The Buck Starts Here
Special Sales: The Buck Starts Here
Written by Guest Blogger Brian Jud
The term special sales is commonly used to describe sales opportunities outside of bookstores. Also referred to as non-bookstore (or non-traditional) marketing, it can be a profitable source of new revenue.
The best way to exploit this opportunity is to divide it into two segments and sell to buyers in each according to their traditional ways of purchasing. One is the retail segment where you reach buyers using a network of middlemen. The other segment is comprised of direct sales to non-retailers that use books as marketing tools to sell more of their products or help their employees, members or students – which will be discussed in the email sent next week.
Selling to retailers.
You are already familiar with this sector. You find distributors or wholesalers to get your books into retail outlets where they are sold off the shelf to consumers. Payments are made in two or three months and unsold books are returned. Retailers display products that 1) will build store traffic,
2) maximize profitability per square foot and 3) generate more inventory turns. Prove that your title can do those things better than competitors’ titles and you can get your books on these retailers’ shelves:
Discount stores and warehouse clubs. Books are discounted heavily and do not offer the same margins of some larger-ticket products. Therefore, these retailers limit shelf space to the “brand-name” authors and top-selling books. The store buyers purchase through established distribution companies such as Anderson Merchandisers and ReaderLink.
Airport stores. Books on management, investment, economics, business biography, personalfinance and health sell well among business travelers. Books for children also tend to do well in these outlets, especially children’s “activity books.” Popular fiction always sells in this environment. Also consider selling to other airport stores, not just bookstores. Wholesalers to this segment include Bookazine, Baker & Taylor, Hudson and Ingram.
Supermarkets and pharmacies. Cookbooks, travel books and regional titles move in supermarkets, but health-related topics sell better in drugstores. Children’s titles also seem to do well in supermarkets, but fiction remains the mainstay there. Consider Choice Books to distribute your books.
Museums, zoos and national parks. Most of these have a gift shop, and to get in them you must demonstrate how your books can educate and entertain their guests. Get your books on these shelves using third-party managementfirms that acquire books for the gift shops. Event Network operates gift shops at zoos, museums, aquariums, science centers and botanical gardens, and Eastern National serves the national park system.
Gift shops. This category includes large chains such as Pottery Barn, Yankee Candle, Bath and Body Works, Pier One and Crate & Barrel, Hallmark Stores and Spencer Gifts. It also includes hotel and hospital gift shops. Reach these outlets through direct marketing, sales-representative groups and by attending trade shows and gift marts.
Specialty stores. You could sell your books in home-improvement centers, pet shops, auto-supply stores, camera shops, toy stores or business-supply stores – retailers that serve identifiable groups of people with a common interest in your content. Home Design Alternatives is a major wholesaler in this segment.
Special-sales marketing is not a separate way of doing business. It is not even a new way of doing business. It should be an integral part of your overall marketing strategy. Simply divide non-bookstore marketing into its two component parts and you may find hundreds, if not thousands of prospective customers for your titles. The second component of special sales will be covered in next week’s email, so keep your eye open for it!
The Special Sales series was written by Brian Jud, the Executive Director of the Association of Publishers for Special Sales (APSS – https://www.bookapss.org – formerly SPAN) and author of How to Make Real Money Selling Books and Beyond the Bookstore. Contact Brian at [email protected] or https://www.premiumbookcompany.com and twitter @bookmarketing