I am looking for any information on how to get into bookstores. It appears they may have something against the self published and the POD. I have tried everything that I know. Any good suggestions?

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Honestly, I'm not sure there is a way. You may be better off focusing on online outlets like Amazon.

Thanks Richard that is what I have been doing but it seems it doesn't take off good unless you're in bookstores. I could be wrong though.

Unfortunately most bookstores will not take a print on demand. B&N used to take them, but has since changed their policy on that. Even with the standard 50%+ discount needed to get into a bookstore given to BN, they won't take print of demand. Main reason why, they have to front the money before they sell the product. Bookstores always pay after the sale, not before. They need their books returnable in order to stock as well. POD just can't offer that (with the exception of lightning source, but the still won't take them.) With a POD, they are the ones having to front the money, hoping the book sells, vrs. how it currently works, the publisher fronts the money and hopes the book sells. 

Your best bet to get into a bookstore is to order 10 of your own books (hopefully you didn't use createspace, lulu, or one of those self publishing companies that claim they can get you into bookstores, I personally recommend lightning source, you get market prices that aren't marked up. Lulu actually uses lightning source to print their books.)  then you go to a bookstore you want to stock your book. Offer them 10 copies of your book (it needs to have a barcode and an ISBN for a bookstore to stock it as well). They will take the books for 2-4 weeks on the shelf. You come back after that time period and pick up the books that didn't sell and pick up a paycheck for those that did. You need to make sure that you give them a hefty discount. Most bookstores will only take books discounted 50% from their retail price. So if your book costs you 10.00 to print and you want to make money, will need to sell the book for 12-14.00 to the store and then the retail price needs to be 21.00 and up from there. (another reason why stores won't take POD, its too expensive. A book coming into a store that comes from a offset printer will cost them 5-6 for a paperback or even less and upwards of 12 for a hardback. That is because offset printers can print a novel for 1.50-2.00 a book, compared to POD which is usually 7.00+.) 

To make a long story short, you need to get a printer that is good and cheep in order to even dream of getting into bookstores. LightningSource is your only bet as far as I know. You need to be on the ingram distribution (which comes with lightningsource) and you need to have a heavy discount. To even attempt to get them to stock your book, you need to offer them copies on consignment and that has to be done personally. If you want them to always stock your book, you need to offer them 10 free copies and ask them to order to rest through the distribution channels that way they are kinda getting it on consignment just don't expect them to order anymore than 5-10 at a time. Some bookstores may go for it, others wont. Or you become your own distributor and take orders as they come in and ship them to bookstores that want it. It becomes tricker but it will work if you want to get into only mom and pop stores. The big problem is they usually like to order using Ingram, and if your book isn't listed there or if it is listed as a POD book, they won't order it and they don't like to have to order from a bunch of different people to get a book. If your dream is to get into BN, consider it dead if you are a POD printed book. They will deny it instantly. Your only chance is to somehow get into BN warehouse with you supplying them the books on consignment. (meaning you pay to have them printed and shipped to the warehouse and then they pay you after the book sells). In order to do that, you need to be a company with a DUNS number and insurance. 

For a self published author, the only frontier you can truly control is the internet. And in order to make it in this frontier, you need to know how to market on it. Just posting your book on Amazon will not sell it. It takes hours and hours of work and blogging and facebooking and tweeting and getting online reviews and guest posting and who knows what else just to get the ball rolling. 

There is a reason why you almost never hear about self published authors making much money, the reason, they don't put the time they need to into the internet and they don't know what they are doing. DON'T BUY BOOKS ON IT EITHER. The internet changes so fast that by the time you finish reading it it doesn't apply anymore. You need to talk to authors and see what they do that works and then do it better than they did. Look at what the big companies do that spend millions in ads and advisors and copy them, just do it on a smaller scale in a more targeted group. Be smart. The internet is an amazing place to make money, if you have the dedication to get through the initial starting run. 

I don't want to sound negitive, there are ways to do it, but you can't really post about it. If you want to ask more questions, feel free to email me at jakemichaelmorris (at) gmail (dot) com.

