This week, I’ve got a bonus Saturday guest post. Glenn Gamble, author of A Thousand Chances and other thrillers, has a few things to say about new ideas for bookstores. I have to admit, I like anything that means MORE BOOKS, so why not have your favorite bookstore become a publisher? Here’s what Glenn thinks…
I Want My Favorite Bookstore to Publish Books
Thank you, Lisa, for affording me the opportunity to guest post on your blog. Today I’m going to showcase an idea that explores print publishing in a different way. The idea: retail bookstores as publishers. I will admit, this is not a unique idea and my first introduction to this concept was lost amidst turmoil on JA Konrath’s blog where Blake Crouch proposed the idea of bookstores following Amazon.com’s suit and publishing their own books. I liked the idea, but it didn’t get much traction and the idea died; but it’s very much alive in my mind.
I would like to see bookstores become their own publisher because I don’t want them to die. The current business climate for book sellers will ensure that the bottom will fall out from underneath them. I don’t want that to happen, and neither does most readers. Sure we can blame Amazon and Walmart for the demise of book retailers, but that won’t get any of us anywhere. The fact of the matter, bookstores must adjust or die. Here’s some things I’d like to see book retailers doing:
- Retailers should publish books. They don’t have to drastically change their arrangements with the major publishers, but they can slowly introduce new authors one at a time. Start off by signing one local author. Give the author a small advance –depending on the size of the store, if it’s a bigger chain store that’s going to stock my book in all of their stores, I want a bigger advance.—and 30-60% of the retail price as a royalty against the cost of printing. Author should have the option to retain their e-rights.
- Throw book parties celebrating the author’s book release.
- Become more community-focused. Have your signed author provide a workshop to your customers. Whether or not you should charge for these workshops is up to the retailer. In any event, any monies collected from these workshops should be paid to the retailer and the author.
- Forget about competing with Amazon on price—you can’t. Train your employees to provide excellent customer service. In fact, your employees should be avid book readers so that they can provide a level of service to the customers that a point and click can’t. You still have the advantage here.
- Work with local businesses. Sponsorships and co-op advertising to defray the cost of holding workshops, events, etc. Again, Amazon will not compete with you here because Bezos goes swimming with Scrooge McDuck every morning in Amazon’s pool of money. They don’t have to solicit sponsorship, but you should.
- Open an online bookstore and sell ebooks. You could sell ebooks at your retail store as gift cards with a download code on the back in addition to selling them online.
I hope that bookstores won’t just roll over and die while cussing Amazon’s existence. It’s unproductive and it’s not making them any money. Adjust to the current climate and they’ll rise head and shoulders above their competition. This is the perfect opportunity for indie bookstores to become big chain stores. I hope they seize the moment and stay alive.
He also encourages you to visit his website GlennGamble.com.