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I recently contacted 5 local bookstores and 3 have agreed to sell some of my books. One of them will take the book on consignment. Has anyone had any problems with this type of there any other way? The other two stores are owned by friends so there isn't an issue.

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I put together a bookstore consignment agreement about 20 years ago. Since you asked for a sample, check out It's a Word document format. Simple. Easy to adapt.


John Kremer, author, 1001 Ways to Market Your Books

Julia, I would be glad to, but I would need your email address. Send it to me at

Hi Cindy,

There doesn't seem to be much understanding among authors on the inter-workings of bookstores and why you run into resistance much of the time, if you are a self-published author, independent, or small press author. The main obstacle is the bookstore's accounting system. Generally, they want to order books from one source and that is usually through Ingram (or others of this caliber). That makes taxes, returns, inventory, and pricing all inside their accounting system so the point-of-sales, their cash register, can properly account for all sales. Anything outside the system is risky and that's why only the local manager or local colleague will bother with you.


What authors don't stop to think about is there are a lot of newbie authors popping up daily and they all come into the stores eventually, so there is a steady stream of people wanting desperately to be included on shelves in competition with James Patterson. That's a real lose of income to the store owner. Shelf space is highly prized. If you can sell as part of a book signing that is handled off-line, that would be doable. If you can establish a track record of sales, that's even better. But the first step is to be registered with Ingram and the other biggies depending on your type of book so they can be ordered through the store accounting system.


John Wolf

Thanks, John.

Thanks John. 

It really makes sense now.


  Local bookstores are probably the only ones who will take books on consignment. Here in NJ, Barnes and Noble and the other big chains are "thanks but no thanks". I am certain this is not comforting, but,sadly, realistic.

Local bookstores are not the only ones who will take books and sell them, and I'm not talking about consignment.  Currently, my books are in a few Barnes & Noble Stores and Borders/Waldens.  It is not as difficult as one would imagine, just hard work and a willingness to see it through. 


Local Barnes & Nobles and Borders will take local author books. But they do like to order from a wholesaler or distributor whenever possible. Baker & Taylor is one of the wholesalers they work with that any book author can hook up with (for a price, alas).


And both chain stores will carry your book and feature it - if you set up an event in the store. Talk to their events coordinator or community coordinator (the title changes from store to store).

Every time I study the profitablility of consignment, I come up with margins that are so small that it hardy makes it worthwhile. To illustrate, my cost from the puboisher for a paperback is $8.21 plus, dependng on volume ordered, another $.70  to $.90 for shipping. The book lists for $14.75 on Amazon so the retailer wants to be in the ballpark and lists the book at $14.85. Anything above that is too high for the market anyway unless we are talking about a run away best seller. A 60/40% consignment agreements pays me $8.91. In other words, before I have paid for gas and my time, I have lost $.20 (worst case) on every book I place. I have two variables under my control. I can order books in 1,000 lot orders and reduce my costs, or at least increase my order size to reduce the shipping costs per book, but the end result is that I will do well just to break even. Have I got the wrong publisher?
No, John, I am afraid that is how it is unless you are James Patterson or Stephen King, and even King had 32 rejections before he was published.
Your publisher should be getting your books into bookstores so you don't have to go the consignment route. If they are not distributing your books to bookstores, then you may very well have the wrong publisher. I presume you went with a POD publisher.

Hi, John,

   I had trouble getting any publisher other than a POD to publish my books. I wish I was Sarah Addison Allen or one of those great writers who go from college into the best seller world. But just getting a POD was as good as it gets.



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