Brick-and-mortar bookstores are the obvious place to start selling your book, right? Wrong! On top of the problems that publishers bemoan, including heavy discounts, substantial returns, lack of pricing flexibility, and stiff on-shelf competition, brick-and-mortar bookstores are a shrinking sales channel. Brick-and-mortar bookstores now account for less than half of all books sold. And each year sees a further decline in their share of the total book market, a trend which is accelerating!
Luckily, there are plenty of opportunities in other, growing, sales channels. We at Wheatmark recommend that you, the independent author, focus all of your marketing efforts on these channels, particularly the online bookstore channel. Each year online bookstores grab a larger share of the total book market. And, online bookstores are perfect for the independently published book. They offer a level playing field—your book gets equal “shelf placement” with the titles from major publishers. Many publishing houses are slow to take advantage of the cornucopia of marketing opportunities available to target online bookstore shoppers. What an incredible opportunity for the independent author!
Please, take our hard-learned advice and develop a track record of sales elsewhere before trying to tackle the difficult brick-and-mortar bookstore market.