Standing-Order Plans: The Structures and the Payoffs

December 2007
by Linda Carlson

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Standing-Order Plans: The Structures and the Payoffs

by Linda Carlson

How do publishers turn browsers into buyers? One strategy is to eliminate the browsing.

That’s how standing-order plans work. You don’t have to overcome the natural inertia of prospective buyers, because you make one sale and it pays off time and again. Sometimes called book clubs when oriented to retail customers, these plans cater both to institutions such as libraries and to individuals. “Sign up now and you’ll never miss a new issue,” publishers promise, or, “You’ll be the first to have the latest information.”

Standing-order plans, which sometimes include a discount and an enrollment bonus, can pay off for publishers in at least five ways:

guaranteed early sales for new titles, which can help create buzz

early income from new titles

prices at or near retail

minimal fulfillment time, with purchase-order and bank-card numbers already on file

limited returns, especially from individuals (perhaps thanks to inertia)

Here are a few examples of standing-order plans for libraries and readers:

Nolo Press (, the Bay Area publisher o…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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