Why is it so important to buy books at events?

This post is all personal opinion that I have gained from attending events in the past.

It should be of no surprise that I like attending author events. I have traveled for events in the past but I like it best when an event is local. I know I am fortunate enough to live in a big city, which helps but I have learned something else that helps: book sales at an event.

Before I started working at a bookstore or even blogging, I attended book events. I remember standing in line at my first Comic-Con (and really my first book event ever) and over-hearing someone talking about how they waited to purchase their book until the convention. This struck me as odd because the book was out for a couple months. I eavesdropped some more and heard the author thank this person because numbers really mattered in determining if they would return the following year. That stuck with me. If there was an author I was excited to see, and would like to see return in the future, I should prove to someone that I wanted them here. The simplest way to do this? Buy the book.

The publishing industry is all about numbers. One of the more important numbers is how many copies of a book are sold. If an author is selling a lot of books, the publisher is more than likely going to publish more books from said author. One form of marketing done by publishing houses is sending authors on a book tour. This can include bookstores and libraries or even festivals and conventions. There are also times where the author will foot the bill themselves. So these tours and events cost money (whether is be the author or the publisher) and in order for the tour to be deemed successful (in the monetary sense) the person dishing out the money wants to see that a certain number of books sold. The easiest way to determine that? Look at the number of copies sold at the event.

Say one tour stop only had 5 books purchased and another had 25 books purchased. I swear this isn’t a math problem! If someone is just looking at these numbers (say the publisher), then the one where 25 books were sold is going to be deemed more successful. The time has come where the publisher wants to have another tour, whether it be the same author or an author in a similar genre. One of the things they are going to look at in determining locations is where tours and events have been successful for their authors in the past.

I have always been pro buying books at an event but I know some people didn’t know the reasoning behind it. If I was going to an event in the past, whether a single author or a panel of authors, I would always buy at least 1 book from the hosting bookstore. It can be easy to see the prices on Amazon and make the decision to purchase books there but it can end up not benefiting you in the end if you want to see that author on tour again.

One last thing: book sales can and do get tracked by region by both publisher and author. I have had an author tell me that the reason their book tour included a stop in the Chicago area is because it is one of their biggest markets. Just something to think about!

**This post is my opinion and in no way is reflective of my employer**

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3 thoughts on “Why is it so important to buy books at events?

  1. Tamara @ Tamaraniac says:

    I so agree with all of this! As someone who goes to events at a bookstore often, the books selling at the event is so important for the author, published, AND bookstore. That’s why I’ve found that many bookstores require you to buy a book if you’re going to have a signing ticket. I also think that if it’s an event far away and you can’t buy the book from the store/event right when it’s released, maybe you can buy a different book by the author or another copy of the same book.

  2. Kristin says:

    I completely agree with this! Sometimes if I *really* can’t wait, I’ll purchase the book beforehand and with the intention of giving the unsigned copy to a friend and I’ll get a new copy at the event. There are also some stores that will require you to buy at least one book (it can be any book) in order to get yours signed so I’m not sure how that factors in since you’d still be spending money to say you want that author there. Sometimes I’ll do that and buy a earlier title of theirs I might not have read.

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