IndieReader In-Store (22)

What is IndieReader In-Store?

IndieReader In-Store (IRIS) is IR’s publishing, book marketing and distribution service. Not just another listing, IRIS works with Edelweiss, an online interactive database used by a majority of independent bookstores (plus B&N), combining the selling power of brick-and-mortar bookstores with the vast community of self-published authors.

IRIS provides an easy, cost-effective, and efficient way for booksellers to stock and sell branded, self-published books and for indie authors to get onto the shelves of indie bookstores. Books distributed by IRIS (via Ingram Wholesale) will carry the trusted IndieReader imprint, differentiating them from the millions of other indie books on the market.

What’s the difference between a “branded” indie book and one that’s not?

What’s the difference between a coffee and a vente Frappaccino from Starbucks? Or a tablet and an iPad? The difference is that one is just a “thing” and the other has a specific identity as part of a recognizable brand. Indie books—for better or worse—are out there on their own: no publisher, no reviews, no way for booksellers and buyers to tell them apart. IndieReader solves this problem by creating an imprint and resource where booksellers can go to get more info on self-pubbed titles (reviews, ratings, etc.) so that, for the first time, they can offer readers a choice of indie books.

What is Edelweiss and how will it help me get my indie book into stores?

Edelweiss is an online, interactive, cross-publisher catalog service that supplements or replaces traditional hard-copy publisher catalogs. It also acts as an interactive research tool for librarians, bloggers, and reviewers, creating a one-stop source, thus simplifying the ordering process.

Edelweiss is also a social media networking site that allows buyers to share book information and favorites AND to request Digital Review Copies (DRCs) from authors (a la NetGalley).

Part of Edelweiss’s appeal is its ability to present comprehensive and up-to-date information about each title in the catalog—including bestsellers, award winners, reviews, and information like where the author is based—especially important for indie titles. The more booksellers know about your book, the more likely they’ll be to want to carry it in their store.

So how will that work with IndieReader?

Edelweiss has agreed to let IndieReader, via a new program we’re calling IndieReader In-Store (IRIS), include your books in their catalog. Basically, IR will act as your book’s publisher and distributor. Titles are posted with any editorial reviews—along with the book’s genre and author’s proximity to their stores—so that bookstores can decide which books they want to stock.


What about terms/trade discounts?

For bookstores to stock and sell an Indie book they must have standard terms: the book must be returnable and have a 55% discount.

Most Indie books are POD books and the cost of printing on demand puts considerable pressure on the retail price. See Can you give me some Print Cost and Discount examples. This usually comes as a shock to authors used to selling through CreateSpace or Lulu, for example, where the discount is only 25%. You may have to adjust your expectations of income when you put a POD book out in bookstores at standard terms.

So, how much does it cost to get my book in front of all those booksellers + librarians for possible sale?

The cost of listing via IndieReader In-Store is $199* per year.  The renewal fee is $35.

* Assuming that your title is available via Ingram Wholesale or equivalent major distributor at 55% discount and marked returnable. If your book is not currently with such a distributor, or not returnable, or not at 55% discount, we can help you get it there.

Why can’t indie authors do this on their own?

Edelweiss is set up for publishing companies and even if they did allow individual authors, their annual fee for inclusion would discourage smaller publishing companies, or even authors with multiple titles. And membership to the ABA is not open to authors. – See more at:

So let’s say my title is available via the Edelweiss database. Don’t booksellers still need to want to carry them?

Most definitely. But the creation of IRIS was precipitated by the co-owner of an independent bookstore who wanted to know how IR could make it easier to carry indies and find local authors. We have since spoken to other indie booksellers across the country who are feeling the same way (backed up by recent articles in the Christian Science Monitor and Publisher’s Weekly that note increasing interest from indie bookstores in self-pubbed titles).

IndieReader has also signed up as a Partnership Publisher with the American Book Association (ABA), giving us the opportunity to participate in direct outreach to ABA member stores’ decision-makers. When you sign up with IRIS, your book’s title and information will be included on a sell sheet in a Red Box Mailing, which is an in-store marketing action kit currently sent to 1,100 ABA member stores.

Basically, IR will act as your book’s publisher and distributor. Titles are posted with their IR reviews—along with the book’s genre and author’s proximity to their stores—so that bookstores can make informed decisions about which books they want to stock.

The truth is some indie authors now have hundreds of thousands of readers. Indie bookstores are always on the lookout for new revenue sources and something that will differentiate them from the big-box stores which don’t (yet) carry indie titles.

How much administrative work will be involved with listing a title/catalog?

Lots, but that will be taken care of by IndieReader.

Are only new titles listed?

Nope. All titles that are available via Ingram Wholesale, or other major distributors, will be able to be listed.

Can you give me some Print Cost and Discount examples?

