I mentioned back in this post that I was a vendor with the Drama Book Shop which is one of the largest and most influential theatre bookstores in the world. That means they physically stock some of my plays in their awesome store. This questions asks for some clarification on that:
The Drama Book Shop (which absolutely freaking rules, BTW) automatically lists POD books (even ones completely unrelated to plays) on its website as many stores do. (Why stores do list POD books as being in stock when they haven’t actually ordered a copy?) When I mentioned being a vendor with the Drama Book Shop, that’s unrelated to those web listings which are automatic and relate only to the website.
I just checked the Drama Book Shop’s site and two of my plays (the ones from Amazon) are listed on there. Guess they just picked them up from Amazon, huh? (I didn’t approach them to put them up there…)
To become a vendor with them, I contacted them through my company back in 2003-ish when my first play was taking off, pitched them the title and its sales figures and offered them some copies to sell on consignment in store. (Consignment means they’ll only pay you for the copies if they sell.) They were interested and I became a vendor with them. Assuming they are interested in your play (and even though I have had a few consistent sellers for them and a good vendor record, they still don’t automatically take all of mine, I have to pitch them each time), you’ll need to handle the orders, invoices, and agree to their terms (usually they get the copies on consignment for 50% off retail). Then they’ll stock the title and notify you if they want more with a new purchase order.
This same process applies to any physical bookstore including chains like Barnes and Noble (who I’ve also gotten to stock my self-published plays in the past). While, in theory, bookstores can order POD copies through the distributor, I have never met one yet who hasn’t preferred going through the author/publisher directly because we can offer discounts, consignment terms and return policies out of our pocket that the distributors can’t for POD books.
Being a vendor to bookstores can be a pain, but it’s well worth the extra trouble if you can get them to agree to stock your title. While The Love of Three Oranges had a bunch of sales and productions before The Drama Book Shop started stocking it, enough people who later produced it told me they first found it there that I know having their shelf space made a huge difference in making it as successful as it was.