DartFrog Books, "the bookseller's solution to indie books," launched its Direct to Shelf Program earlier this month with the first shipment of books to partner stores. Founder Gordon McClellan, who noted that 20 indie bookstores were part of the launch, said the "next shipment of titles will arrive in stores on July 15. We anticipate the number of stores in the program to continue growing, as word gets out." On Facebook, Tubby & Coo's Mid-City Bookshop in New Orleans and the Conundrum in St. Francisville, La., highlighted their DartFrog sales floor displays.
"The program is designed to benefit independent bookstores, by providing them financial compensation and a steady flow of the best in self-published literature," McClellan noted. "It is also designed to benefit authors, who now know that when their book is selected by DartFrog, it is guaranteed to be placed in a specially branded 'DartFrog Approved' section of at least 20 bookstores." All DartFrog titles are available through Ingram.
Marina Aris, DartFrog's director of bookstore relations, described the Direct to Shelf Program as "a triple win for self-published authors, independent booksellers and Ingram."
McClellan explained that the company's name was chosen "simply because the dart frog has learned to thrive in an environment dominated by the Amazon. We distribute our books solely to independent bookstores because we believe them to be an absolutely essential part of the literary ecosystem, and aim to help them thrive in an Amazon dominated world. We do this by focusing on a market of writers (self-published) that is enormous and yet widely un-vetted. By creating the gateway through which self-published authors are vetted, and then partnering with bookstores to display the books that pass our evaluation, we aim to provide the best self-published authors with bookstore visibility, and the bookstores with a new source of income."
Noting that the company compensates partner bookstores when they refer an author to DartFrog (whether or not the book is selected), and pays bookstores a guaranteed stipend for being part of the Direct to Shelf program, McClellan said, "The result is a new financial stream for independent bookstores that does not depend on sales alone for cash flow."