Wow Jake, thank you so much for the learning experience. You have opened up my eyes. Wish I would have read your letter first. I understand much better now. I am with Lightning Source that is one of the things I feel I did right. I just came out in their catalog with Ingram. The only thing I have trouble with Lightning Source is communication. They are not on top of their game these days. I write them ask a question get a form letter. their response doesn't work, I write again get the same form letter with the same answer. then I finally get someone's attention after three or four weeks and they say oh, that instruction sheet is out of date, sorry about that. But, that's the main problem with them. I am all over the internet on LuLu, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Smashwords, Easy Button, goggle. I'm always looking for another site to put my book on.

You are so right, it takes time to continue to promote a book. I have not had time to finish my second book because my first one is consuming all my time.

Thanks to people such as  you people like me will gain more wisdom and understanding into this new adventure. It takes someone special to take their time to educate others. Again, thank you so much

I couldn't have said it better

I tried to get into B&N as well and aside from giving up your children and blood, you'll never be able to do it. Not trying to discourage you, but they require a marketing plan, a copy of your book and a whole bunch of stuff. Try a smaller outlet in your neighborhood. My first book (self-published) is in a smaller bookstore in my neighborhood. Places like that are more receptive. And if you have a wide distribution on line, your book is out there in a lot of spots.  Try your library as well, though be prepared for them to be hypercritical. Make sure you have ZERO errors.  They are also a hard nut to crack. Also, offer your book to non-traditional places like stores that carry books for sale. You may get some traction there too.


Hope that helps.

Thanks so much Joy you've given been some different avenues. It is so discouraging. I really believe publishers and bookstores have a silent agreement against self published. I did everything Barnes and Nobles requested and still could not get in. Maybe one day when more and more ebooks start taking over the brick and mortar stores will wake up. Thanks for your advice.

I got into one of our local book store by offering my book to them on consignment. They only pay me a percentage if it sells. 

Susan Giscom I may try that I only have one local bookstore here in this small town so it's a 50/50. Thanks

I'm told that independent books stores will consider indie books on a case by case basis on consignment. You have to have a top quality cover, though, or they won't even think about it.

Henry Circle I was told the same thing and I believe my cover is of great quality but I did not hear from anyone. It appears you have to write and rewrite and honestly who has time for that. I've tried twice with some and still no answers. But, because of this forum I have a new vision now. I will not count myself a failure because I cannot get in I will press more toward the ebooks and if it happens the other way, it will happen. Thank you for your insight.

My experience trying to get my debut novel into "traditional" bookstores was very discouraging. Even though my publisher warned me not to, I proceeded to email every bookstore I could find on the net. I spent about a week trying to persuade anyone who would listen that they should carry my book. Out of over 125 stores only a handful said they would carry it on consignment and the rest never answered me back. One store even contacted my publisher and got her to send them a book saying I said I would pay for it, which was a total lie.

To quote my publisher, “Don't spend a lot of time on an effort to get into chain stores through regular distributors. Getting paperback POD books into stores, unless they are local stores near you, is almost impossible. Stores buy on Credit. They order hundreds of books then trash the ones they don't sell and never pay a cent! They give stuff an average shelf-life of three months, because of inventory taxes. Local or independent stores will sometimes take copies "on consignment" from you, will host local signings and such, and that's GOOD. They do it because the consignment books belong to you and do NOT go in their inventory or generate inventory taxes for them. We pay more than $5 for every POD book printed. NONE of them get printed free. There is NO way we can print hundreds of books that stores can order on credit and then send to a landfill and not pay for. Mass market guys can do this. We can't. It is also no wonder that the "ordering books on credit system" is tottering, stores are going bankrupt, sales of paper books are falling, and e-books are taking over. Lots of folks will tell you, "I just like the feel of a book in my hand," but when faced with the decision to drive downtown and buy the paperback book for $19.95, MOST of them will sit in their easy chair and push the button on their Kindles, and have the book downloaded for $6.50 in 30 seconds time. Prices of Kindles are falling, too. The good news is that some city bookstores are putting in "kiosks" or "Printing stations" and WILL print your POD book while a customer waits and they pay US. The book is not printed until it is sold, so there's no credit involved. Your book will be available everywhere there is such a service, so for those who really do like to get "books in their hands" Barnes & Noble in Washington, DC and Large Chain Stores in other large cities will print them while you wait. This kind of station may expand. On Demand printing at stores is a new service, but one that we will be seeing more of in the future -- at least we will if bookstores don't go extinct, and even if they do, the stations may just show up at the mall.”


Needless to say, she was right and I wasted my time. Concentrate on marketing your work online. Good luck, Rebecca.



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