Selling your Books on the Internet
There are two ways to use your site to sell your books on the Internet.
|• Selling direct to customers
• Linking to an online bookshop
Selling books directly yourself
This is the obvious option if you're a publisher or bookshop as you already have the facilities to deal with orders. It may also appeal if you are are an author with one or more self-published books or a big box of remaindered copies on top of the wardrobe. Offering autographed copies can provide an added incentive for people to buy from you rather than their local bookshop.
To sell on-line from your site, the minimum you'll need is an order form which customers can print out and send to you with a cheque. You'll also need to be organised to deal with orders so you may have to arrange for someone to do this for you if you go on holiday.
Offering the option of paying by credit card increases your chances of customers making a spur of the moment purchase, and it also makes it easier for people from other countries to buy your books. In order to do this, you'll need to arrange for a secure processing service to handle the on-line payments for you. That way you never get to see the credit card numbers yourself so you don't need to put a high level of security on your own computer.
The cheapest way to do this is with Nochex or Paypal. They both take commission on sales but don't charge a monthly or annual fee. We use Nochex ourselves to take payments for www.contactanauthor.co.uk . Alternatively you could try the Worldpay payment system, but you need to expect a good number of sales to justify the monthly fee.
Another way to sell directly is via the Amazon Marketplace system which takes all the orders and payments for you in return for commission on all resulting sales. It's well worth considering as it enables you to advertise your books to the huge number of people who use amazon. You can find out more about it in the 'help' section of amazon.co.uk.
Linking to an online bookshop
This involves linking each book to the appropriate page in the bookshop. Anyone wishing to buy a book purchases it directly from the bookshop so you don't have to deal with orders, payments or returns.
Most on-line bookshops run an associate scheme for site owners wishing to link in this way which entitles them to earn commission on sales. The commission rates vary but are generally around 5%. This sounds good but don't expect to make your fortune as sales are likely to be low. Although consumers are becoming more confident about buying on-line, many still prefer to use ordinary bookshops. Our local Waterstones reports many customers placing orders for books they have discovered on the web.
We are Amazon.co.uk associates and find their scheme works well. They are pleasant to work with and inspire confidence with customers. It costs nothing to become an associate so it's well worth considering. Linking books to the site is relatively simple and we do it for you if we build your site. It's important to check these links regularly as books go out of print without warning and new editions have new ISBNs.