content=”Bully on the Bus, by Carl Bosch, a Connecticut middle school counselor, was published in 1988 as part of the Decision Is Yours”>Bully on the Bus, by Carl Bosch, a Connecticut middle school counselor,
was published in 1988 as part of the Decision Is Yours
A PMA ROUNDTABLE
Books with Long Lives, Part 2
What makes a book keep selling?
There’s no single short answer, of course, but clues emerge from PMA members’
reports. Last month, we ran one group of responses to an email blast about
books that rack up sales over time. Here’s a second crop.
“Rotten Kid” Sells to Schools
My autobiography, <span
class=95StoneSerifIt>East Side Dreams,
tells how I started as a rotten kid and became a successful businessman. It has
had six printings so far—2,000, 3,000, 3,000 again, 4,000, 4,000 again,
and 10,000. I have around 2,000 left from the last printing and am ready for
another. Sales have been constant year to year.
The book is on the required
reading list for all court schools in California, and for many independent
continuation schools plus many regular schools. I also reach my targeted
readers—young adults, especially Latinos– through Milligan News
wholesalers, Ingram, Baker & Taylor, and my distributor, Biblio. In fact,
today I received Biblio’s new catalog and a letter telling me that since <span
class=95StoneSerifIt>East Side Dreams
was one of their backlist bestsellers for 2006, they have put the cover of this
book on the cover of the new catalog free of charge.
Fitness Professionals Fuel Sales
Eat, Move and Be Healthy! by Paul
Chek had a first printing of 10,000 in February 2004, a second printing of
20,000 in September 2004, and a third printing of 20,000 in January 2006. Our
fourth is scheduled for this month. Through November 2006, sales totaled
Our in-house customers and
international distributors bought the first 7,000 copies within six months, and
then we saw a slowdown until mainstream marketing and distribution kicked in
when we signed with Greenleaf. Since May 2005, sales numbers have increased in
Fitness professionals are an
especially good market for the book, partly because the author is well known
among them and speaks at industry conventions worldwide, and partly because
they are our biggest market for other products and educational programs.
Continued sales efforts include an
ad in Radio/Television
Interview Report, which produces two to six inquiries about
interviews each time; more speaking engagements; a course centered on the book
that we’re developing; and adoptions by corporate wellness programs.
Because There Are Bullies
on the Bus, by Carl Bosch, a
Connecticut middle-school counselor, was published in 1988 as part of the <span
class=95StoneSerifIt>Decision Is Yours
series for 7- to 11-year-olds from Parenting Press. It’s 64 pages, written in a
you-choose-what-happens-next format. The original print run was 3,200. With
more than 47,000 copies in print today, the book has averaged close to 3,000
copies in sales each year.
It’s sold so steadily because
bullying was, is, and will continue to be a problem for kids. The largest
market has always been schools and counselors. Early marketing efforts included
getting it into school-supply catalogs. Our latest marketing effort has been
submitting the entire Decision
Is Yours series to the California Department of Education, which
has now approved it for supplemental use in classrooms. Next step: pursuing
approval by other state education departments.
The sales history for this title
is typical of many Parenting Press children’s books that teach problem solving.
Especially for Grandmas
We came out with a children’s book
that also has great appeal for a sweet and powerful new group, the Baby-Boomer
Grandmas. We are here and we are cool and we LOVE our grandbabies.
Go to Grandma’s House came out in
February of 2004. Our initial order of 5,000 sold out in nine weeks. Sales have
leveled off some, but we are up 17,850 in print with about 1,000 in stock, and
the revenue has allowed us to publish three more books on related subjects.
Together, they have sold more than 35,000 copies. I am not an expert on
numbers, but I have been told our numbers are good, especially for children’s
To keep the book selling, we are
working hard! We go into schools, libraries, community gatherings, church
gatherings. I have a presentation that has been well received; the heart of its
message is simply this: Take time to make your memories today, for in the end,
it’s all we really have.
Janet Mary (Janet Mary Sinke)
Grandma and Me Publishers
Download Delivery Works for
I’ve had six books that have sold
slowly and steadily for at least 10 to 15 years, after a healthy first-year
spurt of probably 4,000 to 5,000 copies sold through the usual suspects: mostly
bookstores plus Quality and other library vendors (this was before Web stores
were part of the blend).
