Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Bookselling

To settle an argument I'm having, I need some booksellers to answer this question: when an author drops in and signs all their mass market books in stock, and the books don't sell, do you keep them forever, or do you strip covers and return them like the unsigned stock?

10 comments:

  1. Aimee9:38 AM

    They'd get stripped. At Borders, we didn't mark autographed Mass Markets, so the staff may or may not even know it's signed.

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  2. I used to manage a Borders - we'd strip signed copies of mm - but honestly, autographs made us keep a few more copies than we would have normally.

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  3. I asked a friend that used to work at a little independent seller in Ohio. They kept a few more ("Few being the operative word," she said.) when signed and slapped on stickers that noted they were autographed. She doesn't recall if the autographs made them sell any better or not.

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  4. Interesting question. I barnstormed about a dozen Borders stores in FL. Each store enthusiastically agreed to me signing stock copies of All Keyed Up and most offered me stickers for the cover. (I'd brought my own.) They asked if I could sticker the spine so that browsers would see the sticker.

    I wonder if, in addition to booksellers keeping a few more copies, do you all also keep the copies for a longer period of time before stripping?

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  5. Interesting question. I don't remember ever sending back signed copies of a book in my two experiences with now defunct bookstores. One was a small, independent company that went out of business years ago. The other was with Super Crown. But Super Crown never really did anything special to encourage authors to sign books. We only had one book signing while I was there and the one guy who dropped in out of the blue was L.E. Modesitt, and his books all sold. So I don't know how valuable my experience actually is in answering your question. There it is, though, fwiw.

    Linda

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  6. Thanks, everyone. Offline I'm debating the somewhat popular belief among pubbed authors that if you sign a mm book, it can't be returned by the store. I was also told that when I joined RWA.

    I've worked (briefly) as an assistant manager/bookseller at a major chain, and my store's policy was to strip the mm's whether they were signed or not.

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  7. Stripped or not (and what is the logic behind stripping the book anyway?), books can and are returned signed. Sometimes the signed book will end up sold on line or through another outlet. Don't be surprised if your Overstock.com copy comes signed.

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  8. It depends on what happens in our store. If the book sells fairly well and it stays off the home office 'strip list' then it stays around for a while. If I'm the one scanning for the strips and I know it's autographed, I keep them on the shelves. If one of my non-romance reading, doesn't know any better co-workers scans the section and the HO has it on the list, they will most likely strip it. (Honestly, the same goes for me if I were to scan the Sci-Fi section only cause I'm not familiar with authors and the selling trends as much...)But our strips get thrown away. Only the cover is returned to the publisher.

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  9. we sell all of our signed stock....

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  10. Our local authors used to love to come in and sign copies of their work as we were told that we could not return signed stock. One popular diy tv celebrity signed so flipping many of his books he had to be fairly sternly told to stop.

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