Gulf Coast Bookstore: The First Bookstore For Indie Authors

Interior of Gulf Coast Bookstore

I meant to write this post last month, but my life has been petty insane these days, so this is the first opportunity for me to write something. Well, better late than never.

Gulf Coast Bookstore opened early last month as an independent bookstore dedicated entirely to self-published authors. Based out of Fort Myers, Florida, the store is owned by independent children’s author and illustrator Patti Brassard Jefferson and history author Timothy Jacobs. Their reasoning for opening this store is to give more indie authors a chance. Says Jacobs, “It’s just hard to compete with Stephen King or Dan Brown in a mega-bookstore that has tens of thousands of books for sale”. Hence they opened Gulf Coast when they had the chance.

Gulf Coast has a very interesting business model as well as being currently the only bookstore of its kind at the moment: authors pay a fee of $75 for set-up and three months worth of shelf-space (similar to what they’d have at a booth at a convention or a book-fair for a day) and they do the stocking and restocking. In return, authors get 100% returns on sales and can use the store for book signings, place bookmarks, business cards, or brochures with their titles (10 copies of one title or one copy of ten titles per author), and get featured on the store’s website. This allows Jefferson and Jacobs to run the store without having to hire too many staff or pay very big utilities.

The caveats, of course, are that there can only be a certain number of authors at any time, and that these authors must be from Fort Myers or the surrounding area. Still, it seems to work: there’s a growing list of authors whose books are featured in the store, spanning all genres and types, and it sounds like even as busy season has ended in Florida, people are still coming in to buy books.

Where will Gulf Coast Bookstore go from here? One can only guess, but hopefully it will continue to grow as a business and maybe start off a trend of locally-owned bookstores giving space for indie novelists of all types. I certainly wouldn’t mind that if that happened.

If you would like, you can check out Gulf Coast’s website here, as well as the Publisher’s Weekly article where Gulf Coast was featured.

 

At this time, I would like to make an announcement: as soon as possible, I will be setting up a new page on this blog where stores, conventions, and other resources like Gulf Coast will be listed for your convenience. Ruth has already sent me some possible additions to this page, so I’ll be adding hers with this. Can’t guarantee when this page will go up, I’m currently preparing to move for a new job, but as soon as it’s up, I’ll write a new post with a link to the page. Look forward to it!

12 Comments

  1. What a fantastic idea 🙂 Would it be possible for me to reblog this on my blog at all? Thank you kindly.

    1. We would love it if you reblogged this post. Go ahead and do so if you wish.

      1. Thank you Rami 🙂 I will do so today 🙂

        1. I saw what you wrote. I’m glad you liked it. Thanks for reblogging.

          1. You’re welcome, Rami 🙂

  2. I wondered how the bookstore owners were going to recoup their cost, and the model makes sense. Authors can claim it as a business expense, and the bookstore owner is able to keep it open. It’s a neat idea. I’d be willing to give it a try if something like that came along in my area.

    1. So would I. Though my area is going to change to Germany soon, so it’ll be an adventure just to see what the indie scene is like over there to begin with.

  3. cav12 says:

    What a fantastic idea! May inspire other similar book stores around the globe.

  4. Sounds fab … a really good venture, supporting local authors. I agree with cav above … imagine a store in every city!

    1. We just need authors who have the desire, means, and opportunity to make such an investment. I’m hopeful this might be the start of a trend, so let’s see what happens.

  5. Reblogged this on Willow Andreasson's Journey Into The Mysteries of Life and commented:
    Good afternoon from the sunny county of Surrey. As everyone knows, I am a self-published author (currently working on Books 2 and 3 of ‘A Journey’ series) – I hold the efforts of self-published/ Independent Authors close to my heart. So when this amazing article, shared by Rami Ungar of ‘The Self Published Authors Helping Other Authors’ blog, appeared on my WordPress Reader a week ago… I just knew that I wanted to share this with you.
    A beautiful and simple business model, The Gulf Coast Bookstore – the brainchild actualised by Patti Brassard Jefferson and Timothy Jacobs – offers Independent Authors a chance to promote their works inexpensively. A marvellous idea – one that I hope reaches out from beyond Fort Myers across the World 🙂

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