Publishers: 5 Reasons Why Now is the Time to Sell Books Direct

Publishers: 5 Reasons Why Now is the Time to Sell Books Direct

July 11, 2018
Aerio Staff

This past year was rough for some of the top names in publishing.

According to two Publishers Weekly (PW) articles, in 2017 nearly flat saleswere reported by three of the biggest publishers. The past five years havealso seen little to no growth in the publishing industry as a whole, andPW’s annual salary and jobs survey pointed to flat sales as the #1 issuefacing the industry today, closely followed by competition from othermedia.

Halfway through 2018, it isn’t unthinkable that these trends may continueand have a rippling effect on the publishing industry at a wider scale. Oneviable solution many other businesses facing the same slowdowns haveadopted is a direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales strategy.

No matter the size, when book publishers sell direct, they can discover the added boost needed to get sales moving in the rightdirection.

A Landscape Primed for Publisher Direct Sales

In the past five years, with all the industry upheavals and addedconstraints, publishers haven’t seen a serious decline in books sales—yet.While neither PW article directly identifies where the pressure is comingfrom, in addition to outside media causing more distractions, many of thesurvey respondents cited Amazon’s aggressive business model as creatingbarriers to success.

With a consumer-base that has more options and greater control over thebuying process, relying solely on a narrow, somewhat disconnected saleschannel, isn’t going to improve your outlook.

Instead of riding out the waves of change and hoping for the best, thebusiness savvy publisher should consider more targeted ways to combat slowgrowth, such as supplementing your online sales with a DTC solution. Suchmethods are designed to expand your reach and help you move closer todecision makers—your customers—by giving you complete control over thesales cycle

5 Direct to Consumer Sales Benefits for Publishers

1. Sales Channel Diversity

Most book sales take place in a handful of locations online—the majority of them at Amazon. In addition to their market dominance,online retailers like Amazon hold most of the power when it comes todefining the sales process.

A DTC sales platform gives you a sales channel you control. You alone callthe shots on how the customer’s buying journey progresses.

For an added bonus, when using a DTC platform like Aerio, 100% of theretail profit earned goes in your pocket. Plus, as a publisher-retailer,you still have your publisher compensation earned on every sale, adding toyour direct sales revenue.

2. Offer Customers More Options

When combined with smart marketing, DTC sales can also benefit fromemergent buy local/small trends. This way, you become a double threat,gaining more profits while improving the customer experience, and thusrelationships.

According to an article from Adweek, this type of thinking has been adoptedby numerous brands looking to redirect reliance on large online retailerslike Amazon, while improving the entire customer ecommerce experience.

For more information about building your own audience withdirect-to-consumer book marketing, see:

5 Ways to Identify Your Book Audience

4 Book Marketing Tips to Engage Your Readers

3.Improved Book Discoverability

A DTC platform provides one more corner of the internet for you to place optimized book metadata and SEO keywords. A purely consumer facing platform for your publishingbrand.

Think of it like adding your very own online bookstore as an extension toyour business — more room for your customers (and search engines) toexplore.

4.Price and Discount Control

Once you establish a position of autonomy from big name online retailers,you can price your books how you see fit. You can also create promotional dealsand offer attractive discounts.

Want to run a free book giveaway campaign? Go ahead.

Want to reward a specific group of readers by offering a promo code? It’syour show.

With a DTC solution like Aerio, you can even collect pre-orders and sell backlisted titles. It’s your sales channel. You control what you sell and how you sell it.

5.Own Consumer Data

All the consumer data is yours.

With a DTC platform like Aerio, customer emails, engagement analytics andsales reports are just the beginning. When you control the sales channel,you also control the data.

Access to good data is an important part of taking ownership and managingthe customer experience. Customer data helps open lines of communication,allowing you to nurture the relationship and continue the conversation. Italso helps frame and target those conversations.

For example, engagement analyticscan ensure you’re delivering the right book marketing contentto the right audience.Targeting your audiencewith valued content makes email captures more likely. With a healthy email list, you can keep conversations moving forward with people you know areinterested.

Getting Started with Publisher Direct Sales

A decent amount of work can go into managing a direct-to-consumer salesplatform. And like most things in life and business, you’ll get out of itwhat you put in. Choosing the right platform, one that has various optionsand services to fit your specific needs, can help make it a tad easier.

On top of being scalable, Aerio has added convenience for thedirect-to-consumer publisher by helping out in a couple of key areas: fulfillment and customer support.

Since you’re basically managing the front operations of an onlinebookstore, Aerio handles everything on the backend. No more worrying aboutinventory, pulling all-nighters to get your books out the door, or beingavailable 24/7 to field questions about order status and exchanges/returns.We handle all that so you can focus on selling your great content.