Image shows someone handing two large folders to another person, illustrating the question of whether authors should make their books returnable with IngramSpark.

You published your book, but it isn’t getting much traction. So, you do some research and find out it may help to make your book returnable. Now you’re wondering if you should do it. After all, it’s a simple process that just requires a couple button pushes. So, it’s no big deal, right?

Before you allow vendors to return your IngramSpark book, here are a quick rundown of the pro(s) and con(s).

Pros for Making Your Book Returnable

Obviously, the biggest benefit of making your book returnable is that vendors are more likely to buy it. When more vendors buy your book, that means more people can order your book and get it quickly.

This is a big deal. It may even open the door to physical bookstores buying your book. That’s because when you allow resellers to return your book, you strip all risk away from resellers. They can order as many copies as they want, knowing that if the book doesn’t sell quickly, they can return their copies at no cost.

Get in with enough resellers, and your book can really make some money. You may find your book in local bookstores and even the big chains.

However, this potential benefit comes with some risk.

Cons of Allowing Resellers to Return Your Book

When you make your book returnable, all the risk falls on your shoulders. When the risk bites you, the process looks like this:

  • A bookstore (or online retailer) grabs a dozen copies of your book to sell.
  • The bookstore (or online business) sells five of the twelve copies they purchased.
  • After three months, the reseller decides to clear off their shelves.
  • So, they return the seven unsold books and get their money back for them.
  • You pay back any profit you made on the books that didn’t sell, and you pay applicable shipping and handling as well. (Shipping costs only apply if you ask for the books to be returned to you instead of destroyed. At this moment, the shipping cost is $3 per book in the United States and $20 for overseas authors.)

If someone returns your books, you may wind up losing more money than you made. Don’t think it will happen to you? It may not. However, one Argyle Fox Publishing author decided to make her book returnable. Soon after, she sold a lot of books and was ecstatic. That excitement changed when the buyer returned 200 books, all at the author’s expense. Fortunately, the author had a good attitude and gave away or sold the returned books.

Should You Allow Resellers to Return Your Book?

Ultimately, the decision of whether to make your book returnable is up to you. You may want to give it a try and see how it goes. If it helps sales pick up, leave it as is. On the other hand, if it doesn’t go well, you can always change your title back to being unreturnable.

Don’t have the cash in your bank to pay for a sudden influx of returned books? Don’t allow your books to be sent back. Your book may not land in physical bookstores, but with good marketing, you can sell plenty of copies on Amazon, other online retailers, your own website, or in-person.

Before Making the Decision

People can’t read or return your book until it’s published. If you need help getting your book off your computer and onto bookshelves, we can help. Submit your manuscript today to get started on your publishing journey!