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The Problem With Book Returns and How to Solve it

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Bookstore
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Bookstores rarely host signings by self-published authors — maybe if the author is local and offers books in consignment.  “Why not?” I asked a bookseller.  “We can’t return them.  When we order books from self-publishing press, such as CreateSpace, the books are non-returnable. If the store can’t sell them, then they’re stuck with them, and lose money.
Archaic practices in the publishing industry allow bookstores to return unsold books, often just weeks after their debut – for full purchase price.  No risk for book sellers, but lots of frustration and loss for authors.
Trade publishers ship books on a refundable basis – pretty much a novum in retail –  so if a book store orders 30 copies and only sells 20, they can return the 10 unsold copies and will receive a refund, meaning no risk on the site of booksellers. 

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Booksellers Don’t Stock POD
Most booksellers will generally not stock POD books because they can’t return the book if it doesn’t sell and the percentage they get is lower. Printing one book at a time is more expensive per book (usually twice as expensive) than publishing a few thousand.
“That’s why many self-published authors can’t get their books into the large chains,” he explained. “It’s all about non-returnability. We only order the blockbuster titles they know they can sell. Books-a-Million, one of the book store chains, for example states it does not allow POD books into it’s stores at all.”

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Solution for Authors
However, author-publishers don’t need to be stuck with the current system of bookstore returns:
He pulled up several examples for me on his computer of self-published authors who use Lightning Source and offer both “Regular discount” (i.e 40%) and return-ability. He orders these books through Ingram/LightningSource, just like books from traditionally published authors. So it’s possible with Lightning Source, at least. The easier authors make it for independent booksellers and the big book chains, the more likely they will be treated like mainstream authors – if their books are well edited and have an attractive cover.

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Offer Both: CreateSpace & LSI / Ingram Distribution
If you don’t plan to sell many books, CreateSpace works fine. But if you DO plan to sell lots of books, you will earn a lot more from LSI (LightningSource Inc.) with a 20% discount than you will from CS with a 40% to 60% discount. Those setup fees everyone complains about at LSI are meaningless, compared to the difference in per-unit margin.  You will make up the difference in set-up fees within the first 100 books you sell.
in order for bookstores to order them you have to make your books returnable. In average, bookstores return about thirty-five per cent of the hardcovers they buy, according to the NEWYORKER and publishers (or author-publishers, that’s you!) write off the cost of producing those books. Don’t forget to deduct these returns from your tax.
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Benefit: Book Signings
You will be able to have book signings at Barnes & Noble and other stores, taking part in store events if you distribute for example through LSI / Ingram. Bestseller Author Stephanie Chandler wrote a great article how to sell to bookstores and also offers a free Consignment Agreement form for you to download and modify if you want to make an arrangement with a bookstore to carry your books as a consignment. Her statement: “It certainly can’t hurt to place your books at a few stores, but it probably won’t lead to fame and fortune!”  – It might work with an author who has a strong local following.  Last but not least: there is even some shifting in booksellers attitude towards the author-published books, read more about it in these blogs:

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If you would like to get more support in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites – or to learn how you can make yourself a name as an author through content writing: We offer all this and more for only $179 for three months – or less than $2 per day! Learn more about this customized Online Seminar / Consulting for writers: http://www.111Publishing.com/Seminars Or visit http://www.e-book-pr.com/book-promo/
to advertise your new book, specials, your KDP Select Free Days or the new Kindle Countdown Deals.

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Posted by on February 26, 2014 in Book Sales

 

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Survival Guide for Small Print Publishers

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Vintage-Phone
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Books are always very popular gifts for Christmas, birthdays and other occasions. Imagine: someone in Australia saw your print book on Amazon or read about it on Twitter or Google+ and would like to order it, but doesn’t want to pay high shipping fees. To get new readers and buyers of your book in other countries, it is almost essential to have it printed on demand and distributed worldwide – and also to be present in catalogs for library purchases.
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Would You Like to Have Your Paperback Sold Worldwide?
Author-publishers with at least three books might be better off with LightningSource / Ingram and
CreateSpace combined – until their book sale numbers are into the several thousands – also due to the
print-on-demand possibilities that both companies offer. So, if you are an author with three or more books, read on:
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LightningSource
connects you with the world’s largest distribution channel of book wholesalers and retailers. In addition to distributing books through their parent company Ingram Books, they print to order, which means, your
book is printed and ready for shipment in 12 hours or less. With over 30,000 wholesalers, retailers and
booksellers in over 100 countries your titles will gain the maximum exposure.
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LightningSource / Ingram
work with over 28,000 publishers of all sizes around the world. They deliver digital, print, wholesale and distribution services through a single source, and makes it easy for you to reach more customers in
more places.
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CreateSpace
has slightly lower print-on-demand fees and set up fees per book, but it doesn’t get you into the Ingram
worldwide distribution. They offer something, called the Expanded Distribution Channel: “the potential to distribute your book to a larger audience through more outlets including: retailers, bookstores, libraries, academic institutions, wholesalers, and distributors.” Well “potential” which means actually nothing! If a bookstore is really willing to order a single book from them, they will deliver, but they don’t offer it actively to all bookstores.
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Don’t Let You Discourage
Recently some self-publishing authors were taken aback when LightningSource recommended them to use the new IngramSpark distribution program.  Aaron Shepard wrote on October 3, 2013 in his blog:
“Reports have it that Lighting Source is turning away potential clients—self publishers and other small
publishers. They’re being told to sign up for IngramSpark instead. You know IngramSpark—the service
that insists on a 55% wholesale discount for bookstores and can’t (or will not) send you a physical
proof.”

