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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

If you need assistance with this technique, 5 hours with a Personal Marketing Assistant or a 30-minute Marketing Consultation may benefit you.

Have you ever tried to sell books on consignment? How did this work out for you?

Happy Marketing!

3 thoughts on “5 Ways that Offering Books on Consignment Helps Self-Published Authors

  1. This book was very helpful. I recently self-published a local history book and am finding a lot of the tips I read for book promotion my work well with fiction, but not too well with a local history book. The book is on a high school in Caroline County, Virginia (Memories of Union High: An Oasis in Caroline County, Virginia 1903-1969).

    The county does not have many of the traditional venues for selling books, so I was thinking of selling it on consignment to gas stations/truck stops, convenience stops, restaurants etc. This post was very helpful and the link for Indie.Bound did help me locate some books store near Caroline County, Virginia.

  2. Hi, Vladimir,

    Thanks for the comment!

    The virtual book tour will require a certain level of effort on your part. Bloggers will be sending you interview questions/requests for books, and you will need to follow up with them promptly. It is most definitely a good way to get exposure for your book, and something that is becoming very popular so far this year.

    Keep up the good work with promoting your book, and hopefully you will learn even more about blogs and other tactics that can be used to marketing your book.

  3. Happy New Year Elise,
    I am hoping to sign up for the virtual tour, but judging by my dismal marketing performance for the last three months, I am wondering if I will be up to it. It seems, my computer prowess is “slightly” lagging behind (may be it has to do with my age-I will be 82 in March!). To date I am reluctant to engage OP services, simply for this reason of not being able to follow up.
    Never the less, I did appreciate your “Top 8 Ways to Boost”… Consignment, certainly sounds great.
    Please, let me know if I can benefit from the “Virtual Tour” – some weeks ago I didn’t even know what “Blog” is!
    (Don’t tell any one!)

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