The fantasy continues
While we were in Florence I also canvassed book stores to see if they would be interested in selling Fantasy in Florence. I took with me a small number of sample copies and contacted three bookstores. After several meetings in each instance, I found that all three stores (BM Bookshop, Anglo-American and Edison) were keen to carry the book. The first two are English-language stores, the third is an Italian language store in Piazza della Repubblica with a large English-language section. If I’d had 75-100 books with me, I could have distributed all of them immediately because each store was willing to take 25-30 books.
In the course of my meetings I learned a great deal about the Italian book selling system. While the stores were willing to accept for sale books that had in effect already been imported by me, it would be difficult for me to ship direct from Canada. As in Canada, books are sold in Italy on a consignment basis. Apparently the Italian customs bureaucracy would make it almost impossible for an individual to ship a product that may be returned because of the two-way paperwork involved. In all cases, the booksellers recommended using a U.S. distributor, specifically Baker & Taylor, with Ingram a second choice.
In advance of my trip, I was in contact with Nicoletta Barbarito, a trade official at the Canadian embassy in Rome, about the possibility of finding an Italian distributor. She told me that it would be very difficult for me as an individual to find a national distributor in Italy. Distributors represent publishing houses, not individual authors, under exclusive contracts. It was Ms. Barbarito who suggested canvassing book stores directly. Now that three stores in Florence have shown enthusiasm, I believe that other retailers in Tuscany (e.g. Siena, Lucca, Pisa, Arezzo, Cortona and Montepulciano) might also be interested.
While I am continuing to pursue this possibility, I’m also looking forward to my newest book, now being shipped to bookstores across Canada. It’s called Manulife: How Dominic D’Alessandro built a global giant and fought to save it. I’ll be talking more about this exciting new book in the days ahead, but first, this site will undergo some changes to feature my latest work that has a publication date of May 5.
Meanwhile, Fantasy in Florence will always remain close to our hearts.