Book Sales and Live Literature

  • Book sales are important to authors; book sales and events are how authors make a living 
  • Please consider selling the author’s books at the event if you can
  • If it is not appropriate to sell books in your venue, or to your audience, please let the author know in advance
  • Getting a book signed can be a memorable chance to meet an author and ask them a question

The author might have a fact sheet or information prepared about how you can sell their books. If you would like to sell books at the event, ask their advice on the best way to arrange it.

Ordering through a publisher

If your organisation is able to order books to sell at the event, ask your author for details of their publisher. You can buy books on sale or return for events through the publisher and return any unsold and undamaged copies to them for a refund. You will usually get a discount on the sale price when ordering directly from the publisher. This tends to be a 35% discount but do clarify this in advance with the publisher.


Your local bookshop

If your organisation is unable to buy and sell books, you could contact your local bookshop: they may be happy to organise bookselling for you at the event. Check in advance if they will send staff to run this, or if their staff will need help.


Ask the author

Most authors will be willing to bring books with them to sell at the event if you are not able to organise book sales. They may also be willing to handle sales, but do consider having someone to help them so they can sign books for people and talk to the audience more easily.


Settings where book sales are not appropriate

E.g. hospitals, events with vulnerable people or very young children. Most authors will understand this, if you explain why this is the case in advance – the important thing is to include it in your discussion with the author. You could suggest that they give out flyers with their website on to encourage people to buy the books after the event, if you feel this is appropriate. If possible, you may want to purchase some copies for your library so attendees can still access the author's work.


Top tips for book sales

  • Do make sure you have enough change for cash sales
  • If you are worried about running out of change, sell the books at a round price, not at £X.95 or £X.99
  • Let the author know you’ll be selling books and make sure time to sign books for people is worked into your timetable
  • If you are selling books at a school event, it might be helpful to remind pupils that they will have a chance to buy a book if they would like to, in case they need to bring in money from home or ask in advance. You could also take orders and payment for books in advance.


Image: Bookshop by Kristin Klein, courtesy Flickr Creative Commons, attribution 2.0