- Posted by admin@Unwin
- On 25th July 2019
For some titles, pre-orders account for up to 30% of total book sales. It’s definitely time for independents to get the benefits from taking pre-orders from their customers.
We invited Nic Bottomley (of Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath, UK, and current BA President) and Christine Onorati (owner of WORD booksellers in Brooklyn, New York and Jersey City, and ABA Board Member) to join us in a #UCTmentor chat on May 14, 2019. Here are their top tips for indies:
1.There is a growing trend for readers to want exciting new books from their favourite authors in their hands on the day of publication. You can be a part of this trend and benefit your bookshop – it’s not just for chains and online.
2. See pre-orders as an extension of what you already do, not a ‘new service’ you have to offer from scratch. We already curate, spot and recommend new, personalised books for our customers, so why not pre-orders?
3. Educate your customers into the world of pre-orders – teach them that this is just part of the excellent service you already offer.
4. Experience in the US shows once customers get used to being able to pre-order titles, they keep doing so, and for other books.
5. Don’t worry about discounts and online competition: focus instead on systems and excellent service. Publishers and distributors are doing their best to make it a level playing field for indies, but we need to step up in terms of systems, processes, staff training, respecting embargoes, etc.
6. Don’t just think about the ‘mega-sellers’ – what other titles can you give the pre-order treatment to? Focus on taking pre-orders for those titles and authors you already champion and have a market for amongst customers.
7. Many publishers and distributors are working to help independent publishers – use them! Start with publishers you already have a great relationship with and register your desire to do pre-orders.
8. Approach authors and publishers you know and add ‘extra content’ or bonuses for pre-orders.
9. Remember, it’s not just about the price!
10. And the final word: start small, test, gain confidence and just make it part of your excellent service.
Thanks to both Nic and Christine for generously giving their time and expertise to offer advice and tips on this hot topic for booksellers. And if you feel your bookshop could benefit from free mentoring as part of the Unwin Charitable Trust’s Booksellers’ Mentoring Programme – follow this link.