WorldCon 2013 Report: Day One — Best Practices from Booksellers

logo_72x72Panel: Michelle Sagara, Peggy Hailey, Michael J. Walsh, Gini Koch, Lawrence Person

This was an interesting session and not as "gloom and doom" as you might think.

Other Notes:

  • Bookselling is in a period of minor transition (personally, I thought this was a vast understatement)
  • Things haven’t changed that much
  • It’s important to hand-sell books customers would actually like
  • Booksellers pay, in general, less than everyone else; they work there because they love books
  • Struggle with the brick and mortar stores with eBooks
  • Suddenly everything was available everywhere all the time
  • A great time for book buyers
  • For sellers: a lot more competitive, a lot more books, free shipping
  • It’s nearly impossible to compete with Amazon at the things they do well
  • The Internet changed a whole lot
  • Amazon is a godsend to small presses to sell internationally
  • It’s a Golden Age for people buying books
  • For more authors, it’s more difficult because there’s so much out there
  • Buy the building
  • Your job is to convince your audience that you are worth supporting
  • The way to make a small fortune in the book business is to start with a large fortune
  • Know your customers; know what your strengths are and what your weaknesses are
  • Most bookstore have not failed due to sales, but from rents
  • You need to do something that Amazon can’t
  • Author events
  • Offer yourself for events; pass the word
  • Keep your word
  • Bookstores need authors; authors need bookstores to sell their books
  • Word gets around
  • Most bookstores are willing to work with you, but make sure you’re talking to the right person
  • Make sure you tell your friends to show up
  • As it becomes easier to get POD books, more bookstores will be willing to handle them
  • Many bookstores will sell on consignment
  • Tends to be book-dependent
  • As an online bookseller, I will tend to carry only stuff I already know
  • We shouldn’t judge a book by its cover–but we do
  • Lead time for events depends on the store: at least a month for large stores
  • Ideally, approach them a few months before the book actually becomes available
  • The bookstore business is an absolutely insane business
  • If you want to get rich, don’t be in this business

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