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How do I get Urban Outfitters to carry my book?
September 19, 2011 7:37 PM   Subscribe

I wrote a book and would like Urban Outfitters to carry it - what specific steps would you take to ensure this eventuality?

So I wrote a book that I think would fit perfectly with the other books I usually see at Urban Outfitters. It is hip, ironic and young. It's a Choose Your Own Adventure style book from the point of view of a housecat. But I am unsure as to what exactly I should do to make this happen. Do I write to their "acquisitions director"? Do places like this even have such a thing? I have never worked retail so I don't know how these things work usually. Who decides what books an Urban Outfitters will stock? Is there a head of hipsterism? Or - would this be seen as not very cool - to actively court being stocked by a store? Possibly the person who stocks the shelves at UO likes to "discover" things and if I send them my book for consideration, they would consider that pathetic. Anyone with any kind of knowledge of how a retail store will come to stock a particular item, I would appreciate any sort of advice you could give me. Thanks!
posted by Sully to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
[You can link to your book in your profile [or put it on projects] but do not link it here, thanks]
posted by jessamyn at 8:20 PM on September 19, 2011


I work in publishing. Urban Outfitters is a really, REALLY hard to get books stocked, even for major publishers, even for brand name authors. I can tell you that they purchase from a wholesaler (I don't remember if it's Baker & Taylor or Ingram) and they are very price sensitive. I'm sorry for not being more helpful, but truly, the best advice I can give you is to find an agent and a traditional publisher and see what kind of luck they'd have - I don't see UO buying direct from a self-published author. They're just not set up for that.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 8:25 PM on September 19, 2011


I went through the UO process several years ago when they wanted to stock tie-in kits to go with one of my books. They are SUPER price-sensitive, as peanut... mentioned, which will be hard for you to meet if you're self-published, given that you probably won't be able to fill their orders with the margins you want. (bare minimum of 60% off cover and maybe even more). They also tend to change their minds a lot...makes it tough to produce product at the price they want in the timeframe they want...only to possibly get stuck with it all. Hate to be disappointing, but it is a tough crowd...
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:05 PM on September 19, 2011


Or - would this be seen as not very cool - to actively court being stocked by a store? Possibly the person who stocks the shelves at UO likes to "discover" things and if I send them my book for consideration, they would consider that pathetic.

I'd be very, very surprised if the hourly employee stocking shelves has any say at all as to what goes on them. That's the bottom of the totem pole.
posted by mendel at 9:11 PM on September 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh, it's not self-published. But my publisher is not a huge publisher. He puts out like, a dozen books a year. I appreciate all the advice so far! I just like the books that UO carries - it seems like there is a curatorial impulse behind it. I didn't know if this was an actual person who made these decisions or a team or what. I appreciate people telling me about the numbers. To fill orders for all the UO's might be more than my publisher can handle. Possibly we are not ready to play with the big boys. I will talk to him and see!
posted by Sully at 9:32 PM on September 19, 2011


When I worked at B&N--which is obviously a different outfit, but we're talking about books here--we had a buyer in our store (I'm pretty sure not every store had a buyer--she just happened to have her office in ours), and local publishers would often come see her to pitch their products. Urban Outfitters might have a similar buying structure, in which case your publisher can reach out and try to make contact. It'll look better (read: more professional) for your publisher to make this contact than for you to do it on your own.

In almost all cases, individual stores can't stock titles solely on their own discretion. I'd imagine that's the case for any storefront that isn't a boutique shop.
posted by litnerd at 6:01 AM on September 20, 2011


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