Are You Managing Your On-Hand Book Supply?

Merry Christmas!

Since it IS Tuesday, I am honoring the commitment I made to myself back in 2013 that said, “Every Tuesday I post an article and send out my email newsletter.” (Because it’s important to me to keep that commitment TO MYSELF.

And since it IS Christmas Day, I’m bringing you one of my favorite—and timeless—articles!

As an independently published author, MOST of your book sales will come from the mega-online retailer of Amazon. Let’s face it, nobody can compete with Amazon’s sheer VOLUME of users!

And that’s a good thing! It’s fantastic to sell where the eyeballs are!

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a number of your books on hand at all times. The question is:

How many should you keep on hand?

Years ago, I got invited to present at an Outdoors Expo – fitting because that’s what most of my books are written about, outdoor recreation. They were expecting 2,000 people a day for a two-day event.

I figured I’d be safe with 25 copies of each of my books …

And I’ll be you’re thinking I’m going to say, “I was sold out within the first three hours! I wish I’d ordered more!”

Um … yeah … not so much. Unfortunately, the event only had about a eight hundred people walk through the gates during the two days. And with a $10 per PERSON gate fee … Not a lot of folks were interested in buying anything from ANY of the vendors.

Here’s the moral of the story though: I wasn’t READY for this event! I didn’t have ANY books on hand which meant not only did I have to order them (outlay of cash – no problem!) but I had to have them rushed shipped! I paid nearly as much in shipping as I did for the books!


And I wish I could say it was ONLY for that event that I had that problem. But that just isn’t the truth for me. It wasn’t the only last-minute order.

Now, however, I do this:

After I publish a title, I promptly order 5 copies:

  • 1 for my permanent collection
  • 3 for gifts to anybody who helped me
  • 1 as a “sample” of the book that I can take to meet with clients

After that, I make sure to keep 10-15 copies of each title on hand, at all times. This small inventory covers me if a friend wants to buy a copy from me, last-minute book signings, if a local bookstore wants to carry a few titles, to give as a last-minute gift, etc.

It also means that when I need to re-charge my inventory, I’m only ever ordering a few books at a time. And when I DO have a bigger event on the horizon, I try to order at LEAST two weeks in advance so I don’t have to pay for rush shipping.

As a business owner it’s not that I have a challenge paying to get the books, but it’s that I don’t want to have them tied up as inventory in my office!

The moral of the story:

Keep books on hand!

Kim Galloway
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