Well, apparently Christmas has put a hitch into the Indigo roll-out schedule. Since bookstores, like all retailers, are drowning at this time of year in orders and sales, iUniverse is holding off submitting fall-release Publisher’s Choice titles to the Chapters Indigo buyer until after the madness ends. In my case, January. That means my book probably won’t appear in the designated Indigo store until March. Sigh.
Meanwhile, to fill in that wait, local bookstores are supposed to order Lifeliner for you upon request. The operative word here is “supposed.”
One person I know called several Indigo or Chapters stores about ordering a copy of Lifeliner, and to a one, they all said order it online. This replicated the experiences of several others who’d tried to request it through their local bookstore. Now yes, my book is self-published and yes, it’s POD, which means the bookstore cannot return it once ordered, but it is also available through their wholesaler, just like any traditionally published book. And if someone requests a copy, especially at this early stage in the book’s release, they’re not likely to leave it at the counter. But bookstores are used to being able to return their merchandise and are hesitant to order nonreturnable books. They like the comfort of being able to return books that do not sell; but nonreturnable books serve an author well because each sale (to a bookstore) is final and each sale generates a royalty that won’t be reversed down the road, which can happen to authors with traditional publishers.
In the end, the decision to order a book upon request or not comes down to the bookstore manager. I’d heard that Americans had different experiences with different Barnes & Noble stores — the equivalent to Chapters Indigo in the States — depending on the manager. Some managers welcome iUniverse authors and will happily order their books for customers upon request, whereas others are not too pleased to see them. Here in Canada, the same holds true. Whether or not a Chapters or Indigo store will order Lifeliner for you is up to each manager; to compound the problem, the managers won’t even know that my book will appear in an Indigo store as my title has not yet been submitted to the chain’s buyer.
So my best advice at this point is that if you or someone you know would like to buy a copy of Lifeliner, go with your favourite online bookstore and click on its link in the right sidebar.