Returns Program

Marketing Your Book

When you purchase distribution services, your book will also be in the Returns Program. This means that retailers and wholesalers will be able to return your book if they are unable to sell it. And don’t worry, we already know what you’re thinking: Why would I pay to allow someone to return my book? Isn’t that the opposite of what I’m trying to do, which is to sell my book?

The unfortunate truth is that most stores won’t stock your book unless you are in a Returns Program. Period. Ok, so retailers are allowed to make their own policies if they are independent—but you need to figure that 99% of bricks-and-mortar retailers will not allow a book to be sold "in store" unless it is listed as returnable. Now, if you give them a 60% or greater trade discount, maybe they’ll take a non-returnable title, but where is the profit in that?

To understand why retailers do this, put yourself in the bookseller’s shoes for a moment. You, the bookseller, are taking a risk by ordering a new title that has no sales data, yet, to support it. Even if you think that the book will do well, you really have no idea how it will be received by the buying audience. If you are fortunate enough to have a few people be sufficiently intrigued by the book to purchase it and bring it home, you just might be compelled to order another box of books. But, if customers lose interest in that particular title and you still have several in stock taking up valuable shelf space, what are you supposed to do with those books? Cut your losses and let the books gather dust in storage—or return the books, recoup your losses, and make room for new titles?

This may not be the “overnight bestseller” story you want to hear when it comes to your book, but it’s the narrative that goes through booksellers' minds as they weigh the decision to order new titles. Whether or not a book is returnable can make a huge impact on booksellers’ purchasing decisions.

Through the Returns Program, if a wholesaler or retailer is not able to sell your book, they will return it to the distributor. The return costs (shipping fees, etc.) are the responsibility of the author, and must be paid by the author. It’s very difficult to predict how much these fees will cost during your term of service, but there are measures you can take to try and avoid these fees.

Possibly the most important action you can take to try and avoid distribution fees is to actively market your book. By ensuring that people know your book is on the market, you can help increase the demand for your book, which in turn can help increase your sales and profit. Marketing your book does not mean that you will have no distribution fees, but if your book is selling, it can potentially help alleviate them.

Our Returns Program manages this process for the first two years that your title is in print. This service is highly recommended if you are planning on marketing and selling your book to bookstores or other bricks-and-mortar retailers.

Have questions? Not sure where to start? Give us a call!