Authors: Do you stock up on copies of your own book(s)?
June 21, 2013 12:57 PM   Subscribe

I got a book published a couple of years ago. I love being able to give copies to people once in a a while. I expect I'd like to be able to keep doing this for many years to come. Thus far, I just order new books as I need them. But is it likely that at some point it'll no longer be possible to order more copies? Should I be stocking up on the book? How to other authors out there handle this? I'd rather not have to keep a million copies around if I can avoid it (it's a small place I've got) but I'd hate to find, that, say, in ten years, I'm out of copies to give away, and no more can be had anywhere...
posted by ManInSuit to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I published two children's books in the late 90's. I bought a couple of cases because all my friends and relations were having babies and it was fun to give them copies of my books. I have 3 of each left. We are now getting into the 2nd generation of babies and it would be nice to have more, but they are difficult to find (there were only 10,000 of each printed)--so I'm saving the rest on the off chance that my nephews produce a grand niece or nephew (since their copies have disappeared).
posted by agatha_magatha at 1:06 PM on June 21, 2013

If your book is remaindered, your publisher may give you the chance to purchase a case or two at a cut rate. That might be the time to stock up. Beyond that, they may be available on Amazon as used copies once your remaindered case runs out.
posted by pie ninja at 1:13 PM on June 21, 2013

I have one copy more or less of each of my books. Publisher never provides many promo copies, and after you have greased all the reviewers and relatives, you get to the point where you just say

"Fuck you, I worked years to do this, and it's not like I'm gonna hand every swingin dick who wants to be my new friend $30.
posted by timsteil at 1:16 PM on June 21, 2013

Yep, get lots of copies and store them away. I had one book get remaindered after about a year and it's impossible to find good-quality copies of it now -- and the rub is that *now* it's in high demand, with people wanting 50 to 100 copies at a time for various purposes. I should go back to the publisher and see if they'll reprint, anyway.

The other book is still in print but even so my copies -- more than 100 copies -- have dwindled, not helped at all by the post office losing a box of 50 I sent to a big market radio station as pledge drive gifts.
posted by Mo Nickels at 1:16 PM on June 21, 2013

I was an editor at a very small publisher. We provided our authors with a couple dozen copies gratis (can't recall the actual number), and sold them as many more as they wanted at cost + shipping. I have no idea if this is standard practice, but expect it isn't; we just made up the rules as we went along.

When things went south, the publisher contacted the authors and offered them a couple of cases each from his remaining inventory, at shipping cost.

Anyway, contact your publisher and ask what the policy is and let them know you're interested in returns and remainders.
posted by notyou at 1:27 PM on June 21, 2013

I had the ability to purchase my books at bookstore costs (45% or 50% of cover, I forget) built into my contract. It was stipulated that I couldn't step on the toes or undersell stores or sites but I was able to sell a few myself (a friend wanted 40 copies, for example) and stock up for gifts.

This was a more formal way of doing what notyou above offered clients. This won't help you now, but maybe next time!
posted by maya at 1:52 PM on June 21, 2013

Some of my older books I can pick up for a penny plus shipping on Amazon; others would cost me a three-figure sum. By some convenient quirk it's mostly the now-cheap ones that I want to give to friends.

But yeah, I find that no matter how generous your publisher (and in a couple of cases I was the publisher), you'll be down to your last couple of copies in 5-10 years.
posted by Hogshead at 2:48 PM on June 21, 2013

I have a client who wrote a book about a specific ethnicity in Baltimore. I love this book (even though I am not of that ethnicity I do love Baltimore history so it doesn't matter). She is elderly now and those books that she hoarded are bought, at a premium, by me (I have bought at least 10 of them for my history-geek friends and relatives) and others and I suspect it supplements her retirement income. So yeah.. get a couple of cases but don't give them away. Sell them to interested parties.
posted by brownrd at 4:50 PM on June 21, 2013

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