Is it worth publishing a book if people aren’t going to bookstores?

One of the most popular questions clients ask me when thinking of writing a book is whether or not it’s worth it to publish a book if people aren’t going to bookstores. The short answer is always, “YES!”.


Let’s face it, during this pandemic, people are home more than usual. Which means, they are reading books. Just because they might not be going out to a physical bookstore, doesn’t mean they aren’t stocking up on books in other ways. People right now are wanting to get away from their new normal day-to-day and read about something interesting to open them up for new experiences that they aren’t going to get otherwise because they’re stuck at home. 


Even though people may not be frequenting bookstores as often as they used to, it doesn’t mean people aren’t purchasing books. They’re buying online, renting from online libraries, or finding no-contact libraries to find new books to read. 


As with so many other businesses during this pandemic, bookstores have had to move online. So, even though Amazon will sell your book (that’s a whole other process!), you should look for independent bookstores. 


Much as writing books is a passion and business for authors, selling books is a passion and the only business for independent booksellers. And while independent bookstores are known for being wonderful community gathering places with staff that genuinely care about the book industry, that doesn’t mean they’ve disappeared with this pandemic. They’ve just moved their business online. They still need to sell books, and they’re finding ways to do so. 


When looking into selling your book, I highly suggest you check out your local and regional bookstores. Think of bookstores like restaurants. If you owned a restaurant you’d have to keep turning those tables during your dinner service so that you could make enough money to keep your doors open. And as we all know during this pandemic, restaurants have had to focus on take-out services more so than dine-ins. It’s the same for bookstores. 


So, how can you get your book into a bookstore? 


Plan your strategy for selling your book to independent bookstores ahead of time, and start by frequenting those stores or following them online. Know what they’re selling and to whom, and see if your book is a good fit for each store you approach. Take a look at the store’s social media accounts and see what kinds of author events they typically host. When you meet with the owner, use this information in your pitch. If they have a certain type of customer that will be interested in your book, mention it.


Don’t just know a store exists via Google searches, actually, get to know them. Cultivate relationships with indie booksellers by purchasing books from their stores (online or in-person) and encouraging your friends, family, and fans to do so as well. It makes sense to support your local independent bookstore before you ask them to support you. This is even easier to do on social media. Post to your Instagram story supporting your local bookstore, and they will most likely reshare it. It’s one way to be a good literary citizen—and it’s good business, too.


So, there you have it! Bookstores are still very valuable in selling books and getting them into the hands of your audience. It is also a great way to support small businesses that right now with the pandemic, need all the help they can get.


Support your local bookstore! While it can be tempting to place an order with Amazon or another website and see that book arrive on our doorstep two days (or two hours) later, local bookstores–like so many local companies– serve a special role in the community. They often know their customers by name, curate literary collections that reflect the neighborhood’s interests, and host local authors that otherwise wouldn’t have a chance to share their work.


Are you ready to write the right book? Take action to get your book from concept to reality with a plan to take it to the masses! Join us for our upcoming mastermind, Publishing and Publicity, date to be announced.