Book Marketing: How to Sell Your Book in Independent Bookstores

How to Sell Your Book in Independent Bookstores

Published by Kristen Eckstein

In my last article, I showed you how to get your self-published book stocked in mainstream bookstores. Getting into independent bookstores can be easier, depending on the quality of your book. Indie stores are usually more open to hosting local authors for book signings than mainstream stores because they don’t have tight ties to big corporations that set rules against supporting local self-published authors.

Here are 3 easy ways to get stocked in an independent bookstore:

  1. List with Ingram. Ingram Book Group is the largest wholesaler/distributor of books in the world. Almost all indie bookstores have an account with Ingram, so the easiest, most sure-fire way to get stocked on their shelves is to have your book listed with Ingram.

  2. Consignment. Unlike mainstream bookstores, indie bookstores love local authors. Putting your books on consignment means you have to keep track of how many books you have stocked at each bookstore and get paid when they sell, not upfront. Check up on each store regularly to get reports on how many books have sold—at least once per month. Once you have a record of sales you send an invoice to the bookstore and collect your payment.

  3. Terms. Let the indie bookstore set the terms on how much percentage they will take on sales. If you walk in and give them 50% off, which you may think is a good offer since mainstream bookstores require 55% off, you may be missing out on additional income. Let them set the terms. I’ve heard many stories of authors who received an offer of only 30% discount, keeping 20% more than they planned. Whatever you negotiate, don’t go above 50% off. Any indie bookstore that asks for more than that may end up being a situation of you paying them to stock your book.

Independent bookstores are a great place for local self-published authors to stock their books. Contact your local indie stores today and start getting some local publicity for your book!


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