Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Beyond the Bookstore for Publishers

Yet another sign that it is time for stores to change many of their traditional ways of doing business.  A recent article encourages publishers to increase sales and profit through non-bookstore marketing, particularly in light of the trend toward decreased unit sales in print books from traditional outlets.   Here is an excerpt from the article:

“Given the choice, there are advantages to focusing only on non-bookstore marketing.  Here you can sell your content in any format – e-books, printed books, audio books or booklets.  You can also sell it in many more places, including retailers, libraries, corporations, schools and associations.  And in nonretail segments, book sales are sold on a non-returnable basis and you are generally paid more quickly.  If that were not enough, even more benefits accrue through special sales.” 
Here are ten reasons why the author says publishers should invest in the non-bookstore markets.  You can read the details of each recommendation in the article.

1) Compete in a marketplace larger in size than the bookstore segment.
2) Experience growth that is virtually limitless.
3) Take your titles to the potential buyers rather than waiting for them to go to a bookstore.
4) Reduce the competition.
5) Minimize discounting since buyers do not have immediate access to competitive pricing.
6) Sell books on a non-returnable basis.
7) Stimulate increased exposure. 
8) Increase your flexibility in negotiations
9) Improved cash flow, since some businesses purchase your products at list price.
10) Do what you do best.
Now I am sure many stores could articulate reasons back to publishers to encourage continued investment in the channel.  A couple obvious arguments come to my mind, however, that is not the thrust or focus of this posting.  The point here is that stores that want to succeed in the future must look at the trends and begin transitioning to new markets.  Continuing on a path to merely extend or defend what we have always done is a fast path down the spiral of decline.  We must rethink our value, or not be surprised when those who were once our partners are suddenly our competitors.  To paraphrase Wayne Gretzky once again, we must learn to skate to where the puck will be -- not where it is now or has been in the past. 

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