Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Indie bookstore + pb release = sales!

So maybe there isn't a magic formula for writing bestselling novels. But a chance encounter in an independent bookstore has revealed to me the secret to sales! *dun dun dun*

At my local indie store, I approached one of the three people manning the counter of the bookstore and asked, "Do you have Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John?" (That happens to be an amazing but YA book, and therefore irrelevant.) (You should still all check it out, though. I <3 it.)

The guy did a search on the computer; both hardcover and paperback appeared on the screen. "No, we don't," he said, and as usual followed it up with, "But we can order it for you."

Now that implies that you, as a customer, will return when the book gets shipped in and buy it. So instead, I said, "No, I was just wondering if you usually stock new releases of paperbacks."

And bam -- the guy went: "Yeah, we usually do." Insert thoughtful pause here. "You know what, I'm going to order two copies."

Would you look at that? Without requesting specifically for the bookstore to order you a copy, you've gotten the book in-stock -- there for other customers to discover and spread the word around. And I'm betting this situation is easily replicated. If all four of the indie bookstores in your town order an average of two copies, the demand for that book has just increased by 8. Multiply that across the country, and the demand exponentiates.

Thank goodness for indie bookstores, eh?

A note -- this probably won't work in the chain stores, simply because the employee you talk to most likely won't have the ability to order stock for the store. All the more reason to shop indie, mmhmm? ;)



  1. Cool idea. The only problem is if those copies never sell. I'm sure they would though, as long as you're recommending good books.

  2. Yahong, you are a genius!!

    I am so indie, I should start my own indie bookstore rock band. (I live 5 minutes walking distance from Annie Bloom's Bookstore.) I may be the luckiest fellow alive!

  3. Love my indie bookstore. I feel like they have a wonderful selection. Also I feel like I can ask them about a book and they are genuinely interested in why it's a good book and why they should have it in stock.

  4. I love our indie bookstore, too!! I have made requests for books that I thought they should carry and have later seen them on the shelves. One of the managers told me it's nice to get recommendations from customers because they get sent a lot of ARCs and it sometimes can be overwhelming.

  5. It works at BnN occasionally. But the problem is that the book has to sell. Otherwise in three months it's going to be inventoried and back out it goes. They don't mind having 3 books of some small independent publisher's book on the shelf, they just won't keep it around long.

  6. I'm conflicted about this, because what Danette says is true - if they don't sell, they just get returned (which usually hurts the publisher and the author, because they can't resell). The returns policy is messed up, but I don't see it changing very quickly.


Thanks for adding to the mayhem!