Ask The Experts – Bookstore Market

Return to IBPA’s Ask the Experts

Topics Discussed Below Include:
Selling to Retail Outlets without a Wholesale Company
Books Marked With “No Returns”


Is it possible to sell your book to retail outlets without a wholesale company/representation?

Answer (10/2013):

Stores will happily take books on consignment so that they don’t have to bother with returns, stocking fees from wholesalers and the hassles of setting up a new account.

If she wishes to sell to bookstores without a wholesaler, she can:
A. Call the stores and talk up her book and ask them to stock on consignment.
B. Drop off or mail a pre-agreed upon number of books to the store.
C. Call the store once a month for a stock check and restock as needed.
D. Invoice the store for the books sold once a month. (a 40% discount would be nice, but in a lot of cases, they settle for 35%

~ Amy Collins started her career in the book industry as the book buyer for Village Green Books. She then “hopped the desk” and enjoyed 5 years as a National Account Rep. In 2001, Amy was named Director of Sales at Adams Media and eventually Special Sales Director for parent company, F+W Media. Amy founded The Cadence Group and New Shelves Distribution in 2006 to offer services to new and small presses.


I have been publishing books for 5 years following a short-discount POD model. But recently, one of our titles received a starred review from PW. Immediately, I changed the discount with Ingrams to a standard 55%. But I am reluctant to take returns because of the uncertainty of the financial risks. Will bookstores order the book, if it is marked, “No Returns”?

Answer (03/2013):

In most instances a bookstore is unlikely to order a title that is non-returnable. The ability to return inventory allows the store the flexibility to keep their inventory current and best maximize store space.

~Janice Schnell is a Content Acquisition Account Executive for Ingram Content Group. Janice joined Ingram in January 2007, and has extensive knowledge of book publishing and offset and print-on-demand book manufacturing and distribution.

We hope you will find this program useful, but as with any advice, we recommend that you make sure it fits your specific business needs. IBPA does not specifically endorse or support any particular group or service.

How to Get Involved!
Marketing Opportunities

From mailings to exhibits, see how IBPA's marketing programs help you grow your sales.

Educational Opportunities

Attend a seminar, ask an expert, and get more free advice with our educational programs.

Become a member

Access exclusive members-only benefits starting at just $10.