What are your thoughts on charging for book signings?

I was reading an article in the New York Times about some independent book stores who are starting to charge a fee to attend a book signing. This is hard to believe. What is next? I mean, charging someone to walk into a store, hand an author a book they already paid for, just to get their signature is just really pushing the limit, in my opinion. After all, first they have to purchase the authors book and then they have to pay just to enter their signing?

I think it makes the author look greedy, but in reality, it’s the book store that is charging the fee and the author gets nothing. Life as an author is hard enough but with this new trend, I can totally see this leading to first time authors or  authors who aren’t that well known, being rejected. Will these book stores not allow us to have a book signing because we won’t bring in enough revenue to the front door? After all why would people pay money to have an unknown author sign their book?

In the article it says that independent book stores are tired of people acting like they are just another library. People are typing names of books into their iPhones, going home and ordering them on-line or elsewhere and they think that is putting them out of business. Well I hate to break it to them but that is going on everywhere not just bookstores. Consumers should have an option of searching for a better price. That is the way of the world.
Here is a quote from the article: “We don’t like to have events where people can’t come for free,” Ms. Holman said. “But we also can’t host big free events that cost us a lot money and everyone is buying books everywhere else.”
It seems as though everything is about money these days. Isn’t getting people in your store worth whatever it takes? Not everyone who walks into a store buys something. That is a risk that all retail takes in owning a business. The way the world is heading, we won’t even be able to walk into a store anymore without paying a fee at the door.

How do you feel about this? Would you pay $5.00 or more to hand your book to the author just to signit?

Here is the link to that article if anyone would like to check it out.


  1. Wow! I wouldn't want people to get charged to come to my event. I can see what the bookstore is saying about people buying elsewhere, but if that's the case then the store could lower the prices. Be competitive and it won't be an issue. I think less people would come to signings if they were charged a fee. And who is that good for?

  2. This is sad. If it is occurring, I'm betting it's just a small percentage of stores that are doing it. I don't see this turning into the mainstream - I hope.

  3. Kelly,
    I wouldn't want to charge people either. After all, they paid for the book so why should they have to pay just to get a signature? I hope this doesn't become standard.

  4. Shauna,
    I hope not too. Let's keep our fingers crossed. It's already hard enough just to get people to buy the book to begin with!

  5. I know of a lot of bookstores that require you to buy the book at their store if you want it signed. It would seem to me that alleviates the problem. The bookstore gets money, the reader gets a signed book, and the author gets the event. Should work for everyone, right?

  6. I think attendees should possibly be required to buy the book at that store in order to have it signed... But I also agree that the prices should be competitive!! No one wants to pay $25 for a book they can get online for $10...

  7. Thanks Ellen And SanityEludesMe. I agree totally with what you are saying. I definitely don't think the bookstore's charging an admission fee would bring them more business or help the cause. I believe it would do quite the opposite. But that's just my opinion! But on the other hand, an admission fee might be a good idea for big time authors like Sarah Palin or JK Rolling to keep the crowds down.