Author Support Services | Bringing your book to life

Stocking Your Book with Independent Stores

Now your book has gone to print and you have taken a breath, it’s the perfect time to look at how you, the publisher, can ensure your book is available in the places your reader likes to visit.

When you self publish your book with Author Support Services it will go out through our distribution service to wholesalers and retailers, so most of the online and bricks and mortar retailers, like Amazon, Book Depository and most bookshops and libraries will stock your book.

Independent bookshops can usually order your book through their wholesaler, however gift shops or specialty shops that are specific to your industry might not have access to our distribution network. These are important outlets though as your reader is visiting these places, so you want to ensure your book is available where it is needed.

This is where you are called to step up into your role as a publisher. When this happens, you become the wholesaler!

Your first step is to make a list of shops where you would love to see your book being displayed and sold. Think outside the box – where is that little patch of sunshine your reader goes where they might be looking for your book?

If you have written a:Your reader might want to see your book at:
* natural healing book * pet ownership book * local interest book *children’s bookesoteric stores, organic cafes, health food stores vets, puppy schools, pet supply shops gift shops, hotels, tourist information, cafes baby shops, child care fundraisers, local attractions

Your next step is to pick up the phone or call in to each store and let them know all about your book. A face to face meeting is always better – you are creating a relationship with another small business owner, so trust and partnership are paramount.

Here are some helpful tips to be prepared:

  • Sit down and work out how much you want to sell the book for at a wholesale price to this retailer. You have to pay the print price plus delivery to you. Plus you have had the cost of publishing. They have to sell at the retail price. How will you share the amount that is left?
  • Make it worth their while to buy more books to save you both time in handling stock. Work out a price per book if they purchase one, five or ten books (or more). The books will get cheaper the more they buy. Have your prices ready and typed up professionally on your letterhead.
  • Some shops will only want to take the books on commission and not pay you until they have sold the books, with a right to return unsold books to you. So think about whether that is okay for you.
  • Work out how often you will go in to collect money and deliver new stock.
  • Keep it simple – if the shop is local to you, you can deliver a stack of books, take payment from the shop and they can then sell the books and keep the profit.
  • Think about how you will record sales and set up a system to do so.
  • Come up with some ideas to promote the shop you are targeting and add to their sales. Write this into your proposal. Promoting the shop will be a win/win and make them keen to stock your book. Some ideas include:
    • provide advertising signs for the shop to put with your books
    • have book signings at the store
    • offer promotions of their store on social media.

Once you have organised for your book to be stocked in various independent stores, keep an eye on how sales are going and the type of setup that is working best. Perhaps put together a schedule to contact a certain number of stores each week or each month so that your book is available for sale in new areas and receiving continual exposure in new markets.

Getting your book out there is the key to making sales! Enjoy the journey and making new relationships along the way.

Alex Fullerton is an author’s consultant and self-publishing specialist at Author Support Services, based on a pineapple farm in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, Australia. She has spent the last sixteen years working with business people to create concise, compelling, and comprehensive books that complement their businesses and increase their professional standing. Alex is supported by a dedicated team who provide a full self-publishing service, from planning to printing and promotion.

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