How and Why to Test-Market Books

February 2010
by Brian Jud

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How and Why to Test-Market Books

by Brian Jud

Test-marketing is the process of finding out if your product meets the needs of, and is saleable to, prospective buyers. Its objective is to confirm the value of your existing content, format, and cover design, or to provide you with feedback on ways to improve them before going into full production. Taking the time to test-market a book properly will give you a sense of how it will be received by buyers, save you money, and provide the impetus and knowledge you need for successful sales.

Thanks to the advent of digital printing, test-marketing has become much more viable for independent publishers. By using print on demand (POD), you can produce the limited number of books you need to test under a variety of conditions for a variety of purposes. Most—but not all—printers now have POD capabilities (see the list at

Test-marketing Tactics

Tactics differ with the content of a book and the markets toward which it is geared. Here’s how several different types of books can be test-marketed:

Bookstores. If you are test-marketing a trade book, you could contact local bookstores and ask to schedule a book event. If they agree, use dig…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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