IWSG — Cash or Charge?

Today’s the day for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) where, on the first Wednesday of every month, writers get together to share their insecurities and offer encouragement. The IWSG was created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, and you can learn all about it and sign up for it here. IWSG_Badge

I’m in the process of signing up for some events where I can showcase and hopefully sell my book. My question for this month is: what forms of payment should I accept? Is it better to do cash only? Or should I invest in a machine to handle credit/debit card transactions?

The cost of my book, including tax, is $18. I’m concerned that people may not carry a lot of cash and would prefer to use a credit or debit card. I don’t want to take checks, because I don’t have the time or the desire to deal with the rubber ones, which are always a possibility.

With accepting credit/debit cards, though, I worry about data security. So many large companies with top-notch security systems have had breaches that it makes me wonder how I would prevent it. Of course, at this point, I’d be such a tiny fish in a small pond that maybe I wouldn’t have to worry about it.

I’d love to hear from other authors who have sold their books in person. What forms of payment do you accept? If you have a credit card machine, what kind is it and how has it worked for you? Any advice is greatly appreciated! Thank you!!





© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2015. All rights reserved.

34 thoughts on “IWSG — Cash or Charge?

  1. If I were attending as a book buyer, I wouldn’t have cash. Even Farmer’s Market and craft vendors have some kind of gizmo they plug into their cell phone so they can process credit & debit transactions. I guess you have to decide hiw many events, etc. but if you are taking cash only, you should emphasize that in your marketing of the events. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Set yourself to accept credit/debit. There’s a little gizmo (square? I know when I use it at the food carts my recipes come from square) you can plug into your phone to use as a scanner. I’d highly suggest looking into it!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. From the events (3 so far) I’ve done, the preferred method of payment is card. I had to do all cash transactions at my first signing, and I had a number of people either wince and run off to try to get change or decline to purchase because they didn’t have cash. Also make sure you have cash on hand to make change (something else I learned the hard way).

    My business partner and I have tried our bank’s Merchant Services, Square, and PayPal. Merchant Services is the one that failed on my first signing. We prefer PayPal. You can get a card reader that will plug into a smart phone and use the PayPal Here app to run transactions. It’s secure and convenient.

    Best of luck with your events!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Can’t give advice (sorry lol!) but as a buyer/reader, I think having the option to pay via card is better/easier (but I don’t know how easy it would be for you to get one of those), just because of those moments when you see something you wanna buy and you don’t have any cash with you. Either way, good luck with your events Lori!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. People at my publishing house say that investing in a “swipe” machine is important. Too many people would rather put a purchase on a card and keep cash for food and things. You may lose sales if all people have is a credit card. So if I were you – I’d get one. Good luck with all the upcoming event opportunities!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I haven’t done an event like that before, but I was at an event where a writer was selling his books. I wanted to buy one, but I didn’t have enough cash and they didn’t have a credit card machine, so I wound up leaving without one. I have to admit I then kept forgetting to go buy it online so I never bought it in the end.
    Thinking it might be worth doing the credit card machine option so you don’t miss out on those kinds of sales. If you can’t do that, maybe have some business cards or something with a link to your website and therefore to your book so they can still have a reminder of where to get it?

    Very exciting that you’re doing those events though, let us know how you get on!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The “Square” is an amazing thing. We used it for our Christmas Tree sales for the Marching Band this year. You swipe the person’s card, they sign with their finger in your phone and they can have a receipt emailed to them. Maybe there is also a way you could set up a PAYPAL payment on your phone? Thanks for posting this; I never thought about how I’d accept payment if/when my book gets out there. Best of luck!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m just a book buyer, but I definitely do not have much cash on me as a general rule. I always have a credit card, though, and never have any issue using the card readers people use with their phones – I am so happy when I have the option to use one!

    I am probably an outlier on this one, but I also don’t mind if someone sends me online to buy a book – I can do it quickly and easily from my phone, even as I stand somewhere chatting with you. That said, I would prefer the former method – it is easier, and less likely I forget to get the book I wanted!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Woohoo for upcoming events – that’s awesome! I’ve used square – it’s free to get, easy to use, and they have a security system. However, they do shave a few pennies off the cost of each unit sold. It’s so minimal that it seemed super fair to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Your post and following comments are a great help to someone in the same position. Book Signings with groups you know have worked for me, cash, checks, but I now realize I have to be more professional than just having the right change. 🙂 The gal that cuts my hair uses the square and it works great. I am now off to explore how to get one. You get a star in your crown today for this good info.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. All the best to you with those book events, Lori! You’ve had some great advice here, so I’ll just chime in and say I’m one of those credit card people, too. I don’t carry nearly as much cash around with me these days, unless I know for sure an event is cash only. At some events it’s hard to get more cash if you run out, so it’s good to have the card option.

    Liked by 1 person

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