How to Sell More of Your Children’s Books with Consignment (And Why It’s Important)

Writing and publishing a children’s book is a rewarding experience — especially once you see it in the hands of your young readers. Your book can bring a kid’s imagination to life, teach them meaningful lessons, and even inspire them to take action about a cause they care about!

And while you should certainly celebrate this accomplishment, it’s important to make sure you’re getting your books into the hands of as many readers as possible. 

It’s likely that as a children’s book author, you dream of seeing your book grace the shelves of your favorite bookstore. That’s where selling your self-published book on consignment comes in!

Consignment is a popular choice for many self-publishing authors because it allows you the flexibility to choose which stores you want to sell your book at, and with a fairly low financial risk. Some retailers might be hesitant to order large quantities of your children’s book, but consignment allows you to sell smaller quantities while becoming your own distributor. 

Here’s everything you need to know to sell your self-published children’s book on consignment so you can reach more readers and make more sales.

What is Consignment?

Every book you see in brick-and-mortar stores either comes from a large publishing distributor or from local authors selling their books on consignment. 

When a bookstore agrees to carry your children’s book (more on that process below), you cut out the middle man, big warehouses, and even some shipping costs if you drop them off to the store yourself. 

Consignment books are sold just like any other book in the store, right at the register and directly into the hands of your excited reader. 

Pro tip: Ask the bookstore or library if they have “Signed By The Author” stickers (or bring your own) and add them to the cover of your book. This is an easy way to catch their eye right away. 

How Does Consignment Work?

Before you enjoy seeing your children’s book on the shelves of your favorite bookstore, you’ll need to organize a few things first. 

1. Set the Market Price of the Book 

Some authors like to print the price of their books on the back cover, but that’s not always necessary. In fact, it can be even better if you haven’t added it — that’s where the bookstore can add a price sticker.

2. Negotiate a Deal

Next, you’ll need to negotiate with the bookstore how much they’ll keep of the book sale. The standard is 40% for the retailer leaving 60% of sales for you, but don’t be afraid to ask for more if the situation calls for it. 

For example, if you want to plan a small book event for the bookstore to launch your children’s book, you might ask for a little more of a cut to accommodate your planning, marketing efforts, and ensuring the store has a great event. 

Ideally, you’ll be able to make around a 20% profit margin, which can help offset the printing of your book, shipping, handling, and any other fees your encounter while getting your books into stores. 

3. Check Your Inventory

It’s important to keep checking in with the stores you place your book in. Visit often or make a habit of contacting the shop to check in on how many books have sold. 

Are you running low on your inventory? PufferPrint has your back! Email us today at or grab a new quote from us here and we can get your new order in the queue ASAP.

What Are the Benefits of Selling Self-Published Children’s Books on Consignment?

One of the more obvious advantages of consignment is that your children’s book can appear on the shelves of your favorite bookstores. But that’s not the only reason to sell your book on consignment. 

Take a look at the bookstores near you — do they have an established children’s book section? How about a “Staff Pick” or “Local Author” area or a coveted window spot that attracts readers from the street? These added bookstore elements can give you more exposure and help you stand out in the store from other new arrivals. 

You should also make a list of popular bookstores or your “dream stores” for consignment. Check out their online presence (including different social media platforms) and walk around the store for inspiration. Remember — you always get back what you put into your self-publishing journey, so keep scheming up ways to sell more books in your favorite stores!

Once you build a relationship with a shop, feel free to ask about ways to improve the visibility of your children’s book once you drop off your books. They might take you up on an author Q&A or reading if your books are selling well which is yet another opportunity to promote your children’s book. 

Are There Any Drawbacks to Selling Your Children’s Book on Consignment? 

Like anything else in your self-publishing journey, you’ll need to consider the cons of consignment alongside the pros when selling your books. 

The financial risk of selling your children’s books on consignment is low. If your books don’t sell, the store will simply ask you to come pick them up. The store may determine a set time period to sell your books, and if they don’t sell you can easily take them to another location. 

There will be a commitment on your end to keep records of how many books are selling at each location and to check back in with stores frequently. You can determine how many bookstores to approach based on your schedule and bandwidth — just remember not to burn yourself out! 

Some more popular stores may also have a more formal process for selling on consignment. Consider that it might take more time, a few forms to fill out, and an invoicing process to work with certain stores.

Make the Most of Your Self-Publishing Book Tour

Selling your children’s book on consignment to your favorite bookstores and shops can be a fun and effective way to sell more copies of your book. 

With a little work, your children’s book can grace the shelves of plenty of brick-and-mortar stores while building momentum for your writing career. 

But while you build that momentum, don’t forget about your email list. Not only is this a tried and true marketing tactic, but it will also ensure that your readers stay in the loop about your upcoming work and writing projects. Your readers (current and future) want to know where your books are! 

Keep your fans updated with an email list that builds reader trust and makes sales >

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