Bookstores are popular as a platform of selling a variety of books. You can find numerous kinds of bookstores in several parts of the world. Some of them are individual establishments while some are big chain stores spread in various parts of a nation. All these bookstores want books on their bookshelves that sell quickly. It is indeed a challenging task for a self-published author to get his or her book on the shelves of several bookstore chains. Here are some reasons that explain why bookstores refrain from sporting self-published books on their shelves and how to overcome these adversities.
- Low average book sales: Self-published books often experience low average sales in the market. This is one of the major reasons why bookstores avoid featuring self-published works on their shelves. Bookstore chains need to sell a large volume of books every month in order to keep the store running. Operational expenses such as salaries, utilities, leases make it crucial to sell volumes that enables the store to gain increased profits. Self-published works rarely sell in substantial numbers or in the volume required to pay big bookstore bills. These works sell an average of three hundred books.
You can overcome this problem by developing an outstanding book promotion plan that involves various social networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. This will help you to widely promote your book, build your fan base, and encourage a greater number of readers to go to their local bookstore to purchase your book rather than purchasing it over an online retailer.
- Unreasonable wholesale discounts: Prominent bookstores expect wholesale discounts when selling your volumes in their stores so that they can make a substantial profit on the sale. Generally, the wholesale rate is 55% of the retail cost of a book. So if retail cost of your book is $20, bookstores expect you to sell it to them for $9. However, several self-published authors use Print on Demand book promoting companies to publish and market their works. These companies charge set retail cost of the book based on certain specifications such as the number of pages, quality of paper used, color or black and white print, and similar factors. After paying the companies the costs the author is left with is inefficient to bear the wholesale discounts to bookstores.
You can overcome this difficulty by setting your own retail price when printing your works in an economical way. You can achieve this by employing an offset printer or digital printer.
- Shipping unsold copies back: Bookstores not only want wholesale discount rates but also want the option to ship unsold volumes back to you or to your publisher for a full refund. If you employ POD publishers, you will find that they don’t allow refunds and this ultimately hampers your book promotion.
You can overcome this difficulty by avoiding the services of publishing companies that do not allow returns. Invest in promoting your book in popular global book fairs, such as the Public Library Association, that can offer a wide exposure to your works.
- Lack of bad book policy: When bookstores feature any self-published volume on their shelves that lack quality when it is received from Print on Demand publishers, these stores have to bear the cost if the volumes do not sell. On the other hand, POD publishers gain the expenses for all the volumes they provide to the stores. This is why bookstores are reluctant to sport self-published volumes coming from POD publishers on their shelves as there is no assurance of book quality.
You can overcome this by ensuring you are providing quality copies of your work to the stores. Check the content and appearance of your work. You can hire editors,a proofreader, and graphic designers to ensure you have quality content and an appealing book cover.
- Your work is not easy to obtain by bookstores: If you hire a publisher to market your work, you will find him promoting your work on various online platforms and popular book shows. Publishers do not have an established relation with bookstores. In such circumstances, if you want book publicity by sporting your book on shelves of various popular stores, you need to pay full wholesale discount rates to the bookstores and these stores have no intention to pay the full price back to you for your unsold volumes. This is why publishers avoid marketing books through stores and stores are reluctant to sport self-published books on their shelves.
You can overcome this problem by mentioning the name of the bookstores where your works will be available when promoting your book in popular global book fairs such as PLA 2014. You can even feature that you are looking forward to market your works through bookstores when displaying these volumes in trade shows. This will make the bookstores’ owners approach you to have your works on their shelves.
If you invest enough effort to overcome these difficulties, you can promote your works on shelves of popular bookstore chains successfully.