Lucrative Nontraditional Markets for Selling Books


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Did you know that 52% of all books are not sold in bookstores? This is just the tip of the iceberg! If you want to take your business to another level, there are many other venues for selling books and tapes. Let's do some “out of the box" thinking and explore these avenues:

Catalogs. There are more than 15,000 consumer and business-to-business catalogs that cover every imaginable subject. Find the ones that already have your customer base and convince them about the value of carrying your book. You can do this online or via the library, which will have various directories. Catalogs have three wonderful advantages: they never return books; they pay promptly; and they order month after month, year after year.

Gift shops. Many readers of this article have books that would do well in the gift market. To appeal here your price point should be under $10, the cover bright and beguiling, and the book a good impulse item. To locate wholesalers and distributors that specialize in servicing such stores, research in Literary Market Place (LMP).

Nontraditional retail outlets. Some stores sell books as sidelines, items that complement their other merchandise. Gourmet shops, Sporting goods stores, home improvement establishments, and children's shops are good examples. Think about where people who could benefit from your message shop, then offer the outlet eight or ten copies on consignment to get the ball rolling.

Premiums. Most corporations have huge marketing budgets for creating goodwill and turning prospects into clients or customers. A book is the ideal goodwill builder because people value books; they don't throw them away. Apply “LinkThink" and look for the tie-in. Do you have a guide on personal finance that you could sell to a bank or investment brokerage? Could your health-oriented book interest a pharmaceutical company or hospital?

Libraries. This is an overlooked and undervalued sales outlet. Libraries must have books, so why not yours? Contact branches in your local area. People who check out books read the author bios . . . and may be in a position to recommend or hire you. Additionally, we've sold tons of books to individuals because they first discovered our titles in the library. People call to order our Complete Guide to Self-Publishing because they've worn out the library copy!

The list could go on and on: merchandising your books on the Internet (both on your site and on others), using direct mail, including an order flyer in everything you mail out, etc. The point is to expand your thinking about opportunities for book sales. Inject your book sales with steroids—and go from survival to “thrival. "

© Copyright 2005 Marilyn Ross

Marilyn and Tom Ross are the coauthors of 13 books including the best-selling Complete Guide to Self-Publishing and the award-winning Jump Start Your Book Sales. Through phone consultations and ongoing coaching/mentoring, Marilyn empowers authors and self-publishers to realize their dreams. She can be reached at 719-395-8659 or

Visit for free meaty information on writing, self-publishing, and book marketing strategies.


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