Prepare for Holiday Book Sales, Part 2: Book Marketing Promotions That Work

Prepare for Holiday Book Sales, Part 2: Book Marketing Promotions That Work

Aerio Staff

Promotions, discounts and deals are an essential part of any holiday book selling strategy.

In part 1 of this series we talked about the importance of marketing and selling in social streams. In part 2, discover the top 10 holiday sales & marketing tactics that work, as well as see successful real-world examples that get readers engaged and more importantly, to buy.

Holiday Shopping Trends

How people shop and buy during the holiday season is changing.

The status of online shopping is up across all consumer goods categories. In an article from eMarketer that’s especially show in in the area of media - so books, music and video. Amazon represents an estimated 78% of US ecommerce sales in the books, music, and video category.

These categories are up 63% as of May and we are continuing to see this kind of growth in online purchasing. A survey done by Tinuiti also shows that nearly 50% of shoppers plan to shop online, rather than in-store this year.

As consumer buying habits continue to shift online there remains a mix in online shopping methods. eMarketer also shows curbside pickup is expected to grow by 60%. This method seems to be popular due to the ability to shop online, while allowing consumers to get out of the house during pickup.

This leads to the concept of omnichannel shopping (online + in-store). This seems to be the route that most consumers are taking this holiday season. This buying journey is crucial to the flexibility of consumers.

According to the Tinuiti survey, more than three-quarters of survey respondents (76%), plan to shop both online and in-store this holiday season — a 70.5% increase compared with 2019.  

As publishers and authors, you will want to ensure your titles are available in a broad range of channels, metadata is rich and detailed, and all connection points to online retail channels and offline retail channel partners are secure.

Factors that Influence Online Purchases

  • Lowest Price for Item
  • Free Shipping
  • Sale, Discount, or Promo
  • Product Availability
  • Product Specs (like, battery life)
  • Customer Item Reviews
  • Fast Delivery
  • Estimated Delivery Date & Time
  • Cross-Store Price Comparison

This year especially, consumers want to make sure they are getting the most value out of their purchases. Fast and on time delivery is crucial in a buying decision; this is why your titles’ product details and availability are increasingly important this holiday season.

Holiday Shopping Starts Early - So Does Advertising

Holiday shopping begins with the launch of Prime Day in mid-October each year and extends into December. We are seeing the start of holiday shopping extend earlier each year as the popularity increases and the knowledge of stockouts and shipping woes grow among consumers.

You’ll also want to keep in mind that the key weekends during the upcoming holiday season are going to be expensive.

Holiday Shopping
Source: Adaptly

The days on the left are some of the most expensive and competitive times to advertise online. Try stretching your ad dollars farther while still reaching shoppers at off-peak times with the days on the right side. Consumers are going to continue to buy and you can reach more of them at a cost-effective rate outside of peak ad times.

It is still very important to advertise during Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday, etc. but focus more on organic efforts. Reach the audience you already have a relationship with through email and social media.

Social Media & Brand Engagement Matter

According to Facebook’s Business Insights, 18% of consumers use Facebook to get inspiration for holiday shopping and gifting, and 29% of consumers encourage others to purchase a product after learning about a business’s values, causes or practices.

As a publisher or author, it is important to let consumers know what your business cares about. This will help drive word-of-mouth across your products and titles and encourage your audience to want to engage more and buy from you.  

Top 10 Ideas for Holiday Marketing Success

Whether you’re advertising, sending an email, or posting on social media – make sure wherever you’re sending your potential buyers is well-positioned for success.

1) Make Sure You’re Ready to Convert

Book Data

Many factors you can’t directly control, but product metadata is completely in your hands. Make sure it’s detailed, complete, and accurate, with a consumer marketing focus on metadata that readers can see.


Online shoppers rely on social proof to inform and validate their buying decisions. If you have a book with few reviews, make sure you have editorial reviews included in your product data. And if you have a number of negative reviews, consider that it may not be a good candidate for promotion at the moment.

Price & Availability

Make sure your book is available for purchase, competitively priced, in stock, and ready to ship quickly.

2) Make it Easy to Buy

Clear Retail Links and Buy Buttons

Link to multiple retail options on your site and include buy links in emails and blog posts.

