Jane Friedman on building relationships with Independent Book shops

Montero

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I came across this by random walk. Don't think it is has been on here before, if so I apologise.

Was particularly interested by what you should set the discount at when using Ingram Spark, in order to account for IS's cut and a bookshops cut. Wondered what folks thought and whether the numbers are the same in the UK as the US figures.
 
My take with a foot in both camps… i run an indie bookstore and I’m an indie author

its really hard to sell indie books in bookstores - it’s not the books customers come into bookstores to buy. We encourage them but we sell very few. Also most bookstores don’t want to touch indie books for two reasons: the lack of sales means dead shelf space and shelf space is our mortgage, food, and kids education (no Indy bookseller is rich); cackhanded approaches from indie authors that, honestly, are toe curlingly awful leaves booksellers wary.

as to distribution. In the U.K. discount in wholesales to the shops is often really low and titles are often firm sale into shops, so bookshops wont take them. But Ingram’s have just opened a uk base So that might help things.
having said all that some indie books, especially local history, knock it out of the park and when the relationship works, it’s gold :)
 
Thanks Jo. So if there was a 42% discount to the bookshop and you could return unsold copies, that would be more attractive?

Further questions

There are mentions in the article of bookseller conferences and authors going to chat up booksellers - are there conferences like that in the UK and do authors appear?

If an author were to give the first copy, or even two copies, of their immaculately produced paperback to a store, as a trial run, saying "and hand to a charity shop if it doesn't sell after a month I just want the shop presence" would that be too appallingly amateur?

(Exploring wild card ideas here.)
 
Thanks Jo. So if there was a 42% discount to the bookshop and you could return unsold copies, that would be more attractive?

Further questions

There are mentions in the article of bookseller conferences and authors going to chat up booksellers - are there conferences like that in the UK and do authors appear?

If an author were to give the first copy, or even two copies, of their immaculately produced paperback to a store, as a trial run, saying "and hand to a charity shop if it doesn't sell after a month I just want the shop presence" would that be too appallingly amateur?

(Exploring wild card ideas here.)
Most bookstores look for a minimum of 30% discount on a sale or return basis - and many will offer more. The chains will look for more - some ask up to 60%. Price your book to allow for the retail margin. You also won't get paid anything unless the book sells. But yes, without SOR I simply wouldn't look at it.

Yes there are conferences and authors do attend but mostly they're big authors sponsored by the publishers. Having said that, the London Book Fair is worth a look at. I think @Dan Jones tried it once and might be able to advise.

I think better to ask the bookseller if they want the copies first. And then the other thing worth doing is asking if they'd be interested in a launch event - if the author gets word out to friends and family that can shift some copies. It's very much dependent on the bookseller and chains are really, really hard to get into.
 

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