Published authors want to sell books. Books are sold in a wide variety of ways. Here is a quick overview of some the sales channels open either to publishing houses and/or to self-published authors.
Some companies and individuals choose to undersell all competition by offering direct sales to readers. Usually, direct sales are available on a company’s or author’s website, and books are shipped to readers free of charge or for a nominal fee. With direct sales, books are sold at a substantial discount compared to other kinds of retailers.
So-called “big box stores” are superstores , such as Wal-mart and Target, as well as warehouse clubs, such as Sam’s Club and Costco. Books are delivered to these types of stores through specialized distribution companies. For example, Anderson Merchandisers handles book distributions to Wal-mart. Each big box store has its own supply chain, and should be contacted directly for specific instructions on how to enter that chain. Books are sold at a substantial discount by these retailers.
Powell’s City of Books in Portland, Oregon is an example of an independent book store. The American Bookseller Organization represents independent booksellers throughout the United States. These stores sometimes have agreements with distributors. Others have independent book buyers. Contact the store directly for instructions on how to sell books there. Independent bookstores sell books both at discount and at full price.
Libraries can be contacted directly for sales, but many publishers reach librarians through the annual American Library Association Conference. This conference provides an opportunity to present books directly to many librarians. Publishers display their books at the exhibition portion of the conference and provide advance reading copies. Authors, editors and sales staff are often on site at these events to help persuade librarians to review and purchase books. Library price is often higher, because it reflects the special, expensive, sturdy binding libraries prefer.
Most brick and mortar stores have online divisions to sell books. Beyond these websites are major booksellers, such as Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing. Amazon charges the seller a percentage fee when the item is sold. Books may be sold for a full or discount price.
Publishers and authors can sell books at local stores. Many kinds of stores sell a few choice books to enhance their businesses. Health food stores and coffee shops sometimes carry a few select titles. Local gift stores and museums also carry books. To sell books at these kinds of stores, contact the local store buyer. Books may be sold at a full or discount price.
Authors speak at a variety of events, such as book launches, conferences, and book fairs. An author must operate as a small business to sell his books. So, he must register with local and state governments and collect taxes on sales. The U.S. Small Business Administration offers expert advice to those wishing to start and manage a business. At author events, books may be sold at a full or discount price.
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