Debut Author Lessons: The importance of Brick and Mortar stores

People have already been asking when the sequel to Shades of Milk and Honey is coming out. I have an answer for you. Glamour in Glass is going to come out in early 2012.

The reason that the release has been pushed back is that there aren’t as many copies of Shades of Milk and Honey out as we would like for the initial print run. I mentioned that some stores are already sold out. That’s good, but I should also mention that they are sold out of all two copies.  By pushing the release of the second book out, we’re giving more of a chance for demand to build.

It’s interesting, I didn’t realize how much brick and mortar sales matter but they are really important for a number of reasons.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

  1. Bookstores pay attention to what books walk out the door.
  2. They keep a log of what people request.
  3. If people special order a book, there’s a fair chance that the bookseller might stock a second copy.
  4. If enough people request or order the book, the bookseller is more likely to read and then handsell the book.
  5. Shoppers will browse in a bookstore in ways that they don’t in online stores.
  6. A book on the shelf has a greater chance of being picked up on an impulse buy, thus widening the audience.

So, it turns out that generally speaking buying a book from a brick and mortar store is better for the author than ordering it online. While the royalty amount doesn’t change, what does change is the engagement of the sales force which can lead to higher sales. Plus, a good bookstore will be able to pair books with appropriate readers.

In other words, if you like an author — any author — and want to see a book succeed, go to your local brick and mortar store and ask for the book.

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6 thoughts on “Debut Author Lessons: The importance of Brick and Mortar stores”

  1. Thanks for this. I worked in a bookstore as a buyer and manager for a few years after college and the power of brick-and-mortar stores is truly impressive, and hard to explain to people who live online and haven’t seen it first hand. (Another example — it’s brick-and-mortar stores that report to the New York Times bestseller lists.)

  2. Thanks for sharing what you’re learning as a debut author. I never thought about points 2 & 4 (esp 4), but that makes a lot of sense. Hopefully in 2012 they don’t make the same mistake of only stocking two of your books in each store 😉

  3. I was thinking on buying some copies of Shades of Milk and Honey online for Christmas presents – guess I’ll wander on down to Barnes and Noble instead!

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