In Indie Book Selling
I am not suggesting that anyone try this. Nope. But it was certainly fascinating to see.
Started this afternoon when I drove Kris to an eye appointment that was beside a large mall here in Vegas. So I set off walking in the mall to get my 5 miles. (Yes, streak is still intact at 12 days in a row at five miles.)
I was coming up a ramp in the mall and there in front of me was a small kiosk covered in books of all kinds. Nonfiction, poetry, some fiction, some coloring books, some political books, and on the lower shelf were a bunch of tee-shirts. All the books were face-out.
I glanced at it as I went by and kept walking. There is no bookstore in that mall, so I figured it was from another local bookstore, although Vegas is pretty much a bookstore desert.
Next time around the guy running the kiosk bookstore was talking to a few people and I gave it a closer look. Very attractive. Interesting books, all of which were indie published, yet very professionally done.
Next time I stopped and asked him if some of the books were his. He proudly pointed out the five on the front shelf that were his and then to another twenty from authors he called his “clients” meaning he had done the books for them.
The rest of the books he had ordered for his bookstore. (His bookstore was the Kiosk.) All indie books.
Great guy, very sharp, mid-thirties, and his dream was to have a brick-and-mortar store, and write and sell books. I asked him if he was selling online and he was, through Amazon and Ingram Sparks.
I told him about D2D to get his books around the world more and he had heard of them, and was all excited with that information. I told him over the years I had owned two different bookstores and three different comic book stores. In essence, I had done his dream, so that sort of stopped the conversation, so I shifted the discussion back to how amazed I was at seeing an indie author in a mall kiosk. I told him I had never heard of it being done and got him talking about that and how he was making some money doing it.
Yes, he was making money doing it.
Now sitting in a mall for ten hours a day, seven days a week is not my idea of a good time, but he was sure enjoying talking to people about books, so I guess, more than likely, I am just jaded something awful. And he had a computer set up like I had a typewriter in my first bookstore, and clearly he was writing at times. Or doing covers, or selling. My guess… all three and more.
He was a member of the ABA and got some of his books and client books into stores through Ingrams, so he was going that trade-route way partially.
So I walked away impressed.
And pleased that it is only the limit of a person’s imagination in sales that holds us back. He wants his own bookstore, so he could afford a Kiosk in a busy spot in a busy mall to earn that store. I would not bet against this guy that he has his own brick-and-mortar store sooner rather than later. And like the publishers of the first part of the last century, he’ll be publishing his books and other author’s books out of the back room.
Sometimes I wish I was young again and had that kind of energy.
And a little less knowledge.