Distributing my book in Bahrain has been an uphill struggle. It has been my experience that not many book sellers and distrbutors in Bahrain want to promote local writers and that is such a shame.
The reality is that most Bahraini writer’s have had to self publish their books and most local retailers and distributors dont want to budge from their ridculously high margins for self-published authors who print in such small numbers that they can’t offer 50% margins to wholesalers.
This makes it very hard for self-published Bahraini authors to have their books on the shelves at promimnent book shops. I would like to say that Words Bookshop and Cafe go above and beyond promoting local authors and giving them exposure as well shelf space whilst the extreme opposite is true for Jashanmals who turn away local writers who cannot provide them with the high profit margins they enjoy from mass published books.
I have been surprised by how supportive non-specialty book retailers have been and this has really made me angry as a long time customer of Jashanmals that they would be so unwilling to work with me even after signing with Al Hilal as our official distributors, whom routinely distribute books to Jashanmal, again refused to stock Little Island Big Fort simply because they could not get a higher margin.
I have approached Virgin who are a much bigger regional retailer and they have been willing to work with us if we provide the proper paperwork and get approvals from their headquarters and were way more approachable than Jashanmals.
This post isn’t a rant but more a warning. I am being transparent so that any other soon to be self-published Bahraini author can learn from my experience and maybe if enough of us speak up those book shops that for years we have been loyal customers of and dreamed to one day see our books on their shelves start welcoming and supporting us rather than completely shutting us out.
Until then this is one reader who will NOT shop at Jashanmals.