But the oddest one is my short
(128-page) but funny Treasure
and Scavenger Hunts, an orphan book because it never fit into our
writing, speaking, empire-building, or dental/medical lines.
It came out in 1994 and was
roundly applauded, but nobody could figure how to classify it: hobby, games,
entertainment? When I found it in bookstores or libraries, it was in the least
Yet it has sold some 10,000 copies
in print and continues to find new champions and provoke library replacement orders.
Mostly, it is a word-of-mouth book that is directly ordered 95 percent of the
time by phone. Typically, “A friend told me about . . .”
What has kept it alive and a
beloved sinecure as I approach decrepitude is the Web. Most of our orders in
the past two years have been for the download version since “I need this book <span
party is this weekend!” So in a few minutes it sits at their server, we put
$15.95 in our account, and not a tree is touched.
The future? Two days ago, I
ordered 500 more printed copies of the third edition, since Amazon.com orders 8
to 16 a week, Lightning Source sells additional digital copies, and libraries
need more to hide somewhere in their stacks.
Not very inspiring, maybe, but it
pays a few uninspiring bills.
Writer, Publisher, Sometimes Funny
It took three and a half years to
sell the first printing (5,000 copies in the year 2000) of my book <span
class=95StoneSerifIt>The College Student’s Guide
to Eating Well on Campus, but now we’ve sold 18,000, and sales
The targeted readers are
college-age students, but the target market is their parents, and the book is
also marketed as a supplementary text for college nutrition courses
The “freshman 15” is a hot topic every
fall. When Jane Brody mentioned it in <span
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>The New York Times four years after the
first edition was published, I sold over 1,000 copies in a day.
A contract food-service company
that serves 1,000 college campuses offers me as a speaker to its clients. That
company buys books directly from me, and I get paid for the talks.
Promotion Largely Pinned to the
The first printing of <span
class=95StoneSerifIt>George Whalin’s Retail
Success! Increase Sales, Maximize Profits, and Wow Your Customers in the Most
Competitive Marketplace in History was 1,500 copies. Since the
book came out in 2001, we’ve sold 15,980.
We sell to audiences when the
author does speeches and seminars and to manufacturers as premiums for their
retailer customers. We display the book at library/book shows with PMA and
Combined Book Exhibit and promote it in the author’s monthly online retail
management newsletter. When the author is quoted in newspapers and magazines or
interviewed on TV and radio about retail issues, the book is one of his
credentials as an expert.
Now we are starting to market
translation rights. When we publish an updated edition of the book this year,
we will piggyback promotion on a new book by the same author.
Press and Retail Management Consultants
Year After Year for Yellowstone
Sales of <span
class=95StoneSerifIt>Yellowstone Treasures: The
Traveler’s Companion to the National Park have remained good over
the four and a half years it has been on the market. Our targeted readers
include park visitors, especially those with children and older visitors with
time to savor Yellowstone’s wonders; armchair travelers; and patrons of public
The first edition came out in
winter of 2002, with a printing of 5,000 copies, and won the Gold Award for
Travel Guides in ForeWordMagazine’s
competition that year. In 2003 we printed 5,000 more, followed by 2,500 in
2004. The fully updated second edition was published in 2005, this time with
10,000 copies, about three-quarters of them sold by the end of 2006.
Monthly sales have peaked and
dipped rather wildly, but we can always count on making most sales in March
through July. Between August and early February, wholesalers are mostly not
Independent Publishers Group
distributes the book to wholesalers and booksellers, and its sales to Barnes& Noble, Borders, and Amazon.com have been excellent, but independent
bookstores do not sell this title at all well—not even the 50 small stores
that requested a free copy through the Book Sense program in 2002. The visitor
centers and hotel gift shops in and near Yellowstone itself are also steady
buyers, and we sell a few books through our prize-winning Web site.
I have done quite a few combined
slide shows and book signings; other signings at sales venues, some accompanied
by newspaper articles; a few radio interviews and one on TV; and three large
mailings to public libraries (including one through PMA’s Library Mailings
program). Ads in two spring issues of <span
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>National Parks magazine aroused a lot of
interest in the book, but the most effective tool has been word of mouth
through park visitors who have used the book and rave about it either in person
or on a Yellowstone Park chat page on the Internet.
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>Yellowstone Treasures has proved to be
almost as popular as I had hoped, I plan to keep updating and marketing it as
long as I can or until I am 80 years old—whichever comes first!