Here are three examples for a paperback, retailing at $12.95, with different page counts: For a 208 page book, the Print Cost to the distribution chain is $3.60. (When the author orders the book it costs $4.02.) The Wholesale Price is $5.83 (the price Ingram pays to buy it from the printer: Retail Price times 45%.)

The author gets $2.23 revenue/per book (Wholesale Price minus the Print Cost). For this example, you would have to sell 179 copies of your book to make back your $399 fee to be in the IRIS program (keep in mind that your title will be getting seen by over 37,000 book industry professionals, including retailers, reviewers, librarians, and publishers).

For a 280 page book, the Wholesale Price is $5.83, the Print Cost to the distribution chain is $4.54. (Author’s cost is $5.10.) The author can expect $1.29 per book sold. This is slightly over 10% royalty.

For a 480 page book, the Wholesale Price is $5.83, the Print Cost to the distribution chain is $7.14. (Author’s cost is $8.10.) The author can expect minus $1.31 per book sold.  Yes, you would lose money per sale.  A 480 page POD paperback with standard terms has to sell for at least $20.39 to earn 10% in royalties. This usually comes as a shock to authors used to selling through CreateSpace or Lulu, for example, where the discount is only 25%.

You may have to adjust your retail price when you put a POD book out in bookstores at standard terms.

My book is published via CreateSpace and I’m not sure they accept returns or offer the correct discount. Can I still set it up in the IRIS program?

At this time CreateSpace does not accept returns, which most booksellers require. They also don’t have the industry standard discount (40-55%). But don’t despair.

In some cases, Ingram Spark (the printer that IRIS uses) can re-publish a title from CreateSpace, as long as the ISBN is owned by the author.  However, if you aren’t in possession of your files, or you require a change in cover or formatting, IR Publishing Services can take care of that via our IndieRescue service for a small additional fee.

What if my book is in CreateSpace’s Expanded Distribution?

Having your book enrolled in CreateSpace’s Expanded Distribution is not a detriment to enrolling your book in IRIS, as CSED is no longer exclusive.  The larger issue is that CS doesn’t allow you, the author, to set the terms under which a brick and mortar bookseller can order your book.

To do that you’ll need to re-publish your book with a company like Ingram Spark (the printer that IRIS uses), which can transfer most titles over from CreateSpace, as long as you, the author, owns the ISBN. 

However, if you aren’t in possession of your files, or you require a change in cover or formatting, IR Publishing Services can take care of that via our IndieRescue service for a small additional fee.


What exactly is involved in the return process with the bookseller? Who pays for what?

The bookstore buys your books from Ingram and then Ingram buys them from the POD printer. Using the first example in Can you give me some Print Cost and Discount examples? above, Ingram buys the book from the printer for $5.83, and the printer keeps $3.60 as the print cost, and the royalty is $2.23.

If Ingram returns the book to the printer, YOU pay back the $5.83. If the book is destroyed, that’s the end of it. If you prefer the book be returned to you, there is an extra $2.00 charged on top of the $5.83, and you get to keep the book.

We suggest that authors put their royalties into an escrow account until after the 90 day return period.

Whose ISBN would we use?

As long as you own your ISBN number, you can use the one you currently have. If your book was published as a CreateSpace imprint—or if you selected CS’s extended distribution—you will need to purchase a new one as the ones supplied by CS are not valid outside of Amazon. If, however, you purchased a universal ISBN through CreateSpace, you may use that number.

If you do not own an ISBN, you can purchase one at a discount directly from IndieReader for $99/per or from Bowker for $125/per (you can find more information about ISBNs here )

How can I set my book to Standard Terms?

Option One. Reissue your book with IngramSpark.

You can create an account at IngramSpark, which will let you manage the book and receive the royalties directly. You have the choice of using a new ISBN or keeping the same one (See above). We can supply a new ISBN if you want a new one.

You can make ISBN changes to your book yourself, (changing the barcode on the back cover and the ISBN on the copyright page). If you do not wish to make the changes yourself, you can send us the interior and cover files and we will make the changes for you. A new ISBN and the work of making the changes will incur additional charges ($99 for the ISBN and $175 for the changes). Spark books are automatically returnable/55%.

Option Two. IndieReader Publishing Services reissues your book through Ingram Lightning Source.

In this case, IndieReader manages the book and sends you royalties.

We will set the correct return and discount terms. Again, we can supply an ISBN if you wish. You’ll need to send us the interior and cover files. The cost for this option is $250, plus $99 if you buy an ISBN.

Does IRIS guarantee that bookstores will buy my book?

No, we do not. But we do guarantee an increased level of visibility via its listing under the IndieReader brand.

Who pays me for book sales? IRIS or the bookstore?

