Seismic-level statistics recently sent shockwaves through the publishing industry. A presentation at Digital Book World 2017 by the Data Guy revealed these surprising details:
- 69% of book all sales, including print, digital, and audio, are now made online and only 31% of books are bought in brick-and-mortar stores!
- Amazon accounts for 74% of all U.S. e-book purchases!
- In 2016, Amazon’s marketshare of all U.S. print books sold increased to 42%! (38% in 2015)
These statistics present a new reality for every author, publisher, and book retailer. Almost 7 out of 10 books are now purchased online, and most people are buying on Amazon. Everyone knows that Amazon has been unstoppable. But, few people knew the trend towards purchase online – and not at bookstores – was growing so fast.
In other words, if you’re going to thrive in the future, you must master the keys to selling books online and on Amazon’s website. Below are six tips to help:
1. More than ever before, shoppers will determine to buy a book based on the promotional copy they read displayed on the book’s product page. Make sure this copy starts with a strong marketing hook and ends by telling the benefits for readers.
2. Design book covers to look good at a small size for book retailer websites and tiny mobile device screens. Small fonts and artistic details will not be legible.
3. Review the product description page for every book you sell on Amazon (and other online retailers, B&N, BAM, CBD, etc.). Make sure all information is correct, including the price, correct cover art publication date, author, revisions, promo copy, publisher, format, page count, etc. You’d be stunned how many book description pages display incorrect information.
4. Setup an Amazon author page and keep the information current, including bio, photo, author website URL, book library, promo videos, and social media feeds.
5. Keep a close watch on your book inventory at Amazon. I’ve seen too many publishers let their stock run out and customers get a message from Amazon saying, “This book will not be available for purchase until 1 – 3 weeks.” Plan ahead for printing delays or marketing activities that could deplete inventory too quickly.
6. Since Amazon draws the largest online marketshare, consider buying ads on their website or email newsletters to cross-promote books and reach a wider audience.
The future is now. You must excel at selling books through online retail websites. This doesn’t mean bookstores will disappear. Ironically, Amazon is planning to open more bookstores themselves. However, consumers have voted with their wallet, and they’re headed online. How prepared are you to meet them there?