I was making the rounds in my area, Northshore MA/Southern NH, to bookstores introducing myself and attempting to get copies in on consignment.

An independent bookstore with 4 local locations immediately hit me with their "Book Consignment Program" sheet for local authors.  Took it home, studied it, and found this:

1. 50% discount off retail.

2. Administrative fee of $50.00 per store.

3. They want return rights and do not pay shipping.

4. They pay only for items sold, not for stolen or damaged.

5. Twice a year they pay.

Also, for $100 they will feature your book on one email blast to all 4 stores mailing list.

For $250 you can have an author event and signing.

For $300 you can have the signing and your book will be stocked in all 4 stores.

They were not interested in ordering my book through Ingram's, etc. because of 25% discount.

I figured, under all scenarios, that if everything went super and I was lucky I might make .75 a copy.

What does everyone think?

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Jed, check out Dean Wesley Smith's blog at www.deanwesleysmith.com. He's talked about selling to independents.

I'm no expert, but I think 40% discount is the highest one should go, no returns and sure you can pay for shipping. If they want 50% they pay shipping. A decent negotiating tactic. (do the math and see what you are comfortable with as your bottom dollar) Do they charge all their publishers an admin fee? I'd check around if so, fine, but I'm betting no.

As for 4 & 5 -- no way! They pay you for the books they buy, at the time they buy them. That's why you give them such a deep discount. They pay when they purchase the books. Done deal at that point because of no return policy.

At .75 a copy. Not worth doing, in my opinion.

As for the marketing stuff. Forget it and spend your time writing more books and stories. Single author signing with only a book or two and unless you are a best selling author is a waste of time. IMO. Good luck.

Are you self-published or with a small press or what?  Why would they not order your book through the usual wholesale channels?  I think this deal sounds horrible.  Go to Water Street books in Exeter, NH, they are quite helpful.  I sold 37 books there when they hosted my launch.  There is another store in Portsmouth that treated me badly, I won't mention them by name but I wouldn't bother with them.  Did a reading there, but didn't sell anything and they wanted my books on consignment, which I won't do.  There's a place in Plaistow that is quite nice, Well Read Books - I did a signing there and sold 11 books in two hours.   

And I'd love to know the name of this small chain so I can avoid them. 

Wow.  .75 cents a book might be okay if you were selling nationwide, but sounds like only the bookstore is profiting here (and more from you than the customer...) 

I was recently informed of the tactic of Reverse Shoplifting.  Heard of it?  It sounds only slightly worse than this deal.  To Reverse Shoplift, plant your book in the store without telling the owner.  Leave your contact info in the book.  The theory is that when the hoards of people arrive to buy your book, and the retailer finds that the book isn't in their system, they will contact you to negotiate a deal...

I you don't take returns, I can't imagine any bookstore ordering your books. Every other book is returnable.

First of all, Jack, I was talking about their policies.  For your info I take returns, although I may drop that.

So am I.

I don't like bookstores.  They are greedy.  The return policy has ruined a lot of authors. I have decided I'm going to work for myself from now on, and not for others. Amazon is quite enough bookstore for me.


And don't bother with book signings.  People will enjoy your talk and any candy or bookmarks you might offer, but they won't buy books.

Thanks to David, J. E., W. A. & I. J. for the feedback.  I think it is a stone cold ripoff.  There was a day when independents would give a hand to local authors.  Apparently those days are over with some outlets.  I guess we don't owe them anything.

David, I'm a fan of Dean & his ideas were a big influence on the path I've taken.  Although I hear I. J. too and eventually might just go with Amazon and a couple others.

J. E. & W. A., thanks for the tips.




For $300 you can get a gram of blow and a 20-year-old hooker in a schoolgirl outfit.  Just sayin'.

Plus an experience that could boost a writer's future fiction with those necessary little details. 

I'd do it for $250.


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