Which Sales Channels Work Best

September 2006
by PMA Roundtable

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Most PMA members who responded
to this question reported selling through what are still known as special sales
or nontraditional channels, despite the fact that they are increasingly normal
for publishers of all sizes. And many respondents noted that they favor a mix
of sales channels that includes the one major wholesalers provide. As you?ll
see, other trade channels are often part of the mix too, and nontrade channels
vary widely as savvy publishers match conduits to customers.



Cash Comes from Catalog


Catalogs are our most profitable
sales channel (I shipped 24,000 units to one last week), although school and
office book-event companies are big-volume customers too, and we do well with
premium sales (one major manufacturer ordered 15,000 cookbooks).


I learned very quickly that I
couldn?t run a profitable company selling books that might come back, so I
concentrated on the nonreturnable gift market. Catalogs order large quantities
year after year and pay on time. Because their orders are large, my unit costs
for printing go way down, and I can use the overage for better margin on
regular sales. And really big orders from catalog companies can ship directly
from the printer.


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