Daily Archives: August 31, 2010

Guest Blogger Bookseller Cheryl Bago: How to get Your Book in Bookstores

Wondering if we can carry your book?  I decided to post the official Barnes & Noble criteria for getting your book in the stores.  So if you’re debating self-publishing, you might want to consider that a book MUST meet this criteria before we even consider putting it on the shelves.
Want to hear my side of an actual conversation I had this week?
“No, we can’t carry your book, even if it was professionally bound at the Cougar Copy center.  It has to be returnable.  No, we cannot buy it from you and return it to you.  It doesn’t matter if your entire family is planning to come in a purchase a copy.  No, we can’t have you come in to do a signing on a book we can’t carry.  No, you can’t sell the book on your own in our store.  No, you cannot stand outside our front doors and try to sell the book to our customers as they walk into the store.”
(as he starts cussing me out)  “All right, sir, if you really think it will become a bestseller on Amazon, then yes, I strongly recommend you try selling it there.”
And no, I don’t think we’ll be missing out on millions of dollars.

By the way, did everyone LOVE Mockingjay? Our Orem store sold more copies the first week than any other store in the district, and our district sold more copies than any other district in the company!!!  What does this mean?  It means that Utah loves YA.  But I guess we already knew that…

And on to business:

Does your book have an International Standard Book Number (ISBN)?

We use the ISBN to track inventory and sales information. An ISBN is a 13-digit number that specifically identifies your title. ISBNs are furnished by:

ISBN Agency
630 Central Avenue
New Providence, NJ 07974
(877)310-7333 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting                    end_of_the_skype_highlighting
(908)219-0188 (fax)

Processing takes 10 working days. An extra fee brings 72-hour priority handling. If your book has already been printed, you can sticker your book with the ISBN once it is assigned. The ISBN and price should appear on the back cover of the book.

Does your book have a bar code?

Bar codes help our stores handle books more efficiently. The bar code which incorporates your ISBN is scanned at the time of purchase, thus recording accurately the sale of your book. The book industry uses the Bookland EAN bar code, not the UPC.  If your book is already printed, you can have pressure sensitive labels produced for placement on the back cover. For a list of commercial Bar code suppliers, visit the BISG website: www.bisg.org/barcoding/bc_suppliers.html.

What sort of binding (saddle stitch, staple, perfect, plastic comb, ring) does your book have?

Perfect binding is more expensive, but perfect-bound books have the potential for a longer shelf life and better sales because the name of the book can be printed on the spine. Since most of the titles in our stores are placed on the shelves spine out, stapled or saddle stitched books essentially disappear. If your book is plastic comb-bound or perfect-bound, the title and other pertinent information should be printed on the spine. Otabind is another type of perfect binding that allows a paperback to lie flat.

Is your book available through a wholesaler?

Your willingness to place your book with a book wholesaler may determine whether or not we carry it. Wholesalers normally expect a 50-55% discount, pay in 60-90 days, and expect books to be returnable. Some expect free freight. Placing your book with a wholesaler will simplify your billing (one invoice to one location). It also allows Barnes & Noble to place larger orders and put the book on automatic replenishment. Wholesalers are used by many segments of the book industry: publishers, libraries, and booksellers. Other bookstores order from the same wholesalers used by Barnes & Noble. We can help put you in touch with an appropriate wholesaler.

Is your book priced competitively with other titles of a similar topic and quality?

Price can be a determining factor for a customer when looking at books similar in content, presentation and format. Look at the pricing of other like books in the same category, and try to price yours competitively.

Has your book met compliance certification?

Barnes & Noble requires all vendors to certify that all products they supply meet all applicable compliance requirements, including but not limited to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA).  Vendors are expected to maintain knowledge of and comply with all safety standards for their products.  To that end, all Barnes & Noble’s suppliers and manufacturers must complete the new Barnes & Noble Vendor Certification Form.  In addition, view information on the Vendor and Product Compliance Requirements.

The new Vendor Compliance Certification program supersedes the previous compliance form and covers a broader range of product and compliance standards, in addition to children’s products and the CPSIA.

Why should Barnes & Noble place your title on its shelves?

Tell us what makes your book unique or special. What is your marketing plan? Send us your publicity and promotional plans, along with any reviews or articles that may have been written about your book(s).

Where can you find more information on the topic of book writing, publishing, and marketing?

The reference shelf in your favorite bookstore or local library features a wide variety of titles about writing books and the business of publishing.


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