If you’re like many Outskirts Press self-published authors, you may be seeking creative ways to increase your book sales. You may have tried contacting the big box stores (Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Borders Bookstores, etc.) but haven’t had much luck. You may already be successful at online sales but want to tap additional sources of revenue.
Either way, offering your book on consignment is a great way to achieve your goals. But, let’s take a step back and discuss exactly what consignment is — it is the process of stocking your book in a local (most likely independent) bookstore at no cost to the seller. Once the book sells, you and the store owner split the earnings.
Here are some key benefits to setting up such an arrangement:
- You get added exposure in your local community. People you know or with whom you share a personal connection (i.e. same hometown, etc.) will be more willing to try and buy your book than others.
- There is no risk for the retailer so they are more willing to display your book. You don’t have to worry about paying extra fees to ensure your book is returnable because the store owner doesn’t have to pay anything upfront to stock your book.
- You can usually keep a short trade discount. Of course, this is dependent on your goals for the book. If you’re still planning to approach the big box stores as a part of your book’s overall marketing strategy, you may consider maintaining at least a 50% trade discount. However, consignment arrangements can be setup independently of trade discount amount since the store is paying nothing to acquire your book.
- The independent bookstore that is consigning your book will be more open to scheduling a book signing event with you if sales are on target. Book signings mean an opportunity to meet new people that could be interested in buying your book.
- The more places your book is being sold, the greater the likelihood for sales.
For this to be most effective, you have to come to an agreement that is fair for both parties. In some cases, this may be a 50/50 split and in others a 70/30 (author advantage) may work. The specific pay plan should be discussed with the store owner in advance.
To locate local bookstores in your area, you can visit: Indie Bound.
Have you ever tried to sell books on consignment? How did this work out for you?