Frequently Asked Questions: Consignments


Questions about retail pricing
Questions about selling online
Questions about selling in local bookstores
Questions about your role as consignor
Questions about other services like fulfillment and storage

Retail Pricing

Who decides my retail price?
You do! Your author liaison will make suggestions about what will be profitable, but ultimately it is up to you. You choose if you want to make a minimum / higher profit or are comfortable taking a loss and we will recommend prices accordingly.

How is my suggested retail price calculated?
TBM makes retail pricing recommendations based on your per book print cost (not your overall project cost). We aim for authors to make around $1 in profit above what they paid to print the book being sold.

Will my book be sold for the same price everywhere?
That is up to you. Different retail environments can have different consignment rates, and any books you sell directly to a reader will not be subject to these rates. Let’s use a book that costs $10 to print, and a desired profit of $1 to compare:

  • Direct to customer price: $11
  • 40/60 bookstore price: $18.95 (bookstore keeps 40% or $7.58 — you get $11.37)
  • 50/50 online price: $22 (online retailer keeps 50% or $11 — you get $11)

Some authors choose to charge the highest price everywhere, make a larger profit some places, and maybe offer a discount for in-person sales. Others choose the lowest profitable price for each venue to keep the cost to the customer down. Some authors are not looking to make a profit and price their book accordingly. It’s all up to what works for you.

It sounds like I won’t make all my money back, is that right?
Most self-published authors do not make all their money back during their initial printing (though it may be possible on large orders) as there are one-time set-up costs to cover. It is in the subsequent printings where most folks start to make their money back.
For example, if your initial project cost was $1000, including 50 books, and you wanted to make all your money back through bookstore sales, you would need to charge $35+ per book. This is likely to be a much higher retail price than comparable books, causing you to make less sales.

Who collects sales tax?
If you are consigning books with local stores or with TBM online, you do not need to worry about sales tax. It will be collected and paid by the retail establishment. If you choose to sell books directly to customers (in person or through your own webstore), we recommend checking with an accountant to go over how and when to collect sales tax.

Online Sales Through The Troy Book Makers

Does TBM offer online sales services?
We sure do! We are happy to take on inventory of our authors’ books to sell on their behalf online. Authors are also welcome to list their book on their own website, or make their own listing; they are responsible for fulfilling these sales.

Where can TBM make my book available online?
The Troy Book Makers can list your title(s) on our online store,, and on If you have your own website but do not want to fulfill sales you are welcome to link to!

What does it cost to list my book online?
Listings on are free. listings have a one-time $100 listing fee. This fee is waived for authors ordering 250+ books for their first printing, and authors who have already listed five titles on Amazon through TBM.

How much will I make on each sale?
The consignment rate is a 50/50 split of the retail price. Your author liaison will help you determine a profitable online price. You will receive a consignment form to sign agreeing to this split before the book is made available online.

I notice this consignment split is higher than at the bookstores, why is that?
From our portion of the consignment we pay all the online shop fees, credit card transaction fees, purchase all the shipping materials, and pay the staff maintaining the inventory, packing the orders, and handling any customer service concerns. TBM also takes on the financial burden of replacing any orders lost or damaged in transit.

When will I be paid for my online sales?
We send consignment checks in the early spring (usually February / March) for all books sold the previous year. We can issue checks twice annually for sales exceeding $500, upon author request. Consignment checks come with a letter stating how many copies sold and how many are available in our inventory.

What information do I need to provide for the online listing?
You are not required to provide any information unless your book does not have a description on the back cover or if you’ve submitted print-ready files — we will use your project details to fill out the listing. If you want to provide search terms / keywords to your author liaison please let them know when you submit your consignment paperwork.

Where will my books be kept?
All books are kept in our Troy office for fulfillment. This allows us to monitor the inventory, alert you if we need more copies, and send orders out in a timely manner.

What if you run out of inventory?
We try to keep an eye on the inventory and give advance notice when the inventory gets low to prevent selling out entirely; however, sometimes books will sell out overnight or over the weekend. If this happens we will let you know as soon as we can.

What if I run out of inventory?
We do recommend keeping an eye on your inventory and reordering books before you’ve run out. Reprints take a minimum of 2 weeks (and sometimes much longer depending on the print specifications and time of year). We will not close your online listing but it may say “sold out” or “currently unavailable” until the inventory is replenished.

How can I see how many books I’ve sold online?
Unfortunately there is no way for our authors to independently monitor their online sales. We are happy to provide occasional sales updates, upon request.

Who pays for shipping when my books sell online?
The customer buying the book will pay the shipping.

