The solution to the wholesale/retail bookstore issue I discussed in the last posting was to combine both bookstores into one single store, and that is what we did with the launch of Version 4.0 of the Outskirts Press website. We retained both URL links to the store but focus mostly on just promoting a single one: outskirtspress.com/bookstore
For example, this is the URL that appears at the end of most of our book videos, driving potential customers to the online store where they can get the book from the video they just watched on YouTube.
Now the retail store and wholesale store act in concert with one another seamlessly, by offering a tiered discount structure to the customer depending upon the quantity of books he/she buys. In fact, even retail orders of just 1 book receive a discount. After all, we save money by not having to sell that book through Ingram & Amazon; why not pass that savings on to the book buyer? The author still receives their full royalty in any case.
Retail orders are defined by quantity purchases of 1-9 copies of a single book. For those purchases, the bookstore automatically applies a 10% discount to the retail price. I discussed a bit about this and the reasoning behind it in some of my June posts.
Wholesale orders are defined by quantity purchases of 10 copies or more. For those purchases, the bookstore automatically applies whatever trade discount the author set during their publishing process. The majority of our discounts range between 25% – 50%, but in some cases authors elect to set a 55% trade discount on their book. Whatever price plan the author selected is the discount available to retailers, wholesalers, or customers who purchase those books direct from Outskirts Press at outskirtspress.com/bookstore in quantities of 10 or more.
This is advantageous to everyone involved. The retailer gets a better margin than if they ordered from Ingram and the author still gets their full royalty. In fact, at industry-standard 55% trade discounts, retailers are accustomed to just 40% margins, since Ingram often takes 15%. But by removing Ingram from the equation, our authors can offer retailers a better deal, which incentivizes more retailers into ordering our authors’ books.
These discounts are reflected dynamically on the bookstore detail pages for every book in an effort to incentivize customers to order more quantities, too. In fact, we’ve had authors order OTHER authors’ books at wholesale prices when they knew they were going to be attending a major book event, because anytime you buy low and sell high you have a profit-generating opportunity.
The changes worked. Both retail and wholesale bookstore orders increased substantially with the introduction of the new Outskirts Press direct bookstore.
In fact, the downside is that some of our authors became a little confused. Getting up to a 55% discount on books ordered through the Outskirts Press bookstore sounds so good, some of our authors have purchased their own copies from the store when, in fact, they get an even better discount within their own publishing center. As a result, our IT department added an “alert” that triggers if the bookstore recognizes an author purchasing their own book from the bookstore instead of from their Publishing Center.
We’re using similar alerts to notify authors and potential authors of the discounts they can receive on our a la carte writing and marketing services if they elect to publish with Outskirts Press. But that’s a topic for a future post.