|Credit card reader for smartphones, from Square.|
You can get one for FREE. Paypal has a similar gadget.
However, sometimes a writer should be involved in the actual selling transaction and exchange physical books for money.
On a 300-page, $18 book sold from a self-publishing company’s website, you’ll probably make 50% ($9).
Expect few sales, because of limited site traffic. When your publisher sells through Amazon.com and other booksellers, you’ll probably collect a measly 10% ($1.80).
I don't want to compete with Amazon and other booksellers, but I do sell a few books each month to readers who want personalized inscriptions. I accept credit cards and Paypal, and ship via Priority Mail. Boxes are free.
There are several ways to reach customers directly. They don’t apply to every book and they probably should not replace Amazon and B&N, but they could be a supplement.
- Sell from your websites and blogs.
- Sell during or after speeches.
- Sell at flea markets.
- Sell to friends, neighbors and business associates.
- Sell at trade shows and conventions.
- Sell at book fairs, craft fairs, festivals or events that tie in with your subject, such as boat shows or auto races.
- Ring doorbells (just kidding).
If you are going to sell, you’d better be prepared to accept credit cards. Some in-person purchasers may pay cash, and you may gamble by accepting checks or a promise for future payment, but most book sales are done with credit cards.
You need a merchant account. You can get one from a bank, warehouse club or merchant service provider. You will probably pay the company between 2% and 5% of each transaction. “Non-swiped” transactions, where you don’t actually see the card, cost extra; and there may be other fees.
For advice on accepting cards and evaluations of service companies, see http://www.100best-merchant-accounts.com/.
It’s also possible to process online sales by accepting payments through PayPal. It may be less expensive than credit cards, but some people don’t like PayPal.
You will need a terminal or PC software. You can get a wireless terminal for use where there is no phone connection from http://www.merchantexpress.com/. The company can even enable you to use a laptop for wireless authorizations.
Square offers a particularly innovative system for processing credit card sales. It’s a small FREE card reader for smartphones (shown up above) combined with credit card processing with fast funds availability and low fees. See http:///www.square.com. Paypal offers a similar gadget.
BAD NEWS: If you sell in-person, you’ll probably have to collect and remit sales tax. It’s an ISPITA (industrial-strength pain in the ass) if you sell in several states.
GOOD NEWS: Many thousands of books reach readers without booksellers. They are distributed—sometimes for free—by entities that want information or opinions circulated. These “special sales” can generate high profits, with no risk of returns.
A book you’ve already written may be perfect for use by an association, corporation, government, charity, foundation, university or a political party. Perhaps a book you’ve written needs just slight changes and perhaps a new title and cover to become perfect. Maybe the information in your book is fine, but the book needs a new point of view or emphasis to let you make a deal.
If you want to pursue the special sales market, get a copy of Brian Jud’s How to Make Real Money Selling Books. It includes a huge number of possible purchasers, pus step-by-step instructions for making a sale.