Last week, I blogged about how to find out if your book is in-stock at Barnes & Noble bookstores. Click here to read that post.
Today, I have good news that you can also determine if your book is on the shelf at Family Christian Stores, the largest retail chain of Christian books. They have over 300 U.S. stores in over 37 states.
Similar to the Barnes & Nobles online process, go to Family’s website and type in your book’s title in the “Search” box at the top of their webpage. If your book title appears, then click on the link that takes you to that’s book information page. When you get there, you will see a small box on the right that says, “Enter your zip code to find it in a store near you.” Type in a Zip Code, and click on the “Go” button. Then, you’ll see a page that lists stores near you. Under each store location, it will either say, “In-stock” or “Out of stock”.
As mentioned in my previous blog post, these kinds of inventory tracking tools are a great way to find out if your publisher got good distribution for your book. Keep in mind that America is a large place, and Family has over 300 stores. So, if your book is new, then it may take a few months for your title to appear.
If you’d like to check on the in-stock status of your book, I’ve provided a list of Zip Codes from some of the largest CBA markets in the U.S.
Atlanta – 30338
Chicago – 60610
Dallas – 75201
Denver – 80211
Houston – 77024
Nashville – 37234
Orlando – 32805
St. Louis – 63128
Washington D.C. – 22102
What if your book is listed everywhere as “Out of Stock”? First, don’t get mad, and don’t send your publisher a mean email. That won’t solve anything, and there could be many reasons why your book isn’t available. However, make a mental note that you need to kick up your personal author marketing a notch to build more awareness for your book. If you don’t, then your book may have a very short life.
Many authors have resurrected bookstore distribution through their personal marketing efforts. The key question is are you willing to work hard to get your message out (speaking, newsletters, blogging, website improvements, trade shows, etc.) It takes a lot to make a book successful. Bookstore distribution is just part of the battle. Focus on the marketing tactics that you can control. And, let your passion for your book keep you moving forward.