A MAP for Reaching Nonretail Buyers

March 2010
by Brian Jud

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A MAP for Reaching Nonretail Buyers

by Brian Jud

Book marketing is relatively simple, in a sense, because there are only two arenas in which to compete: retail and nonretail. The retail sector consists of bookstores (physical and virtual) and other outlets such as office supply stores, supermarkets, health-food stores, gift shops, and specialty stores. Selling to these establishments is primarily done through intermediaries that control the flow of goods and charge a fee for their services.

Sales through some of these channels, especially bookstores, are plagued by two practices that cut into profits: returns of unsold books and payments in 120 days or more.

Some publishers sell to libraries and directly to consumers as well as through retail outlets, and then consider their sales opportunities exhausted. But the nonretail arena can be a significant source of profitable revenue—with virtually no returns and relatively prompt payments. This arena is populated by buyers in corporations, associations, schools, the military, and government agencies. Unfortunately, few intermediaries are available to help publishers reach nonretail buyers, and for some of these buyers, no intermediaries serve publishers, so you may have to do the selling and negotiating yourself.

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