Wal Mart, Friend to Authors

Why Writers Should Love WalMart Stores

A publishing professional discusses the many advantages and a few risks for writers and publishers whose material is sold through Wal-Mart stores.

While many people love to hate the widely popular variety stores, Wal-Mart or WalMart, Super Wal-Mart and even their cousins, Sam’s Club stores, are all writers’ friends.

Consider this:

Wal-Mart is good for communities

* Wal-Marts are found everywhere, including small towns in sparsely populated rural areas, where the store provides goods not otherwise available without a lengthy drive.

* Wal-Marts provide jobs and thus income to people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to get employment of any kind, including seniors and the handicapped and the company gives second chances to people who are ready to start over.

* Wal-Marts provide a large influx of money through payrolls and local taxes plus they support local charities.

* Wal-Marts stock books and magazines, displaying them together in a reading area as well as impulse buy locations. This promotes reading, a good thing for any community.

Wal-Mart is good for writers

* Many millions of Wal-Mart customers have the opportunity to purchase your writing in their strong book and magazine section. Millions of Wal-Mart employees and their families are also customers; they might spend some of their earnings on your published writing.

* A high percentage of Wal-Mart customers do not regularly visit bookstores, so they are an otherwise untapped market for your work.

* In a small community, Wal-Mart may be the only store that sells print reading material. This convenience creates sales that otherwise would have been lost.

* The availability of print material encourages reading, which can only help writers keep their markets viable.

* If your work published in a book or magazine is chosen for their shelves, your name will be visible to millions, thus enhancing your platform.

Wal-Mart is good for publishers

The number of bricks and mortar bookstores are dwindling, whereas the number of Wal-Mart stores keeps increasing, making Wal-Marts important for publishers.

Exposure to many millions of customers can result in large quantities of book and magazine sales.

The downside for publishers

Wal-Mart has a liberal return policy that vendors must honor. Publishers must agree to accept returns and give a full refund. If Wal-Mart orders stock for their store chain that does not go on to sell well, the publisher could be left with a large amount of inventory and few places to resell it. This could result in the publisher losing a great deal of money, their cost of printing and shipping both ways.

The benefits for publishers and writers

If the book or magazine does well, there is a profit to be made due to the sheer quantity of sales.

The head buyer for Wal-Mart is a conscientious person who knows what Wal-Mart customers are likely to want, so being accepted by Wal-Mart is usually very good news for publishers and authors.

Copyright 2007 by Barbara Doyen. All rights reserved.

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