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How to Sell Your Books and Support Indies

There’s an old saying that nothing sells books like more books. Meaning, the more books you publish, the more books you sell. When people read one of your books, hopefully they go back and read your earlier books.

Here at the Network, it’s our policy to always link a book title to the book’s listing on Indiebound.org, wherever it appears, whether in a blog post, conference webpage, front-page article, or e-mail. (In Book Buzz, we link both to Indiebound and Amazon, because some authors prefer it, and ultimately, we serve at the pleasure of our members….)

IndieBound, an initiative of the American Booksellers Association, is a “local first” shopping movement and a network of hundreds of independent bookstores dedicated to making the world better, one independent bookstore at a time. From a book’s product page on Indiebound, readers can see what local bookstore might carry it. If a bookstore isn’t carrying it, that store can certainly order it. Linking to Indiebound feels like the best way for us to support local businesses across a wide geographic area.

Over the past year, many have been linking to Bookshop.org, an “online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores.” Figuring that convenience is the main reason people buy books on Amazon instead of from their local independent bookstore, Bookshop.org creates “an easy, convenient way for you to get your books and support bookstores at the same time.” Readers can purchase books on Bookshop.org, and, through an affiliate program, a percentage of their purchase goes to local indie bookstores.

As authors, it behooves us to make sure all our backlist titles are available on Indiebound.org, as well as Bookshop.org, if possible. After all, nothing sells more books like, say it with us, “more books.”

To see if Indiebound is listing one of your books, just search for the title on Indiebound.org. Note: the search function is not very forgiving (although it’s improving), so we suggest searching by title. If that pulls up too many results, you can try searching by author name, but be aware that if you write under Aida Rhodabook, but search for Aida G. Rhodabook, your name might not come up.

If your book isn’t listed, here’s how to add it.

First, read this. Then go here. From here, you can edit details for a book that is already listed or add your book to Indiebound using a very simple form. You will need your book’s dimensions and shipping weight which, and we hate to say this but, if you don’t have handy, also are listed on your book’s page on Amazon, so you can just copy and paste. (Amazon won’t mind. We promise.)

It may take a couple days, but assuming everything is done correctly, your book will eventually appear, and you can start linking to your book’s page on Indiebound instead of Amazon.

Now, both Indiebound and Bookshop automatically list books distributed through Ingram. However, Indiebound doesn’t necessarily list all backlist titles, for whatever reason (likely low sales). And Indiebound will list books that aren’t distributed through Ingram, but you may have to add them yourself (see above).

Bookshop, however, only lists books that are distributed through Ingram, which isn’t a big deal for many authors, but for those authors who publish using Kindle Direct Publishing, there doesn’t appear to be a way, yet, to have their books listed on Bookshop.org, even if they sign on to Amazon’s Expanded Distribution System (which they should!). This is most likely because Amazon is A) the main competitor for indie bookstores and distributing books published by your competitor feels icky and B) Amazon gives booksellers less favorable sales terms than Ingram.

To see if Bookshop lists your book, just to go www.bookshop.org and enter the title in the search bar. If it doesn’t appear, you can see about getting your book distributed by Ingram.

Support those indies folks: both as readers, and as authors. Nothing sells books like more books, and as authors, we want our books listed everywhere they possibly can be….

 

 

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