How did I get my book on that bookstore shelf?
First, I had to identify where my book might be purchased. Third Place Books was ideal because I already knew that they consigned used books. I had done it before through them, so I knew they were all set up to put books on their shelves that weren’t ordered from a proprietary catalog.
- Places like Barnes and Noble and big chains probably do not take books that are not on their special program. You can, however, look to see if they have an ebook publishing site!
- Places that are tiny and have limited shelf-space will only sell the type of books you see on their shelves. If they are selling mostly classics or a certain type of book that isn’t like yours, don’t bother. Example: I looked at the independent bookstores at Pike Place Market and they all were tiny and sold mostly easy sellers and a few novelty books. Didn’t even try those.
- Your best bet is at places that have a variety of books and are not affiliated with a larger parent company. Stores that advertise consigning your used books are ideal. My next endeavor will be Half Price Books because they also consign used books and that is a good indicator they may be receptive to consigning new books. The only reason we may not work out together is my second point.
Second, I had to count the cost of selling your book through a third party. (hehe) If you buy your own books at $5.26 apiece and pay $4.77 shipping and $1.50 in tax, then selling 3 books will cost you $22.05. If your reseller takes 40% of that and sells your book at $9.99 then you make $17.82 back and that means you are paying $4.23 to have your book available on the shelves.
This is actually my rundown of the three books on that shelf right now, and it’s worth it to me right now. This was an experiment and it was partially successful. I’ll only lose $4.23 if my books all sell, and nothing if they don’t. My plight is not hopeless because there is a “Pro Plan” program through Createspace (where I obtain my print books) that I can pay an extra $39 to upgrade with a $5 annual renewal. Then I would pay only $9.30 for the books, making my cost $15.57(ish) instead and I’d make a $2.25 profit selling them. It’s worth it to leave it right now because I’m not sure my books will sell and the extra $44 for the Pro Plan is only worth it if I can manage to sell more than 22 books this year. Not so sure about that.
There are also other places I can publish my book that would charge me less. But it has to sell. I actually reversed the second and the third steps because I didn’t know how much Third Place would sell them for when I submitted, but it was worth it to pay extra to have them in the store. I had the books already, saved for just such an occasion, so I didn’t have to order them, just drive them over after I dropped the kids off at school.