The Bookstore: The Holy Grail

Some thoughts on penetrating the fortress that is the Barnes and Noble.
Oct | 22 | 2013

Images like the one on the right are increasingly rare. Regardless of your publisher, it’s really hard to get your book into a bookstore unless one of the following is true:

  • Your name is Malcolm Gladwell
  • You’re a reality star and live near the B&N
  • You bribe the store manager

Do the math. The largest B&N’s can store about 100,000 books. Period. While accounts vary, roughly 300,000 books are published every year from proper publishers.

Add self-published outfits, and that number rises to nearly three million. In fact, most B&Ns and even indie bookstores won’t stock anything from Lulu, iUniverse, AuthorHouse, or other subsidy presses. Perhaps it’s the return policy. Also, as I’ve seen personally, many self-published books just don’t look professional.

What’s an author to do? Well, start with recognizing that traditional brick-and-mortar stores are going away. Blame Amazon if you like, but that’s just the nature of today’s beast. You can certainly try to penetrate this fortress. Just recognize that the odds aren’t great.

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