Author School Visits and Book Sales

Most schools offer books for sale to students and faculty while an author/illustrator is on campus. For the children and faculty who can afford to buy a book, this is a special souvenir of your visit.

Where does the school get a supply of your books? The media specialist may:

  • order books directly from the publisher
  • ask a nearby bookstore to supply them
  • request that you bring books along

Book sales can be used as a fundraiser by the school to partially or totally offset the cost of your visit. How does this work? The supplier provides your books at a discount (usually this is up to 20% off the cover price) to the school. The school may choose to pass on all or part of this discount to the book buyers. Or it may decide to sell the books at cover price and keep the difference. (Since schools are nonprofit organizations, they do not need to charge sales tax, so – even at cover price – buyers still receive a little savings from school book sales.)

If a school contacts your publisher to get a supply of books, it will also receive a shipping label to return any unsold books. Some schools think that returning unsold books is a hassle, so they prefer to use a nearby bookstore or request that you supply your own books. If you are willing to bring along boxes of books, this is a great convenience for the school since you will take home any unsold copies. (Note: Usually, it will take a week or more for the school to issue a check to you to cover the cost of all books sold during your visit.)

What happens if you run out of copies when you are at school? I take orders and send the autographed books after my visit.

You will be very busy on the day of your visit and so will the media specialist, so you will need a helper to take charge of book sales. Suggest that the media specialist designate a paraprofessional or a parent volunteer to take book orders, collect checks and money, issue change, and sort books into piles by grade and homeroom.

Be sure to bring along a pen for autographing. I like to use black, click-top Sharpies, since they make clear, sweeping, fast-drying lines on my picture books. (I always bring an extra, in case the first Sharpie runs out of ink.)

For more information about Gail Karwoski, visit her website, or visit the Sylvan Dell Publishing website, For additional inquiries or to schedule an interview with Ms. Karwoski, contact Sara Dobie, Public Relations, at 877-958-2600 or