Have you not received a payment for the books you placed on consignment? Your concern may be valid but it should be looked into before drawing conclusions. The first thing you should do is to visit the store in question to take a quick inventory. After all, you have a vested interest in the sale of your books. You can make a call to the vendor, but chances are you won’t be satisfied unless you see the book count for yourself.
Checking inventory should be done fairly regularly to let the vendor see that you are on top of your game. It also helps to let the sales persons see that you are attentive to your books movements. This may help them to push your books for you if you have the right attitude. It can also minimize those few who have sticky fingers from gifting your book to themselves.
Each store has their own policy on this. Before you agree to place your book in the store find out what the terms are. Some merchants pay authors as requested when books are sold. Others pay every two weeks or every quarter.
Why You’re Not Receiving Payment
There are several reasons why you may not be receiving payment for your consigned books. The most common reasons are:
- The book is not selling
- All books of the same title must sell before payment is made
- The book has been placed in storage
- Your contact information is out of date
- They’re waiting for you to ask for payment
- The books walked out of the store (yep, people steal books)
A local merchant doing inventory mentioned that many authors drop off their books never to return to check on the sales. He had a number of sales registered in his system but the telephone numbers and email addresses were outdated. The worse scenario however was several of the authors had died and their next of kin never collected their checks. Authors, he noted, invested their heart and resources into their books but had abandoned them for years at a time. It was difficult for vendors to care about their books if the author showed little to no interest themselves.
Cut Your Losses
On the other hand, there are the odd, unscrupulous vendors who do sell your books, but you just get the run-around when it comes to receiving payments. When you see this trait it is best to cut your losses and move on, rather than dig a deeper ditch. There is a character glitch there that you probably won’t be able to correct.
A Touchy Subject
A bigger question, but perhaps a sensitive one is, “Are you marketing your book?” A pet peeve of most vendors is authors leaving books without marketing them. Vendors see their shelf space as prime real estate. Real estate that many author’s have taken for granted. Most of them will tell you that they will allow you shelf space but its up to you to drive the customers to your books; they won’t. The upside is some vendors will pay for your books if they see them selling on a regular basis. The downside, if you don’t show an interest in moving your books, they won’t and therefore there will be no consignment payments to be had.