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Free Report: 100 Publishing Tips Get it Here

Tips and strategies for retail book sales success

by Vervante •

Offering your book through a retail outlet is much more than a good way to increase your revenue. Selling your book in stores and online is also a great way to:

  • improve search engine optimization (SEO)
  • increase sales opportunities
  • elevate your status as an author
  • establish yourself as an expert in your field
  • expand your audience and visibility online
  • get bookings for speaking gigs, workshops, trainings, retreats, etc.
  • create a fan base to support future books and products

Vervante can list your book for retail sales in places like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the Vervante Bookstore, however we strongly recommend that the majority of your sales are processed via your own website.  The most important asset you have in your business is your customer email list and when you process orders on your own site, you collect the customer data and build your list! 

Listing your book on Amazon is a great secondary distribution channel and we can help with everything from A to Z: listing, orders, managing sales transactions, printing and distribution.

We get lots of questions about retail sales, so we’ve put together the following list of frequently asked questions and answers here for quick reference. For more detailed information, please log in to your Vervante Author Account, scroll to the Support section, and click on “List Physical Product for Retail Distribution” or “List eBook for Retail Distribution.”

RETAIL BOOK SALES FAQs

Q:  How do I submit my book or product for retail distribution?

A:  Log into your Vervante author account, scroll down to the Support section and click on “List Physical Product for Retail Distribution” or “List eBook for Retail Distribution.”

Q:  How much do you charge to list products via retail channels? 

A:  Listing your book or product on Amazon and/or the Vervante Bookstore is FREE.  There is a one-time charge of $50 for Barnes & Noble and Baker & Taylor.

Q:  Where can you list books for sale online?

A:  We can list books in the following places for direct sales:

  • Vervante Bookstore
  • Amazon.com (US and Canada)
  • Barnes & Noble.com
  • Barnes & Noble Nook
  • Baker & Taylor
  • Amazon Kindle

Q:  Can I only list books for sale? What about other products?

A:  You can add physical products to the Vervante bookstore and Amazon.  You can only list books with Baker & Taylor.

Q:  What is the turnaround time from submitting a book or product to when it’s available on that retail channel?

A:  Turnaround times vary by each organization. Here is an approximate amount of time for each one to take from request to ready for sales:

  • Vervante & Amazon Marketplace: 3 business days
  • Amazon Advantage: 7 business days
  • Baker & Taylor and Barnes & Noble: 14 business days

Q:  Do I need to provide ISBN numbers or UPCs for books or products to be sold online?

A:  Yes, an ISBN number (International Standard Book Number) is required for books and CDs sold through retail channels such as Amazon or Baker & Taylor. Vervante sells ISBN numbers for $35 per ISBN.

Q: Can I change the description or price of my product currently listed on Amazon?

A: Yes! Just send us an email at customerservice@vervante.com letting us know the product and your requested changes and we would be happy to do this for you.

Q: I love how Amazon lets shoppers peek inside the book before buying. Do you offer anything like this?

A: We love that feature, too! Which is why we're happy to let you know that we do offer a sneak peek into books when readers are browsing in the Vervante Bookstore called "Peek-A-Book.”

Q:  I already have a website and sales page where I promote and sell my book. Can I still list my book in other retail channels such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble as additional distribution channels?

A:  Yes, you can list your book for sale in all of the channels we mention, in addition to your own website and sales page.

Q:  How do I keep track of sales once my book or product is listed?

A:  All orders are posted in your Vervante author account.  You can identify orders from Amazon by the 17-digit referring order ID on your “View orders” page.  Orders from the Vervante Bookstore are posted on a separate page in your account.

Q: How are fees and royalties accounted for and where can I view that information?

A:  All of your financial information is posted on your Vervante Author Dashboard on the Statements page.   You can also track your profit on each Amazon order by viewing the Amazon Order Reconciliation Report.

Q: What’s best – sell my book on my own website, or offer it through someplace like Amazon?

A: With our services, you can have the best of both worlds! Here’s why: If you have a business, plan on writing more books or creating more products, and want to develop a connection with your audience and readers that supports future sales and growth, selling via your own website or sales page should be your primary option, with sales through Amazon and others like it as your secondary sales channel.

