How to/Advice mentor on getting my print book on the Barnes and Noble store shelves

I'm looking for advice/experience from Lulu authors about getting my hard copy books on the shelves in Barnes and Noble stores.  I have the B&N forms, but in filling them out I have questions.  Do they order from Lulu once it is approved or do I have to do the fulfillment?  It also says they generally look for a 50% of retail price.  Is this real?  Anyone been thru this process?


  • I have no direct experience in working with B&N, but I would think that they would deal with you as they would any other publisher (which is what you are). In that case, it is up to you to provide the books, just as it would be up to, say, Simon & Schuster to fulfill an order with books from their warehouse. (Any more experienced Luluers please correct me.) And, yes, 50% of the retail price is usual. This is no problem with commercial publishers since the unit cost per traditionally printed book is so very low.
    Black Cat Studios
  • When a book has an ISBN the trade buyers from any store are able to find it listed, and then procure it to stock, if they wish to. With that ISBN your books will be placed on the Barnes and Noble's website, anyway (and many more) and people can buy it from there, and even use Click & Collect to obtain it. (Order on line, pick up in local store.) It's not as if B&N will not know your books exist because they end up on their website simply by adding a Lulu ISBN.

    Does it make much difference if hardcopies are not actually stocked on real shelves?

    There's also the problem with the base Cost of POD. It's far far higher than with mass-printed books. Add to that what you want to earn, add to that B&N's 50% (and possibly + taxes too.) That can put any bricks & mortar retailers off stocking them. Shelf space costs them money so they want a fast turnaround from it.

    A further potential problem is that even if you have a number of books printed for some retail bookshop to stock, they will expect Sale or Return.

  • SeamusSeamus Creator
    edited December 2018
    Crazy! I was just working on that form last night.. I was thinking Ingram might be the distributor book stores like to deal with.
    Tim Reinholt Author of Pow, a ski bum heist adventure
  • As a self published author you basically need to forget about getting your books into bricks and mortar stores and concentrate on internet sales. Traditional publishers operate on a sale or return basis, i.e. they carry the financial risk until the point the book is sold. If they print 50 000 copies and only 100 sell, someone will be making a swift exit out of the building. Lulu is not a publisher; it just facilitates the printing and distribution of your book so, if you want to have your books in physical bookstores, you - as the publisher - have to carry the financial risk.
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