Process & Performance at Borders

December 2002
by Michael Faulkner, MF Unlimited

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The article, “The Basics of Marketing to Borders,” in the September 2002 PMA Newsletter caught my eye. “There’s a place for titles from small and independent publishers in the big bookstore chains, and marketing your title to them may be easier than you think,” the article said. Judging from my experience and observations as an independent publisher, this statement is true. However, it’s still not that easy to cross through Borders’ doors, and getting on the inside does not necessarily mean success.

One key to success for both bookseller and publisher–amongst a host of other factors–is having a defined process coupled with performance (i.e., satisfactory execution). Borders is willing to state the process but there are trouble spots when it comes to performance.

 

The Process

The Newsletter article spelled out the “how to” of marketing to Borders or any major chain bookseller. “Cover design and interior text should be of competitive quality,” it said. “…use wholesalers or an exclusive master distributor.” If you submit your book to Borders, “include a complete list of all your distribution channels, plus a detailed description of your marketing plan.” After you send your submission package, “Borders will acknowledge your submission within 90 days of receipt.” A postcard will note the decision from the buyer at Borders.

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