It depends. If your book is already available at standard terms, your royalties will come to you in the same way as before. If you reissue your book through Spark, the royalties will be paid through Spark. If IndieReader reissues your book, we will pay your royalties.

How long do titles stay in the Edelweiss catalog? Is it a permanent online listing?

There is a renewal $25 fee per title per year for the IRIS/Edelweiss listing.


Is Edelweiss US distribution only?

No. It is used by booksellers worldwide.

Some stores now offer eBooks. Are eBooks included or is this just for paper?

The retailers, wholesalers, and librarians who use Edelweiss in their ordering process are focused mainly on physical books, but there’s nothing stopping you from listing eBook exclusives to give them more exposure.

Curation Services (2)

What constitutes an IR Approved book?

All reviews—for anything from books to babysittersare subjective.  That said, any title that an IR Reviewer deems a 4 (Very good) to5 star (Excellent; must-read) title is IR Approved and eligible for inclusion in IR’s Curation Service.

Where are some of the places I can find IR Curated titles?

In addition to our IndieReader App, IR recommends titles to the Huffington Post and USA Today. 

Discovery Awards (17)

How many books do I need to enter the Discovery Awards?

It is the author’s responsibility to make sure IndieReader has been sent the required number of books to be judged. If they are in paper format (hard or soft) we need three (3) copies. If it is sent as an Amazon gift we also require three (3) copies. If they are ebooks or PDFs (ie sharable files) we only need one (1) copy.

If additional books are needed, they must be received before the cutoff, or your book will be disqualified. No refunds will be given for disqualified books.

There are already a bunch of book awards out there. What makes the IRDAs different?

We believe that the best way to help an indie author make their book a success is to get them access to people who can make a difference.

The top winners of the IndieReader Discovery Awards will be sent to Dystel, Goderich and Bourret Literary Management to be considered for representation. Why is that such a big deal? A literary agent may get 5,000 query letters a year. Only a fraction of these will lead to the agent requesting the manuscript.

In addition, judges for the IRDAs include PR professionals, journalists and media people, publishers, and book reviewers (you can find the full list by clicking “The Judges” link on the top of the previous page).

Because while all the gold foil stars, cash prizes, trophies and awards ceremonies might be fun, the reality is that, in the end, they’ll do little to make your book a success.

Who can participate?

  • The “IndieReader Discovery Awards” are open to indie authors who have self-published books*
  • Books have to have a valid ISBN or ASIN number
  • There are no restrictions on pub dates
  • Both eBooks and paper books can be submitted

* Sorry…if your book was originally traditionally published it is not eligible for entry

What’s the timing?

  • Entries for sixth annual (2018) IRDAs are being accepted from Friday, September 1st, 2017 through Wednesday, February 28th, 2018.
  • Payment must be received by Wednesday, February 28th, 2018 (you have another week to get the paper books to us).
  • Payment received after that date will be entered in next year’s Awards program.
  • Should the author choose not to enter for the following year, their submissions will not be returned, nor credited for the cost of entering.
  • Winners for the 2018 IRDAs will be announced late May to early June.  Exact date TBD.

How much does it cost?

The IRDA entry fee is $150 per title which includes the first category.  There is a $50 fee for each additional category entered. You will also need to submit three copies of each title for the first category entered and one each additional category thereafter. This only applies to those who have gifted a book via Amazon or another service. If you upload a sharable ebook file through our enrollment form (after purchase), such as mobi or epub, you need only upload one copy.

Books will not be returned.

NOTE: As of September 1st, 2014, a book review will no longer be included as part of the IRDA sign-up. If you wish to have your title evaluated, you will have to purchase a review. There will be a 10% discount should you sign up for the IRDA and a review at the same time.

How do I enter?

  • The IRDAs have two main categories (fiction and non-fiction) and 40 + sub categories.
  • You can enter your book in more than one category, but an additional $50 fee is charged for each category entered.
  • When entering, please submit three copies of your book NO MATTER HOW MANY CATEGORIES YOU ENTER. This only applies to those who have gifted a book via Amazon or another service. If you upload a sharable ebook file through our enrollment form (after purchase), such as mobi or epub, you need only upload one copy.
  • At the end of the online entry process you’ll be instructed to print out an online registration receipt to send in along with your book(s).
  • Please include completed entry form and check/credit card info, or online registration receipt in the same package as your book(s).
  • Go to the signup page to get started

How will the winners be selected?

Judging for the IRDAs will be based—first and foremost—on the quality of writing and the originality of the story.  While editing, production quality and cover and interior design will also be considered, the goal of the IRDAs is to find talented writers and great books.

Will all those impressive judges actually be reading submitted books?

Every one of our judges have agreed to read–and judge–submitted books.  Why?  For the simple reason that they’re interested in finding talented writers who might otherwise be overlooked.

