How to Profit from Special Sales

Increased revenue.

Increase your sales in a marketplace somewhat larger in size than the bookstore market. If you do not seek book sales outside of bookstores than you may be missing half of your potential. Or, to look at it from a different perspective, you could double your sales with additional marketing effort directed to non-bookstore markets.

Recurring revenue.

In special-sales marketing, your customers may place a standing order (a given number of books to be shipped automatically on some predetermined schedule) if your book is used as a textbook or a successful premium. This recurring revenue improves the velocity of your cash flow.

Lower acquisition costs.

Selling to an existing customer is less expensive than it is to acquire another customer. The more frequently people re-order your book, the more profitable each sale becomes. And an audience pre-sold on your existing content may greet a second edition — or new, related titles — warmly.

Lower unit costs.

The greater the quantity in which you print, the lower your unit cost will be. Therefore, some publishers print books and hold them in inventory to meet the just-in-time shipping requirements of some bookstores. Special-sales strategy permits you to hold low (or no) inventory, filling small orders through digital printing. Then you print longer runs to fill orders for large quantities of books.

Increased profitability naturally follows, since the lower your unit cost the greater your profitability at the same selling price. In special marketing you print to fill orders since buyers – particularly non-retail buyers – usually buy in advance of a promotion and are willing to wait for delivery. Not only do you print to order (with no inventory costs), but the quantities are typically larger than you might produce to hold for potential bookstore sales. If you want some books to keep on hand, tack on a quantity to the special print run — at a much lower price than if that quantity were printed alone. This tactic could increase your gross profit as demonstrated below for a 6” x 9” softcover book with 240 pages.

Greater total sales.

You can sell more books to an entirely new market segment simply by using a little creativity. Amy Schoen’s title, Get it Right This Time[1] is about helping single people meet their life-long partner. By thinking beyond the bookstore, Amy found opportunities selling her book to cruise ship lines, to florists and to online dating services for use as a premium to attract new business.

Less competition.

When you perform on the air, you may tell people to go to the bookstore to buy your book. But when the buyers get there, they see your title among all your competitors’ titles. On the other hand, when you make a sales call on corporations, government agencies or small gift shops you have the buyers’ undivided attention. Most likely, no other author or publisher has tried to contact them.

Less discounting.

When you sell to special markets, buyers may not have immediate access to competitive pricing. Product or brand managers are looking for a premium to boost the sales of their products, they do not know if yours is priced above or below competitors’ titles. They are only concerned with your book’s potential to increase the sales and profitability of their company’s products.

Fewer returns.

Although some buy on a returnable basis (discount stores, warehouse clubs, supermarkets, airport stores) most non-retail buyers do not expect to return books.

More effective and efficient media exposure.

If you are selling a title about improving someone’s tennis serve, a review or article in Tennis magazine would more efficiently reach prospective buyers than it would in The New York Times. Pinpoint promotion to carefully selected target market segments could reduce waste in your marketing expenditures.

Negotiable terms.

You may increase your flexibility in negotiations since discounts are not fixed and are typically based on the number of books purchased. Even if you negotiate a 50% discount with a buyer, you are 5 – 20% better off than selling that same book through bookstores. There are also non-price variables open to negotiation, such as shipping expenses and payment terms.

Improved cash flow.

In special-sales markets, many orders are for multiple copies or for standing orders, minimizing your costs to fulfill orders. Some businesses purchase your products at list price and pay you in less than 90 days. Government agencies are obligated to pay you interest if your uncontested invoice is not paid within 30 days.

Join APSS and we can help you sell more books in large, non-returnable quantities than you ever thought possible.

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