Besides offering Compromise With Sin on Amazon, I wanted to see it in bookstores and libraries (more on libraries later). That meant the book would have to be available from a major distributor, such as Ingram Content Group, Inc., and Baker and Taylor. Ingram makes that possible for indie authors via IngramSpark.
I did my research and got Compromise With Sin into the IngramSpark system. It required some special formatting as well as understanding what bookstores require. Independent bookstores buy at a discount, typically 55 percent. And they require that the book must be returnable.
My first shock came when I discovered that on the sale of my book at $14.99, my take would be 51 cents. The second shock was that I would have to bear the cost of any book returned. Ouch.
The third shock was that when I approached BookPeople, my big, local independent bookstore in Austin, I was told that even though Compromise With Sin was in the Ingram catalog, they would not buy it because it was a print-on-demand book. They would, however, be glad to carry it on a consignment basis. (I’ve learned that this is the policy of many independent bookstores.) I would provide six copies of the book, which they would display for three months. I would make up to 55 percent of the purchase price. They charge a $25 handling fee.
Here’s how the numbers would work for me: I pay $7.58 for each book I order from IngramSpark. That’s based on an order of 18 books and includes shipping and handling costs. So if BookPeople paid me the maximum 55 percent on $14.99, my take would be $8.24. But, there’s the matter of a $25 handling fee, which amounts to $4.17 per book. Now the store pays me $4.07. Bottom line? The sale of a single book would cost me $3.51. I passed up the deal.
While I wish that BookPeople had a friendlier policy toward local authors, I understand that bookstores need to make money. And while I never expected to make big money on my book, I won’t be paying people to read it. Bookstores can still buy it from IngramSpark but probably won’t because I no longer make it returnable.
Your thoughts? Leave a comment.
One benefit of summer was that each day we had more light to read by.