Tuesday 8 March 2022

Books in book shops


Bookshop, Books, Woman, Bench, Read

Love of bookshops

I guess most people reading this blog will love bookshops. I can’t walk past one and hate walking out of one without a purchase. I’m not too keen on some of their practices- especially amongst the larger chains and as a publisher I find indies very bad at paying up on time.

The joy of the ISBN

Generally, if a book has an ISBN any bookshop in the world should be able to order it.   The ISBN registration can tell the bookseller where they can find the book – it tells them who is the distributor and which wholesalers can source it.


However, although Amazon KDP paperbacks and hardbacks have ISBNs they are generally not available in book shops except in the USA. Authors and publishers can get involved but this means processing orders manually.


Lightning Source versus Amazon KDP

One of the reasons that we like using Lightning Source for paperbacks is because for £8.40 a year we are hooked up to the Ingram’s distribution service and our books are available worldwide.


For a few titles e.g. The Best of CafeLit series and the CafeLit serials we publish via Amazon KDP. We can’t get these into bookshops.


One advantage of Amazon KDP is that we avoid all the export problems. Amazon deals with that for us and all paperback books are sold via the readers’ local Amazon.


These are in any case the type of books that are less likely to sell in bookshops.


An interesting case study

A writing friend was dumped by her publisher. Said publisher only ever sold via Amazon KDP, Kindle and paperbacks. Her books never went into shops. She has carried on and self-published. Now she won’t go back to a traditional publisher unless they give her an advance that at least matches what she has earned this year from her book – which was even more than she was getting via her publisher.


But the bookshop remains tantalising

We all dream of seeing our books on the shelves in bookshops. I felt very fortunate that in the first week of my work at the University of Salford, five of my books were in the window of the Waterstone’s on Deansgate in Manchester. However, it didn’t make a lot of difference to sales.


The print on demand effect

Yes, we use print on demand and we’re proud of it. It does hold up delivery just a little bit. Having said that The Hive gets our book out really quickly which rather suggests that the hold-up isn’t actually print on demand itself but the administrative system of some retailers.               

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