“Fortunately, I have learned it’s all a bluff!  Yes, Lightning will tell you that you’re really better suited to IngramSpark and should sign up there instead. But all you need to do is come back and say you don’t want IngramSpark, you want Lightning Source. That’s the magic key that lets you in. The gate is not actually locked, they just want you to think it is.  Maybe no one at Ingram understands that, if you limit new publishers to a 55% discount, they might just as well stick with CreateSpace EDC at 60%. The 5% difference simply is not enough to justify bothering with a publishing service with different technical requirements.”
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Read the whole story by Aaron Shepard, THE print publishing guru at
www.newselfpublishing.com/blog/#IngramSpark3. He wrote two books, every author should read: Aiming at Amazon and POD for Profit

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More information about LightningSource, Ingram and CreateSpace book distribution:
CreateSpace, LightningSource – or Both?  A guest blog by author Linda Austin.  And How Do You Distribute Your Print Book? at SavvyBookWriters.com

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If you would like to get help in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites: We offer all this and more for only $ 159 for 3 months. Learn more about this individual book marketing help: http://www.111Publishing.com/Seminars
Or visit http://www.e-Book-PR.com/book-promo to advertise your new book, specials or KDP Select Free Days.

Please check out all previous posts of this blog (there are almost 900 of them : ) – if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and to StumpleUpon.

Thanks a lot for following:

@111publishing
http://on.fb.me/TvqDaK
http://bit.ly/VmtVAS 111Publishing @ Google+

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How Do You Distribute Your Print Book?

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wikimedia.org/wikipedia/common

Worldwide Distribution Credit wikimedia.org/wikipedia/common

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In a recent blog post – How Much Does Self-Publishing Cost? and earlier, Distribution of Your Print Book and CreateSpace, LightningSource or both? – we explained how to distribute your printed book. “Self Publishing With Amazon, CreateSpace, and LightningSource:” Print-Book Self-Publishing Guru Aaron Shepard, author of the famous Aiming at Amazon set up a few guidelines that will help new author-publishers:

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  1. Start with CreateSpace to most easily, efficiently, and reliably handle sales to Amazon, your biggest market. One exception is, if LightningSource is better able to produce your book. For instance, Lightning now has color offerings that beat those of CreateSpace either in quality or in affordability. 
  2. When and if your sales are high enough that an extra 10% to 20% is worth doubling your effort, and if you want to have your book worldwide distributed, add Lightning Source.  And for heaven’s sake, read POD for Profit, so you understand what you’re getting into. 
  3. At least at first, set your list price to …     Read all of Aaron Shepard guidelines, and his explanations for everyone, interested in print publishing and distributing books – maybe even worldwide.

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More distribution tips:
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http://www.newshelves.com/2013/03/28/why-you-need-lightning-source-and-createspace/
“LightningSource allows your book the chance to be ordered in many countries overseas that CreateSpace does not.”

Terri Giuliano Long, Boston College teacher and bestseller author wrote a great blog post about self-publishing platforms and book distribution possibilities:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/terri-giuliano-long/self-publishing-platforms_b_2810092.html
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Indies Unlimited gives this advice: When you upload your book and publish it through CreateSpace, it’s important to make sure you tick off the section that will enable your book to be distributed in Amazon Europe also. This is part of their basic deal and does not involve the Expanded Distribution feature so it does not cost anything extra. When you are on the “Distribute” tab, go to “Channels” and make sure you have checked “Amazon Europe”.
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All these information are for books that are printed-on-demand (POD), directly by the distributors.  In case you have done an excellent marketing campaign BEFORE you even finished your book – and especially if you have a targeted readership already for your non-fiction book, or huge amounts of pre-orders:  you also can print conventionally and distribute/ship the books yourself or with the help of a full-filling/shipping company.
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More about LightningSource and CreateSpace:

http://www.newselfpublishing.com/CreateSpaceEDC.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lightning_Source

https://www1.lightningsource.com/default.aspx

https://www1.lightningsource.com/benefits_small.aspx

 

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If you would like to get help in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites: We offer all this and more for only $ 159 for 3 months. Learn more about this individual book marketing help: http://www.111Publishing.com/ Once you are on this website, click on Seminar to register.

Please feel free to check out all previous posts of this blog (there are 830+ of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Chime.in, Facebook, Tumblr and to StumpleUpon.

Thanks a lot for following:

@111publishing
http://on.fb.me/TvqDaK
http://bit.ly/VmtVAS 111Publishing @ Google+

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