Book Clubs: To Sell or Not to Sell

December 2002
by Linda Ligon

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Let’s say you have a book that looks as if it belongs in a book club catalog. It has strong content in a popular subject area. The book has high design and production values. It’s also priced high enough to withstand deep discounts. Should you shop it around? And if so, what’s the most effective way to do that?


The Different Deals

First, do the math. Book club sales can be structured in several ways. Here are the most common.



You print the books for the club and receive a unit price from it that covers paper, printing, and binding–plus a royalty. The advantage? You get paid up front. And if you can add the club’s quantity onto your own press run, it will lower the unit cost for all the copies. If you split royalties with an author (typically a 50-50 split), don’t forget to factor that in as well.

For example:

Your List Price $24.95

Typical Club Member Discount 20%

Club Price $19.95

Discount to Club Off Member Price 75%

Your Gross $ 4.98

Your Unit Paperback Cost $ 3.19

Your Net $ 1.79


Royalty-Exclusive, Inventory Purchase


The club buys copies from you at cost and pays you a royalty as the books sell. Usually you can negotiate an advance agains…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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