Why Book Stores Are Not Your Best Bet For Selling Booklets

Would you like to get your booklet into book stores?  You can.  Other people have done it.  In fact, you’ve probably seen some booklets in your local bookstore.  Usually you’ll find them on a special rack.  Some are tiny hardcover booklets, and others are paperback.  But, before you jump into getting your booklets into bookstores, there are a few things you should know about the process.

First, most book stores will not accept your booklet from you.  They deal with a distributor who deals with publishers, and sometimes with authors.  Distributors don’t like to deal directly with authors, but they will usually consider it if the author agrees to accept returns (books or booklets that didn’t get sold).

Returns are the big downside to getting your booklet into book stores (or grocery stores).  I have never sold my booklets this way, and I have yet to have a single return of any booklet I have ever sold.  If a customer received my booklet and were unhappy with it, of course I would give them their money back.  But it hasn’t happened, not once.  Why?  It’s because of the way I sell my booklets.  Rather than placing them in book stores where just anyone can walk in, I sell them directly to my market.

When you agree to take returns from the distributor, you’re taking stock back that didn’t sell, and you must find another way to sell it.  If you don’t, you won’t profit from those booklets.  You can try to find another distributor to accept them, but that may prove difficult, especially if the first distributor already sold to the major chains.

But, returns are not the only drawback to putting your booklet on book store shelves.  Dealing with distributors is, in itself, a major drawback.  Why?  Because they take anywhere from about 25-30% of what your booklets bring in.  That’s quite a chunk of change that you would have been able to keep had you not used a distributor.

Some book stores will allow you to place your booklets on their shelves without a distributor.  The best way to find out whether the ones you are considering will or not is to go to them in person and speak with a manager.  Often, if you are a local author with a topic of great interest, they’ll do it.  But, you’ll still have to accept returns.

Going to book stores in person will dramatically cut back the amount of stores your title will appear in, but given that only a tiny fraction of your market may ever venture into any particular store that your title is in, it really doesn’t matter.  Book stores really aren’t the best place to sell your booklets, and if you want to be a rich author book stores won’t help you.

The bottom line is this – yes, it is possible to get your booklets into book stores but, it isn’t in your best interest to do so.  Accepting returns is a hassle, and having to pay a distributor as much as 30% of your profits isn’t so great either.  Getting your booklet into book stores on your own can be done, but it’s difficult and for the amount of sales you’ll make from the effort (which may be none) it really isn’t worth it.  It’s far more profitable to sell directly to your market.

To your riches!


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