Almost every one of my Canadian self-publishing authors aspires to see their magnum opus proudly displayed on the bookshelves of Chapters/Indigo and Coles. They see it as the pinnacle of having arrived as an author and will purchase Book Return Insurance in order to make that more of a possibility. Book Return Insurance is what bookstores need the author to have in order to be able to return unsold stock without the bookstore losing money.
However, Book Return Insurance is not a VIP admission ticket for Chapters/Indigo or Coles – or any bookstore for that matter – to purchase the author titles and to stock them on their shelves. Chapters/Indigo may go to Ingram to order self-published books available there if asked to, and if they deem it desirable according to their own internal criteria. It is important to know that their Central Purchasing Office will not automatically go and purchase stock from Ingram just because an author is listed there and has BRI. They are, in fact, quite conservative about doing so, because Chapters/Indigo is only permitted to return 5 to 10% of what they buy each year in total from everything that they purchase from Ingram. This is but one of the reasons they are so very conservative about stocking self-published books.
For books that are Print On Demand, Chapters/Indigo only uses Ingram for Online and Kiosk purchasing. Stocking shelves through Ingram will be discouraged for the reason noted above.
However, that’s not bad news. There is an alternative, and it’s totally workable.
Due to many self-published authors approaching individual stores all over the country, Chapters/Indigo has created a standardized procedure for authors to follow when approaching Chapters/Indigo and Coles for consignment. Contact your local Chapters/Indigo or Coles and request their document called Consignment Information for Authors. It’s available in both French and English.
Remember: Book Return Insurance will help to make self-published authors a bit more attractive to independent bookstores who purchase through Ingram, but it will not make them irresistibly attractive to big chains. Consignment is the strongest way to go for the Self-Published author, and it’s a great way to meet the stores half way.
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