Our sales department received another call this week from a potential customer saying they couldn’t buy one of our books from the big national retailers here in Australia.
The fact is that we list all our titles in the major databases accessed by retailers. The only reason any retailer wouldn’t order our books is that it is ‘too much hassle’ to order a single unit.
At the end of the day we fulfill the customer’s order in-house, our authors retain almost 100% of the retail price (we’re an author-retained rights publisher) and we earn a royalty. We’re all happy.
Except the customer, who when told the retailer could have ordered the book but chose not too usually seems less than impressed. It’s not difficult to imagine how that customer when next searching for a book might use the internet rather than their local retailer to make the order.
There will be no sympathy from the general book buying public when retailers start going bust, as some will, simply because the retailers do not treat their customers with anywhere near enough respect.
And then there is retailer attitudes toward their suppliers … but that’s for another day.
Update: with the closer of many brick and mortar retailers, the answer is "yes." We pray that the indies survive.