Did you know that if you’re looking for shelf space for your self-published novel, you can go to independent bookstores in your local area and offer them your book on consignment? If they like your pitch, they might just hang on to a few copies of your book and let you know when they’ve sold them. This weekend I did just that and helped out a local literary magazine by shopping around their newest volume to independent bookstores all over Manhattan and Brooklyn. It was a great tour of all the local booksellers in my area, and it was even better to see that many of them were packed with people buying for the holidays!
It’s no surprise to me, then, that independent bookstores appear to be doing particularly well this holiday season, despite the lack of breakout hits like last years’ Steve Jobsbiography by Walter Isaacson. Yesterday The New York Times reported that while sales for Barnes and Noble have been mixed, most indie stores are doing pretty well for themselves right now:
There are many reasons bookstores point to for their successful holiday season. President Obama, they note, set the stage when he took his daughters, Sasha and Malia, to One More Page Books in Arlington, Va., on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, where he snapped up 15 children’s books.
Small bookstores report that they are also benefiting from the popularity of Kobo e-readers, which were designed for independent bookstores and allow customers to buy e-books through the independents’ Web sites, as opposed to say, Amazon.
Steve Bercu, an owner of BookPeople in Austin, Tex., said sales were up 10 percent over last year. He said that shoppers were buying coffee-table books but were also snapping up Kobo devices. “I was a naysayer,” he said, “but they are buying the actual devices, which surprised me.”
Becky Anderson, the owner of Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville, Ill., said: “Our Black Friday and Small Business Saturday sales were up considerably over last year. That includes hardcovers and purchases made over the Internet, which we either ship or that you can pick up at the store.”
You can read the rest of the article, which I highly recommend, over at the NYTimes website. So much of the media’s coverage on books right now is focused on the doom and gloom of what’s been called a dying industry, so it’s nice to see some news that’s a little more positive!