If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ll probably know that I sometimes get a table at conventions or gift fairs to sell copies of my books (and some miscellaneous other items to help cover costs because dealers tables at conventions are expensive). My latest convention was Cardiff Film and Comic Con a few weeks ago, and Birmingham Collectormania this weekend.
Until now, I’ve only ever done cash payments but now more and more people are expecting to be able to pay with card wherever they are (and I can’t blame them, because I’m so used to the convenience of cards myself). I decided it was about time I got myself a card reader.
I talked to a few of the vendors at Eastercon about what they use and one that was recommended to me by a couple of different people was Sumup, which was the cheapest around according to one of the people I asked. From my own comparisons of reader costs and commission fees, I think she was right. When you sign up for Sumup, you buy a small card reader, which is nicely portable, and which connects via bluetooth to a phone app (you need to have Android or iPhone). The app itself is very simple and you can enter manual payments or create a catalogue of sales items so you can quickly tap on items to put a sale through. You can also group your items/prices, so I can have separate lists of stock for Christmas fairs and for science fiction conventions, making it easier to find the items on the list when you’re making a sale.
I did have a little bit of a teething problem on my first sale – the phone app sat on the “connecting” screen for ages and couldn’t find the reader – but I restarted the phone and card reader and after that it all went through seamlessly, letting me take chip and pin payments and contactless. I had fun today when it found a couple of other people’s Sumup devices before it identified mine (the challenge when three stallholders within a few metres of each other have chosen the same service) but it was easy enough to get it linking to the right one and processing the sale. After a sale, there’s also an option to send a receipt by text or email.
I have an online dashboard to see my payment history and track sales and income. Sumup send money directly to me bank account within a couple of days of the payment going through. They charge a 1.69% fee on each transaction, so if I sell a book for £10, I will pay about 17 pence to Sumup which is not bad at all and good compared to the other options on the market – iZettle is 1.75%, as is Square, WorldPay and Paypal can be up to 2.75%.
I would definitely recommend getting a card reader if, like me, you sell your books at face to face events. There were a few sales I made at the last convention that were only possible because I had a card reader, and one person who was going to buy one book but when he saw I had a card reader decided to get two. I would be happy to recommend Sumup based on my experiences last week, and if you do go for it, they have a “refer a friend” scheme. If you click on this link (http://fbuy.me/iRKnc) and sign up, you get a discount on the card reader (the website says a £44 discount, but I only paid £29 for my card reader, so I’m not sure how that works) and for the sake of honesty I should probably admin that I would get a £10 fee.
These days, if you’re selling your books face-to-face, you’re going to miss out on sales if you don’t have a card reader of some sort.