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  • Writer's pictureKyrie

Book Consignment at an Indie Bookstore: My 1st Experience

Updated: May 2

I was recently fortunate to have my books, Healer's Blade (Enemy's Keeper Book 1) and The Thief's Keeper (An Enemy's Keeper Prequel) consigned at indie bookstore Librarie Saga, the only bookstore dedicated to speculative fiction in Quebec, Canada. Mathieu, the owner, was SO patient in teaching me how book consignment worked!

I thought I'd share my experience to help other authors looking to sell physical copies locally.

What is book consignment?

This is an arrangement in which the bookstore agrees to display and sell books on behalf of an author (or publisher) without buying them in advance. Instead, the bookstore only pays for the books sold and keeps a fraction of the sales price as a commission. If any books remain unsold after a specified time, they are returned to the author/publisher.

How it started: A random phone call

On a Saturday afternoon, I called the bookstore's owner, Mathieu, telling him I wrote two books in YA fantasy. Then I asked if it was possible to visit him in his store and present them in person, in hopes that he would sell my books.

Mathieu kindly said yes, and I was off on my bike.

You can certainly look up and call/visit bookstores in your area, like I did. Rehearse a few things you'd say to "pitch" your books and present yourself authentically without being pushy.

Here are websites to help you find your closest indie bookstore:

I recommend doing the following before you visit bookstores:

  1. Make sure you have a genre-appropriate, professional cover

  2. Make your blurb the best it can be

  3. Have good reviews for your book, both in quantity and quality. I can't say how many reviews is enough, but three dozen on GoodReads is probably a good start.

  4. Check your author copies to make sure the printing is perfect.

  5. Know exactly how much it costs you to order each author copy.

The Consignment Invoice

Consignment agreements typically include elements like

  • The duration of the consignment period

  • The seller discount

For example, I decide to sell a book at $15.

The "seller discount" is around 40%. This means the bookstore agrees to pay you $15- (.40)(15)= $9 for every book sold.

Again, you must know how much it costs you per author copy before deciding on what price to sell your books!

The "consignment period" refers to how long the bookstore will hold on to unsold books before they return the copies to you. In my case, it was 6 months.

Also, remember to arrange for how unsold books are to be returned to you.

Final thoughts: Indie Bookstores are awesome

Connecting with my local bookstore was one of the best things I've done thus far in my author career. Not only did it open a new venue to sell my books, but I got to do so in person and meet other people passionate about books in my community!!

Since consigning my books at Librarie Saga, I also did a live book signing (my first one ever!) for Indie Bookstore Day 2024. It was such an amazing experience.

This is surely only the beginning of attending live events for me!


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