Over on LinkedIn a week or so ago, I answered a question about selling self-published books in independent bookstores. Most of the discussion had centered around how difficult it is to get bookstores to take indie books and give them shelf-room. Oh the ranting and tearing of hair that was going on.
My response was "Why would you want to do this?" My argument was that by the time your book goes through the print-on-demand publisher who produces the hard copy , the sales force that sells it to a distributor, the distributor who ships it to the bookstore, and the bookstore that takes its overhead costs out of your profits, there's not much left. Authors can make much more money by avoiding the brick and mortar bookstores and going exclusively with internet sales.
I received a notice today that one of my POD books sold a bookstore copy. And here's the breakdown. That soft-cover book would cost me $6.10 if I bought it from CreateSpace. The list price is $17.95, so if I turn around and sell that copy to my neighbor, I pocket $11.85. If I take it to a lecture and sell the copy to a member of my audience, I sign it, charge a flat $20.00, and come away with $13.90.
But this book went from CreateSpace to Ingram, a a highly-respected book distributor used by the Big Six (or Big Four and a Half) and a major bookstore in a major city. I got a statement on my royalty share, stating that they will be sending me $0.26.
Yes, that's right. Twenty-six cents! That's my total royalty, and it may be months (years) before they send it to me because they only issue royalty checks over $10.00 (or maybe $20.00).
I rest my case.