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Methods of Cookbook Wholesaling

There are generally two ways to sell books wholesale. The first is on a "consignment" basis where you only get paid when your books sell. The other is on a "resale" basis where the company will purchase your books up front and then sell them to their own customers.

Sometimes with books there is also a hybrid method where the retailer will purchase your books upfront but reserve the right to return them to you if they don't sell. This is the way most major bookstore chains work and many smaller bookstores follow that model.

All three methods have their advantages and disadvantages.

With a resale model, you are guaranteed payment for your books, even if the retailer never resells them. However, you will normally make less money per book with this method. Most resale book are purchased at 50% of list price, leaving the retailer ample room to mark up the books to help cover the costs of any unsold ones.

Consignment books generally bring in the most money, typically 70% to 80% of the list price. But if the retailer can't sell them you will never be paid for them.

The hybrid method generally results in the lowest prices, about 50% to 60% of the list price with the highest risk since if they don't sell they will be returned to you.

This risk of book returns with the hybrid method is something to keep in mind if you try to get in a larger chain. While it might be nice to get a $100,000 order for 10,000 books, if they don't sell you will have to return the money and try to figure out what to do with all of those books. On top of that, the printing costs will usually have to come out of your own pocket, resulting in a lot of risk up front.