Friday, March 16, 2007

I don't know

Over the past couple of weeks, so many people have asked me how Deliver Me is doing in terms of sales. I should know. After all, it is my book.

Well, guess what? I don't know. I just don't know.

I, too, had the misconception that book sales were easily calculated. They're able to tell how well a movie has done over a three-day weekend. Why not the same with books, right? This is what I've learned over the past few months. Unlike movies, where calculations come from a single entity--movie theaters, book are sold EVERYWHERE and numbers are pulled from tons of places.

Let's see...since I only have a few minutes before I get to leave the workplace for the weekend (woo hoo!), I'll try to give a quick rundown of all the different places that must be taken into account when book sales are calculated.

First, you have Ingrams, which is one of the largest distributors for indie bookstores, aka your cute little mom and pop bookstores with friendly people who actually take the time to learn their customers' likes and dislikes. However, I've heard that Ingrams only accounts for about 5-10% of overall sales.

Secondly, you have your big online sellers like Amazon and B&, plus a plethora of other online bookstores. That's another piece of the pie.

Then, we go to the big brick and mortar stores like Barnes & Noble, Borders, Books-A-Million, and the rest of the crew.

Lastly, for the lucky ones (myself included) you add in the big gun, Wal-Mart. And for the even luckier ones - myself not included - Target and grocery stores (although Deliver Me was spotted in a grocery in D.C.). Wal-Mart accounts for as much as 1/3rd of all books sold.

But, you see the problem here, right? There are just so many different factors one must consider when trying to figure out how book sales are going. And, unless you make it onto a best-seller list, you're pretty much blind to it all.

So, if you happen to see me on the street, or floating around online, and ask about book sales, don't be surprised when I say I just don't know.