Promotions That Pay Off

September 2008
by Linda Carlson

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Promotions That Pay Off

by Linda Carlson

How do you get sales to go up when the economy is going down? IBPA members have dozens of ideas for publishers who are introducing new books or trying to increase sales momentum for backlist titles, especially as the holiday season nears. None of these is complicated, and none works magic. As one publisher noted, even successful promotions for good books are unlikely to send any of us to Aruba for a midwinter break. But, as another member emphasized, the results of the simple and seemingly mundane efforts that we make every day will distinguish us from publishers who expect books to sell themselves.

Here’s a sampling of simple promotions that have worked for IBPA members:


combo pricing

display racks

free freight

bonus gifts/“freemiums”

prepublication sales

Internet advertising and publicity

the help of friends


One of the most common price promotions is a discount, sometimes timed to coincide with an event that ties into a book topic, an author appearance, or a publisher’s market niche.

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