Drive Sales from Social Media

Get started with Instagram and Facebook shops. Integrate social shopping for direct sales and link to retail (direct or via channel partners).

3) Deck the Digital Halls

  • Update your website with key holiday titles.
  • Include site headers and feature areas as season updates.
  • Develop seasonal blog posts and collections (post early and link to them).
  • Refresh social media profiles with themed content and feature seasonal titles in social media profile page banners.
Source: Hallmark Publishing Facebook

4) Spread the Love (and Attention)

People don’t just buy on the big weekends; make sure you’re reaching consumers during the shopping period by marketing throughout the holiday season.

Make sure you’re marketing through all of the channels at your disposal, like:

  • Social Media
  • Your Website and affiliate websites
  • Digital Advertising
  • Print ads and catalogs
  • Email marketing
  • Content marketing & SEO

Promote across platforms and cross-post between them. Advertise deals and key titles in social, on Amazon and elsewhere like Bookbub:

Source: BookBub

Share blog posts and discounts in email newsletters and on social media, like these examples from NYU Press:

Source: NYU Press

5) ‘Tis the Season for Discounts & Offers

  • Promote title discounts – whether that’s your own direct sales or promotions through retail partners
  • Highlight a variety of deals and offers. One example is Costco offering “12 days of deals” - create excitement and anticipation as new offers are revealed.
  • Reward subscribers with coupons and exclusives, like a 50% off promo code valid from Black Friday – Cyber Monday.

6) Target Gift Buyers

Create and share gift guides featuring your titles. Offer ideas for different people and interests.

Source: MacMillan

Try Gift keyword (intent) or demographic targeting to reach shoppers seeking ideas and inspiration via retail and search ads. You can also target likely gift buyers for your books on social (eg. parents of children who are a specific age).

7) Give Gifts That Keep on Giving

Run a holiday giveaway to:

  • Reward subscribers and followers
  • Grow engagement and build your email list

Consider donating books or a portion of sales to a good cause.

8) Reach Last-Minute Shoppers

Highlight shipping and deal deadlines. This is a great reason to reach out to your email subscribers or followers, and more important than ever with less certain shipping and delivery windows.

It’s also not just about direct sales – publishers and authors can support Bookshop, indie bookstores, and other retail partners, boosting their promotions and ensuring buyers are aware of delivery deadlines.

And of course, you’ll want to share any last chance offers to really capture those conversions.

9) Book Buying Doesn’t Stop at Christmas

People look to fill up new ebook reading devices post-Holidays.

According to a Facebook/YouGov survey of US adults 18+, 59% of holiday shoppers surveyed research gifts for themselves. Capitalize on this with “Treat Yourself” lists and self-gifting collections.

There’s also the ever popular “New Year, New You” as a trending topic after the holiday season – consider marketing your books around this topic to get some post-holiday sales.

10) Use Tools to Make it Work

Use tools to schedule and automate, so content is ready to go throughout the holidays. Here are some tools to get you started:

Social Media:


  • MailChimp
  • Constant Contact
  • SendinBlue
  • Hubspot
  • Check-out other tools from Quick Sprout


  • Schedule and set-up automated rules directly in ad settings in major platforms (Facebook, Amazon, Google)
  • AdEspresso
  • Qwaya
  • Socialpilot
  • Revealbot
  • For more ideas, check-out this list from SocialPilot

Reach and engage your readers with these book marketing tools:

Aerio – Book previews, ebook giveaways, and direct-to-consumer sales

Image Creation

  • Canva
  • Book Brush
  • Pablo

Keyword Research

  • Soovle
  • Google Trends
  • Keywords Everywhere

Monitor opportunities and trends with these analytics tools:

Consumer Web & Retail

Social Media

  • Native platform analytics
  • SproutSocial
  • SparkToro
  • Keyhole
  • RivalIQ
  • Klear
  • See more tools from Buffer


  • Native ad analytics
  • Monitoring and analytics also provided within ad scheduling and automation tools

Use Aerio to Create Holiday Promotions

Market and sell your books online direct-to-consumer with Aerio. Use our promo code creation tool to engage your readers and capture more holiday sales:

  • Create and share unique promo codes to provide deals and incentives
  • Set use limits and preferred dates
  • Make live modifications
  • Track consumer engagement with on-demand reporting