Your Book On Shelves – Does It Matter?

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As I’ve become an indie publisher and ebook maverick over the last six months, I do come across people every so often who ask me “is it in stores”?

It’s a question every author hears and one that makes every indie author start figuring out a polite way to respond to their friend. Ultimately, you get to the same place we all do of explaining that it sells more online etc. etc.

But, does having a book on shelves really matter?

Considering how most brick-and-mortar stores are going the way of the dinosaur (not just book stores, retails stores across the board), it’s kind of a silly question but you must consider it’s a standardized question. Most of the public still has this idea of books being on shelves and the new digital age hasn’t quite married with their concept of what a book is.

For me, The Brothers Locke is in a few stores right now so I can answer “yes” to this question, but the sales from said stores amount to $2. Unless you’re a major player (the Kings, the Rowlings, the Pattersons, the Childs) having my book in stores is not really a benefit. Unless you have a big name in the industry, even if you do get your book into stores, it’s going to be way in the back somewhere (if they even put it on the shelves) where no one is going to see it unless by accident.

It’s not important for indie authors to have their books in stores.

We make way more money, and have much more influence, online with digital stores like Kobo, iBooks, and of course Amazon.

The one thing that always makes me laugh though is the people who ask this question often haven’t read a book in years. The question suggests that they’d likely read it if they can pick it up at a store but they also have no clue as to where the nearest book store is nor have set foot in one since before the last Harry Potter movie hit theaters.

So, don’t get discouraged by the question as a writer. As readers, many of you know the quality of a story or a book is not in where you buy it but what is in it.

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