What if I write, for example, Science Fiction, but the judge doesn’t like that genre?

Have no fear.  We’re pairing types of books with reviewers who prefer that genre, so there won’t be someone reading science fiction (or chick-lit or memoir) who doesn’t like that particular genre.

How many winners will there be?

  • There will be a first, second and third prize winner in both the fiction and non-fiction categories.
  • There is the potential for there to be one winner in each of the 50 + sub categories, but only if the book receives a 4-5 star rating. If a book receives this designation, it will go on to a second reader to be rated.

What do the winners get?

The main thing that IRDA winners get is exposure to a panel of judges who can make a difference in their book’s success, in addition to exposure in major media outlets, which in the past have included The Huffington Post and The Wall Street Journal, trade publications including Shelf Awareness and GalleyCat/MediaBistro.

In other words: what you win is priceless.

In addition, the top six winners will receive:

  • A Kindle Paperwhite 3G
  • Titles will be sent to Dystel, Goderich and Bourret Literary Management for representation consideration

The winners from each sub-category (in addition to the top winners), will also receive the following:

  • Exposure to a panel of judges who can make a difference in your book’s success
  • A professional book review from IndieReader (NOTE: if you have already purchased a review for your winning title another book may be substituted)
  • An IndieReader “All About the Book” feature
  • Three stickers pronouncing your book an “IndieReader Discovery Awards” winner

Can you guarantee any type of publishing deal if I win?

No, there is no guaranteed publishing deal. But publishers—along with very credible agents, publicists and reviewers—will be reading your work.  In fact, the whole reason the judges are participating is to try and find talented writers who might otherwise be overlooked. They are very busy people. Otherwise why would they bother?

How can I sign up?

You can sign up by going to the sign up page and following the instructions. You may pay with Paypal or credit card.

Will I receive confirmation that my book(s) have been received.

Yes, if you mail paper books you will be notified via email upon receipt.

What if I win? When would I be notified?

Winners and finalists of the 2017 IRDAs will be announced late May of 2017.  Exact date TBD.

Will I be notified if don’t win, or even place as a finalist?

No. Only Winners and Finalists will be notified, however, a complete list of Winners and Finalists will be posted to the IndieReader site following the announcement in late May/early June.

Do I get anything just for entering the Discovery Awards?

Following a thorough reading of your book by an IndieReader reviewer, it will be given a verdict and added to the running list of titles vying for the Discovery Award’s top prize on the IndieReader website

Should you wish to use your verdict in a promotional manner, we ask that you credit IndieReader as the source.  If you want to purchase your review in its entirety, we’d be happy to offer it to you at a 10% discount.

To purchase your full review, please contact

Author Services General (3)

The site is asking me to enroll in my products after check out. What does that mean?

When the site refers to enrollment, it is giving you a prompt to complete the information forms for the product you’ve purchased. These forms may include your book name, description, ISBN, etc.

These forms are so that we have all the information we need to complete your purchase, whether that is entry into the Discovery Awards, enrollment in In-Store or purchase of a Professional Review.

If you have any trouble with enrollment, please contact IndieReader Customer Service.

How do I enroll my book after purchasing an IndieReader Service?

Immediately After Checkout

When you complete the checkout process, and your payment is accepted, you will be sent to a confirmation page where you can print your order.

On this page, you will see a button (or buttons if you’ve purchased multiple items) prompting you to complete your enrollment. The button looks like this, but will have the name of the specific service you purchased:

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You must enroll for each service individually. Once you’ve completed enrollment for the first product, you will be sent to your account page, where you can find the list of any remaining enrollments to complete under the Recent Orders heading.


In Your Order Thank You Email

Within in minutes of purchase, you will receive an Order Thank You email, which will contain red text which reminds you to enroll, and has a link to your account. If you login to your account, you will see enrollment buttons in table under the Recent Orders heading.

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Through the My Account Area

To login to your account, click “Log In” in the header area.

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At the login screen enter your account email and the password you created when checking out.

You will see enrollment buttons in table under the Recent Orders heading. You must enroll in services one by one, and will be sent back to the My Account page after enrolling in a service.

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What is the return/refund policy?

Once you have ordered an IndieReader review your payment is non-refundable, except under the following circumstances:

  • IndieReader does not provide a review within the time frame specified. Under this circumstance, provided no “Act of God” or other uncontrollable circumstance has interfered with IndieReader’s ability to provide your review, we will ask you to notify Maya at IndieReader, via email, that you have not received your review. If we haven’t remedied the situation within 15 days, please let us know and we will refund your payment.
  • Your review contains at least two substantive factual errors that impact the integrity of the review. In that case, please email Maya at IndieReader and notify her if you like us to assign a new reviewer or refund your money.