It’s no secret that bookstores as that magnificent sanctuary of books and people of the book are permuting. The new and soon to your neighborhood ‘bookstore’ will be a ‘books-plus’ or an ‘anything plus books’ emporium.
This is shift means that the anomalous venue because the normative one, as this article explains in greater detail.
One of the most commonly asked questions authors pose when they read their first book contract is, “What are special sales?”
The simple answer is that they are sales outside of “regular trade channels” – that is, bookstores. An example might be a fly-fishing book sold in an outdoor clothing store or a baby-naming book sold near the checkout counter of a maternity shop.
The phrase is buried in a tedious list of royalty rates applicable to marginal retail outlets. The royalty is expressed as a function of the publisher’s net receipts – as opposed to the list-price royalty paid by most trade publishers for bookstore sales. A net royalty always tells you that the cost of generating sales is higher than that for regular trade channels. In the case of special sales, those gift shops and stationery and maternity stores insist that the books they order from the publisher are not returnable. That means that publisher must slash its discount, leaving little by way of profit margin.
Practice Tip: when reviewing the publishing agreement, keep your coverage of the ‘special sales’ clear and transparent for the revenue from those non-book markets where your books are going to sell.