I've sold punk zines through consignment in San Francisco, and in a few other cities.
It's a lot of work. You have to get the zine/book approved, fill out the agreement/form, drop off or mail in stock, check in with the person who handles consignment to see when your stuff has sold, and then remind them to pay you. Oftentimes you're considered very low priority, and you've got to struggle with people that aren't very motivated to work with you.
I still sell one zine on consignment at one shop, though now I live out of state and have to mail in more copies every few months. Profits are slim. Still, in the past five years I've sold about 3000 copies of the zine. It's what got me started in self-publishing, which is how I now earn my living. So I don't regret it.
I've also had a few of my books on consignment in shops--which is basically a similar process, though many independent shops won't carry Createspace printed books because it's an Amazon company (and some indie shops consider Amazon the evil competition).
In my experience, ebooks are really so much easier.
It's hard unless you follow it up with the store: the book quickly becomes invisible, relegated to some back shelf. The return on effort is low ... unless you call them, you won't hear about the book again (very often), Most of my consignment books have become, in effect, gifts. And here I speak of stores in India as well as the U.S. (the Indian ones in my experience were somewhat less ethical and professional).
Still, as an author, you do, because you love the book, and you want it to be seen ... and have a chance.
I did it a few times back when I used to do a lot of signings. It's fun to see your book in stores, but as the others said, it's a lot of work. The stores I did consignment with actually kept my book pretty prominent...but since bookstores take a larger cut of your profits, a larger price tag is often needed and usually only people specifically looking for your book will buy it. If you do manage to get sale, you usually have to check back with the bookstore to get paid. I haven't checked back in ages, and will probably just leave the meager profits to the bookstores.
I had a couple of books on consignment at two different local stores, one a bookstore, one a general store. The bookstore actually sold theirs, but the ones at the general store are still gathering dust there. As was said above, it's a lot of effort, but it does get you out and talking to bookstore people in your local community, which can be good in itself.
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