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5 Tips to Create Demand at Local Bookstores

In our last posts in our “How to Get Your Book Into Bookstores” mini-series, we provided you with 5 tips for contacting bookstores,  5 tips for creating a professional book, and 5 tips for speaking with a bookstore’s book buyer. Assuming you followed these tips and the store has now decided to stock your book, you now need to create demand for the book and send customers to purchase it. After all, if the book does not sell, it’s likely that the bookstore will return your books and will not want to work with you again. Alternatively, if you’re a small publisher and a particular book does not sell, these will be returned to your distributor to be destroyed at your cost.

Unfortunately, due to the number of books that each bookstore carries, they are unable to promote every one equally. While some may receive additional attention (i.e. placement near the check out, on a “New and Hot” table, etc.), it’s still your job as the author or publisher to tell others that the book is in stock at a store.

With that in mind, here are 5 tips to create demand at local bookstores:

1) Inform Friends and Family

Once a few bookstores agree to stock your book, inform friends and family where they can purchase a copy. Make sure you ask your friends and family not to buy the book online, as Amazon is competition to many independent bookstores. By informing friends and family, you’re creating your own demand, increasing the likelihood of guaranteed sales, and helping to promote local, independent bookstores. It’s a win-win for everyone!

2) Promote Bookstores via Your Author Platform

As bookstores begin to stock your book, mention each one via your author platform, including on your website and through social media. While this seems like a no-brainer, bookstores will appreciate the mention and your efforts to drive consumer traffic to their stores. If you do not have a strong author platform or you are missing elements, our book marketing experts can help.

3) Add a Buy Button on Your Website

For the local stores that offer online shopping, choose one and speak to their book buyer about adding a buy button on your website. You may be able to negotiate a deal where, in exchange for the buy button, your book receives better placement in that bookstore.

4) Ask to Have an Event

Arguably, the best way to create demand at a local bookstore is to host an event at the store. This may include a book launch, author signing, book reading, or Q&A session. Whatever your idea for an event may be, once the bookstore confirms that they will be stocking your book, get in touch with the book buyer right away to inquire about an event. While you may be directed to another staff member, many are thrilled to host authors and often promote these events widely. If you can host an event at a bookstore, you should do the same, and be sure to spread the word.

5) Follow Up on Out-of-Stocks

If a bookstore sells out of your book and does not restock right away, ensure you contact the book buyer to get more books to the store. If you’re a publisher, ensure that your authors or sales team are doing the same, as you’d hate to lose potential sales.

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How do you create demand at your local store?