Advice from Experience on Special Sales

July 2004
by Liz Franklin

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More than 100 PMA members were gracious enough to share their experiences with special sales, providing the rest of us with a fabulous education. A great big thank-you to everyone who responded. Because of space limitations and duplications, I have consolidated participants’ remarks.

Please see “To Learn More” at the end if you’d like more information from or about some of the people quoted below.


Special (or “nontraditional”) sale. A special or nontraditional sale is defined here as a sale–often a nonreturnable sale–made to a customer that is not a bookstore or a wholesaler that sells primarily to bookstores. For this article, we asked for information about sales of more than 1,000 books at a time.

Premium sale. Say “special sales” to most people and they think “premiums.” A premium sale is made to a buyer who will use your book to get its customers to buy more, to motivate its sales team, or as a giveaway for other reasons. So a premium sale is a special sale, but not all special sales are premium sales. A premium buyer might want its logo on the cover of your book or inside it, and some special sales buyers prefer to manage the printing of your book for their purposes.

Premium buyers may buy enough of your books to give away one copy with every sale over a certain dollar amount, or with every tank of gas, or to winners of a contest–the possibil…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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