Friday, November 27, 2009
This month Borders Group announced its third quarter earnings, holiday selling season strategy, store closings and new marketing efforts. One effort in particular, Borders in-stock guarantee program seems not just beneficial to Borders, who is competing with Amazon.com and Walmart, but also for authors who aren't getting much love these days.
Here's how it works:
Store customers who want a book not available at the store will be sent the title with no shipping charges. This offer is good through December 16.
Why is the program great for most authors:
1. It can increase your books chances to be shelved in Borders.
Although many book buyers shop online, books are found in bookstores. Especially for events like Black Friday where there are more instore traffic. During Black Friday customers troll the aisles searching for the perfect book. However, they won't see yours today, because it is not shelved. But don't fret if you send out a quick eblast to your fan list that they can order your book today and through the holiday season that it will be shipped free to them,...KAPOW.
The major reasons your book is not shelved is because your local Borders doesn't know you exist or doesn't believe that your book will sell in their store. If your book is the Business(meaning pretty good with swagger) and a decent number of your fans ask for it, the chances that the Borders store that your fans requested it from will want to stock your book will go up.
One thing you need to seek as a sales goal is to make sure that your book is stocked in the favorite bookstore of your fans. All it takes is a survey or poll to find that info out.
With this current in-stock guarantee promotion you can leverage your shelf life in your ideal markets.
2. It can increase your sales numbers.
Although many authors use Amazon links to channel their online booksales, it is wise to use a brick and mortar store as well. These stores guarantee that your book is purchased new, not used which can happen if you are directing book buyers to Amazon. Used books aren't counted, because they have already been bought.
I am a fan of using BookSense stores, because they are independents. However, with the Borders in-store guarantee, I would consider choosing your local or your bookclub president's local Borders or Waldens(make sure it isn't closing) as the official bookseller for your book. You couple that announcement with quarterly instore appearances or hosting local community events at that bookstore, you will see more traction for your entire catalog of books in print.
3. It can increase your royalties.
Piggybacking on #2. Your royalties are affected by the types of sells your book make. If it is discounted(Walmart or Amazon or BookCloseout.com) or bought used(Books for Less, Amazon possibly, eyc.) As I've said before authors should be wise and place bookstore links on their websites.
Yes, I know bookstore events beget small book sales. On average Borders will only stock about fifteen of your books for a book signing. Low and newbie authors will sell maybe ten and mid authors (if twenty) at a time, if you don't have marketing support, don't advertise and only tell your Facebook buddies. But when you host a book event offsite-- let's keep it one hundred(let's be real--after you spend monies for event booking fees, promoting the event, purchasing food(because we can't seem to buy books without eating) how much profit did you really make?
I agree you should focus on making monies on both the front and back end. When we're speaking book events the goal is to increase that royalty statement and for many of you to get a royalty check. Use this back back program to do that.
If you sell more books than the store provided, your patrons will have the books shipped to them for free, and the bookstore will be wiser to stock your next book when they receive your publisher's order catalog the next go round.
In short learn what these bookstore chains are doing to stay in the black, then help them accomplish their goal. It will help you in the process.
If you haven't signed up for Dee's Goody Mail, then do so today. The December letter will discuss Borders and Barnes & Nobles third quarter sales in detail and how to leverage these figures for you. The goody mail is free, but by invitation only. I am inviting you in honor of Black Friday. To receive it, send me an email at deegospelpr at gmail dot com and put in the subject header I want to Keep it One Hundred!