When Patti Brassard Jefferson opened Gulf Coast Books in April of this year, it occupied a space that more closely resembled a cubby than a retail store, and it only had room for a few dozen indie authors.
Five months have passed since then, and everything has changed.
Children’s author and illustrator Patti Brassard Jefferson has announced that next month she plans to open a new larger bookstore called PJ Boox. The new store will fill a 1,700 square foot store front in Fort Myer's, Florida, and carry ten times as many books as its predecessor, Gulf Coast Books.
PJ Boox will be many multiple's the size of its predecessor, and it will also be about six times the size of Local Editions, another indie-focused bookstore which launched in Colorado last month.
The books will still be stocked face out, but there will be room for more than books by more than 500 indie authors from across the US. PJ Boox will keep to the original ideal of Gulf Coast Books, which has proven immensely popular with authors:
But it’s not just Brassard who has been excited by Gulf Coast’s launch. Of the 54 authors who signed up to be featured at Gulf Coast with their own bookshelf, 48 opted to renew after the first three months. According to Brassard, the vacancies were filled from the waiting list in less than 15 minutes. She also heard from nearly 200 authors who aren’t local, who wanted to be represented in a similar bookstore, which is what prompted her to start P.J. Boox.
The store will operate on a consignment model, with each shelf rented to authors.
Edit: This is similar to the coop fees publishers pay chain bookstores for placement, only on a smaller scale.
As at Gulf Coast Books, authors will be paid monthly and get 100% of net revenues (minus credit card fees) for books sold in store. They will also receive 80% of revenues for books sold through the store's website.
Brassard is also planning to maintain an active events schedule with in-person author events as well as virtual visits via Skype. There's space to comfortably seat 20 people for readings and book clubs, and PW reports that the mall can accommodate larger crowds.
PJ Boox is the third domino in a chain that will only get longer and wider as time goes by. As I pointed out last month when I wrote about Colorado Springs-based Local Editions, indie authors are responding to being shut out of bookstores by routing around the problem. They're launching their own stores so they can sell to the public.
This is only the beginning.