How is the ship cost determined?
Shipping rates are determined by USPS at time of sale, based on package weight.

Can I offer free / prime shipping?
We do not offer free shipping for online sales, and our products are not eligible for Amazon Prime (this is determined by Amazon).

Can you tell me who bought my book?
For privacy reasons we cannot disclose any online customer information.

If a reader / book club / secret admirer wants to get in touch with me will you give them my contact information?
Unless you give us blanket permission to provide your email address to anyone who inquires we will not give out your contact information. Instead we will ask the interested party if we can provide their contact information to you and you can choose if you want to respond to them.

I published with another company, will you sell those books online for me?
The short answer is no. We may very occasionally make exceptions, on a case by case basis, if there are mitigating circumstances (for instance, if the author’s original publisher has gone out of business).

Consigning at Local Bookstores

What bookstores can TBM help get my book into?
We offer automatic placement at Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza in Albany and Market Block Books in Troy.

What are the terms and conditions associated with my consigning books at Book House / Market Block Books?

  1. These bookstores will take 2 copies to start (additional copies may be requested based on sales).
  2. It is the responsibility of the consignor to check on the inventory and request payment if consigned item(s) have been sold.
  3. These bookstores will stock new titles for a trial period of six months, after which they may ask the author to collect unsold copies.
  4. These bookstores are not responsible for any book(s) and may remove them from inventory without notice if not checked on after one year.

I don’t live locally, what if one of these bookstores runs out of copies?
If we sell your book online you’re welcome to contact us and see if we have enough copies on hand to send some over to the bookstore for you. For information about having TBM store additional inventory of your book in our office click here.

What if I want my book in other stores?
You are welcome to consign your book at any additional shops you’d like.

How much will I make on each sale?
Book House and Market Block Books offer a special 30/70 consignment rate to TBM authors. Most bookstores will offer a 40/60 split, but some may have other policies.

Will I be paid upfront for my books?
Typically, no. Some bookstores will buy the books upfront, usually asking a 40% wholesale discount. More commonly bookstores will work on consignment, and you will not be paid until the books sell.

What if I want to do a book signing / event?
Book signings and other events are a great way to publicize your work! You need not limit yourself to bookstores either: coffee shops, gift shops, craft fairs, and more can be great places to reach a wider audience. It is best for you to set up any events directly with the desired venue.

Your Responsibilities as a Consignor

Checking inventory
It is your responsibility to check the inventory at the local bookstores. We recommend calling any bookstore you have consigned copies with regularly (every few weeks for new titles, and at least quarterly for older titles) to make sure they have sufficient inventory on hand. Mention that you are an author consigning books, and ask if they need more copies.

Book House and Market Block Books will keep titles on the shelf for a trial period of 6 months. They may choose to continue shelving them longer, based on sales. You must contact them to see if your inventory needs to be picked up at the end of six months. If you do not the booksstores retain the right to discard this inventory after one year.

Replenishing inventory
If you consign books online through TBM you are welcome to let us know if Book House or Market Block Books need additional copies. If we have sufficient inventory on hand we can provide copies to those stores. Otherwise it will be up to you to drop off / mail copies to the stores.

For online sales, if we ask for additional inventory it is your responsibility to either set up a time to drop copies off, or to mail us additional copies. We will typically ask for a certain number of copies — due to limited shelf space we ask you do not exceed the requested quantity.

Requesting payment
It is your responsibility to contact the local bookstores for payment.

For online sales payment will be sent in February/March for the prior year’s sales. If you have exceeded $500 in sales between January – June you may request payment in June, and a check will be sent in July.

More Services

What if a store/school/library wants copies of my book?
You are welcome to handle these sales yourself, or to direct the interested party to contact TBM. We are happy to handle Purchase Orders or Wholesale Orders from other shops or institutions. The consignment split is 50/50, as with online orders, but all wholesale discounts come out of TBM’s portion of the consignment (example: a bookstore might ask for a 40% wholesale discount on the retail price, the author gets 50%, and TBM gets 10% after discounting the retail price for the bookstore).

I want to send out a lot of books for review purposes / gifts / kickstarter rewards. Can TBM help with fulfillment?
Yes, we can! Your author liaison can work up an estimated cost based on the specs of the book, number of orders, and estimated time needed to pack and ship them.

I am ordering a lot of books (or not that many but I’m short on space)! Can TBM store them for me?
Yes, TBM offers both on-site storage (space limitations may apply) as well as off-site bindery storage for large orders. Discuss your storage needs with your author liaison for more details.