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Three Tips for Getting your Book onto Indie Bookstore Shelves

Posted By Amy Cherrix, Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Hey y’all,

You want to write books, but you want to sell them, too. It’s the number one reason authors join SIBA—to get their books into the hands of readers and onto the shelves of independent bookstores. How do you do it?

We are so glad you asked!

In the coming weeks, we’re rolling out byte-sized tips here on Shelf Reliance to help you partner with indie bookstores. We’re starting with the basics:

Here are three things you can do TODAY to start building partnerships with independent bookstores:

1.  Confirm that your book has a real ISBN (International Standard Book Number is the 13-digit number that uniquely identifies books and book-like products published internationally). For more about ISBNs, click here.

2.  Be sure to get your book listed with, the database that most of the larger independent bookstores use on their websites. You can do that here.

Nuts & Bolts: As an individual you can use that link to submit a book and all the relevant data/images/etc. into the Indiebound database. It takes about 48 hours to be reviewed and approved. After that, it takes a little bit longer to populate throughout all of the indie bookstore databases that use IndieBound on their websites. Here’s the key thing to remember: once your book is included with IndieBound, it will appear in a search within those databases with each indie bookstore. Even if those stores do not stock your book, SIBA can still link to it, and people can find the listing to place an order.

3.  Verify that your book is easy to order. That means industry standard terms, and availability at a wholesaler like Ingram, Baker & Taylor, or Bookazine. Alternately, you can have a distribution deal with another publisher that lists with a wholesaler.


At the end of the day, it’s all about distribution and promotion in the real world. A listing on Amazon will only get you in front of INTERNET readers. But if you want to get your books in the hands of real-life browsers in your community bricks and mortar bookstores, avoid publishing under the imprints of competitors like CreateSpace.

Next week's tips will cover what to do once you’ve got your distribution channels in place. In the meantime, it's hot out there, y'all.  You should probably be somewhere cool, enjoying a good book.

Stay Indie Strong,


SIBA Author Liaison



Tags:  Baker & Taylor  Ingram  ISBN  or Bookazine  tips 

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Permalink | Comments (3)

Comments on this post...

Rona Simmons says...
Posted Monday, June 29, 2015
Amy, the link for getting your book on the database just brings the reader back to this page. Am I missing something?
Thanks for this though. Very helpful.
Permalink to this Comment }

Rona Simmons says...
Posted Monday, June 29, 2015
I found the link:
Permalink to this Comment }

Nicki Leone says...
Posted Monday, June 29, 2015
Thanks for pointing out the link error. We've fixed it!
Permalink to this Comment }

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