Selling your books and products from a site you control, and not sending customers to purchase directly through Amazon or other online retailers, allows you to grow your database of customer information. As business owners, building an email list of loyal, interested customers should be your #1 priority because email subscribers can become repeat product buyers. 

We want you to sell lots of books and we’ll help you do that, so as a secondary distribution channel to your site, we recommend Amazon Marketplace. We list your books and products on Amazon for you, then we handle orders and shipping. This way you know who is buying your product because we receive the orders and shipping addresses and provide that information to you.

Q:  How do I know which retail channels (in addition to my own sales page) are the best for me?

A: When it’s time to choose a retail option for selling your book online, it’s not just about how much profit you can make. Think strategically about where your audience likes to shop, how easy you want the sales process to be and which of these will offer the best resources, experience and returns for you and your book overall. Remember, you aren’t limited to only one distribution option and you can choose either one or a combination of several that will best fit your needs.

Each retail channel works a bit differently, so we’ll share a few details about each one below. If you’re still not sure, our publishing professionals will be happy to help you make the decision. Just reach out to sales@vervante.com or schedule a phone appointment using the link on our website contact page.

AMAZON MARKETPLACE

This is the most popular Amazon program option for authors. In this program, you pay Amazon 15% commission plus $1.80 per transaction. We will add your book or product to Amazon through our account with Amazon.  We will process your Amazon Marketplace orders daily and ship the order directly to the buyer.

Amazon Marketplace orders must ship within two business days per Amazon’s requirements, so the product must be available for printing or in stock.  Unfortunately, we cannot list a product on Amazon for pre-order.

We provide an Amazon Marketplace Reconciliation report in your Vervante author account so that you can track the profit/royalty on each order and transaction.  

Amazon Advantage

This is a consignment program with Amazon. When your book is listed in this program, Amazon will order 1-2 initial copies for their inventory. When the book is sold, Amazon will ship the book directly to the customer and will take a 55% discount on the retail price of the book. You are also responsible for the postage costs to ship the book to Amazon.

Baker & Taylor

Baker & Taylor, one of the largest wholesale distributors in the world, sells and distributes to book stores, and book resellers. If you opt to have Vervante list your book in the Baker & Taylor database any book reseller, such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble, can order and stock it in their physical or online bookstore. Baker & Taylor takes a 55 percent discount off the price of the book and you are responsible for paying for shipping to the Baker & Taylor warehouse.

Barnes & Noble

The ordering and fulfilment process for Barnes & Noble orders is pretty much the same as with Baker & Taylor. Vervante receives purchase orders, prints and ships your products to Barnes & Noble, and you are credited for sales within approximately 90 days. Barnes & Noble requires a 40% discount.

Vervante Bookstore

For many of our customers, the idea of processing credit cards, setting up a shopping cart and dealing with calculating shipping costs can be overwhelming. We have the perfect, easy solution!  We encourage you to have a landing page on your site and direct all of your sales and marketing efforts to your website. 

We’ll set up a product page in our bookstore for your book or product. We can create a dedicated online author page that highlights you and your book or product to provide more in-depth information, including Vervante’s Peek-A-Book feature that allows readers to see select pages inside the book.

All you need to do is redirect the “buy” button from your site to your page in our bookstore and the buyer then makes their purchase on our site.

Selling your book or product in the Vervante bookstore eliminates the need for credit card processing on your site but it also eliminates the need for you to calculate postage and shipping options.  In the Vervante bookstore the buyer makes their shipping selection and pays us for the postage. The transaction fee for purchases in the Vervante bookstore is a low 10 percent fee per transaction.

BOOKS AND BEYOND

In addition to books, we offer a variety of other products and services. A book usually leads to more products such as a journal, workbook, a home study, an audio or video program, a coaching or training program, card decks, etc. You can also send us products such as apparel or branded promotional items to include and ship with your book or products.

Our staff of publishing professionals are happy to help with any questions about retails sales and book or product publishing. We also offer ISBNs, UPCs, Copyright Registration and

LCCN applications. And we have a full library of free expert guides you can access any time online.