locations. Their decisions are based on their perceived potential for a given book. If they guess wrong, they always have the option of returning unsold copies after a given period of time. These are called returns. This mechanism limits what book products are created by publishers, as they need to focus their attention on books that retail buyers will buy.

"As an author, you can decide how important the retail segment is to the distribution of your book."

The internet and print-on-demand publishing, however, are changing the overall book selling model dramatically. With the level playing field of the internet, the convenience of at-home and at-work shopping, and no need to print and warehouse copies of new titles, any book has a viable opportunity to reach its targeted audience. Book retailers have been slow to adapt to the opportunities afforded to them with self-published titles. While this makes it more difficult to get self-published titles onto bookstore shelves, it is not impossible if you understand how the system works. As an author, you can decide how important the retail segment is to the distribution of your book.

Getting Your Book into Brick-and-Mortar Bookstores

Selling books to national brick-and-mortar bookstores such as Borders or Barnes & Noble can be a difficult task. Buyers for these chains can be inaccessible to individual authors. That doesn't mean you need to abandon your dream of seeing your book displayed on a bookstore shelf, however; you can make it happen, with some planning and concentrated effort.

Rather than trying to "break down the wall" to get national distribution through a large bookstore chain, your best bet is to start small and build your entryway one brick at a time. Many bookstores have an interest in carrying titles by local or regional authors. Begin your own retail efforts for this part of the book sales channel by visiting bookstores in your area. Try to arrange a book signing or reading event, either at the bookstore or at a local library, adult learning center, or other venue. If you can build local interest in your book, you're more likely to enjoy good local sales. When your book sells well through local outlets, it can gain wider placement throughout the national level.

"Independent bookstores frequently are more willing than "the big guys" to give new authors a platform for promoting their books."

Don't concentrate all of your efforts on the chain bookstores, however. Independent bookstores frequently are more willing than "the big guys" to give new authors a platform for promoting their books. Most have a loyal local following with a real interest in the work of local authors. Again, work with the stores to organize a promotion plan for your title, by arranging a signing, a book reading, a special sales promotion, or other event that can build business for you and the store.

If you are trying to get your book stocked with a book retailer, you must understand the concept of returns. To hold down their own storage and inventory costs, booksellers stock limited copies of individual titles that haven't yet "proven themselves" in the marketplace. To avoid being saddled with unsold copies, booksellers buy from sources that provide a returns policy. If bookstores know that they can return and receive credit for unsold books, they can confidently order multiple copies of books in anticipation of their sale.

A return program encourages bookstores to order your book and makes it easier to arrange book signings, since the store can stock up on extra titles, without fearing that they'll be left holding unsold inventory.

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  • HAve tried so many Book Stores and alwasy rejected ...



    Research for my Book , That's Just How it Was - includes this excerpt ''claimed by Francis A. Boyle , Law Professor of the University of illinois at Urbana- Champaign ,'"Trevelyan and the British  Government pursued a race and ethic -based policy aimed at destroying the  group commonly known as the Irish people - and that the policy of mass starvation amounted 'to genocide as per the Hague convention of 1948'- approximately 100 years after the famine 

    - research that I done to give credence to the stories that I had heard as child from my grandmother -  includes an excerpt from - That's Just How It Was - 'Dennis Clark, a Irish American historian,claimed that the famine or the Great Hunger of [1884-1852  depending on which historical papers one reads] - was a culmination of of generations of neglect ;misrule and repression . Not least, that it was of epic proportions of English Colonial cruelty and inadequacy , for the landless cabin dwellers it meant emigration or extinction. Extension- meant starvation on a massive scale; while corn was being exported from Ireland . 

    How can this be called a famine when the island of Ireland was full of food.???? 

    These are just two excerpts from the book which  belies any other notion of a tragedy - it was genocide.


  • Former Member
    Former Member
    Hi Wayne -- Unfortunately, it is still difficult to get a independently published book into a big box store like B&N or Walmart. But there are lots of other options. Because your book is clearly Christian themed you have a clear audience that you can reach out to. I would recommend trying non traditional stores first. Look for local and regional independent stores, like Christian bookstores, Christian gift stores/boutiques, Christian teacher education stores (the ones that sell home schooling supplies and such), church gift shops, hospital gift shops (especially for Christian owned hospitals), etc... You might even try selling outside of stores, like at Christian conferences, retreats, and other events. Ask to speak to the manager who handles stocking products for the store or the person who sells booth space at conferences and events. Then, be prepared to pitch your book to them and explain why it would be a good fit for their customers. You'll also need to decide how to get them the book -- will you order a bunch ahead of time (meaning you absorb the cost and risk if they don't sell, which is more attractive to the retailer) and then sell them wholesale to the retailer who can price them as they wish? Or perhaps you can sell the book at the same rate you paid for them and ask them to sell at a pre-defined retail rate above that. If your book is distributed through Ingram, ANY bookstore can order it to fulfill orders... so you could work with those stores to order the books on their own under their usual purchase arrangements with Ingram. Good luck to you!
  • How do you get in front of the buyer at books stores and who is the decision makers at the libraries? I do have the return package with my publisher and want to know the best way to deliver my sales pitch? I also have a local cigar shop that wants to put my book on their shelves and promote my book are they aloud the same process and how do they make their profits off the book?
  • Dell Watson- I have written a book on the things that have plagued our world, and how sin has over taken so many of us. This book can and will help anyone that will apply it to their life. Can someone guide me on how to get this book into bookstores please.
  • I have written I childrens Book, How do I get my book into the stores like Wal-Mart ect... also does anyone know how I would get a literary agent