Sales Synergy: What IBPA Members Sell Besides Books, Part 3
“We love our product and service combination.” That’s one conclusion you’ll find as you read the IBPA members’ reports that follow. Although the pitch of enthusiasm isn’t always this high, publishers who responded to our “What do you sell besides books?” email are generally pleased with what happens when they provide not just books but also related products and services to a variety of target markets.
This is the last scheduled roundup on the subject, but you’re invited to share additional experiences with product/service mixes at any time. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.—Judith Appelbaum
For Smoother Cash Flow
We publish resource books about the teaching profession for teachers, schools, and university preparation programs. We also sell books published by others and a few classroom-related products, and we offer staff development workshops and Webinars for teachers.
We began selling products other than our own books during our first two years in business. Since most of our books are for new teachers, we would make huge sales in June through September and very few sales between October and the beginning of May. I felt that selling other products might increase our revenue and cash flow throughout the year, which they have.
Providing staff development workshops has proved to be another good way to generate additional revenue throughout the year.
It is also a plus to be able to offer a wider variety of products to our regular Web site visitors and school customers.
Emma McDonald, M.Ed.
Inspiring Teachers Publishing, Inc.
To promote my book Hug Your Kids Today! 5 Key Lessons for Every Working Parent, I started National Hug Your Kids Day, which is listed in Chase’s Calendar of Events. I also secure corporate sponsorships for my holiday’s events. It’s a feel-good win:win.
For my holiday last year (its first year) I had:
events in 17 states
135 digital billboards in 17 major cities
8 contests in Gannett newspapers
announcements on 3 Major League Baseball Jumbotrons
2 special events (the Biggest Little Hug in Reno and the One-Minute Hug in Red Bluff, CA)
my book launch
Creating the holiday helped me win the 2008 Governor’s Award in Nevada for Start-up Business of the Year. As a result, I’ve generated a lot of media publicity, and somehow, I always end up talking about my book.
Note: If you’re interested in starting your own holiday, here’s a link to an interview where I discussed key factors to consider before proceeding: tinyurl.com/r587dk
Hug Your Kids Today
The Mix Was Part of the Plan
In our business model, books and services are inexorably linked, as each enhances and supports the other. Our books enable our educational services; our professional consulting services give us the field experience necessary to maintain a high degree of excellence in our books; and the credentials related to our books and educational services help promote our professional consulting services.
We also sell software products in the more traditional computer program format. We consider our professional technology titles and training manuals and our related software our publishing products. The development processes for creating software and books are remarkably similar, and even the final delivery formats are converging as trends toward electronic book delivery continue.
We conceived and constituted our company with this product/service mix. Now, after more than seven successful years, we’re very happy with the outcome.
Gary L. Chefetz
With a View to Attracting New Customers
Off Ramp Publishing produces books on parenting, family, and children. The nonbook product that we sell—a babyface gift set—contains all-natural, organic baby bath products from San Diego Natural Soap Co. tucked neatly inside a reusable gift pouch, along with a copy of What Haven’t They Told Me? Practical Tips for Surviving and Thriving During Baby’s First Year. The services that we sell include writing, copy editing, and consulting on the self-publishing process.
We decided to sell the gift set and services to expand our market share and respond to customer requests, and we’re very glad we made that decision. As a result, the company is stronger financially and appeals to a wider audience, which means that we can target companies and individuals who were previously not interested in doing business with us.
Lorraine E. Fisher
Off Ramp Publishing
I publish nonfiction with a multicultural, bilingual flavor (Mariachi for Gringos and Soccer’s Story and a Futbol Fable). I also sell a DVD (Fishing Mexico with Both Feet on the Ground), give interactive “performances” (mariachi, soccer, fishing) at public libraries, and present elementary-school assembly programs (focusing on improving literacy). The DVD and the services are a good fit for our skill set, and they have broadened the visibility of our printed materials.
In the first half of this year, our schedule has included more than 30 events, which certainly reflects heightened awareness of what we do. We have also raised significant amounts of money, in very tough economic times, for several worthy causes. For instance, the Chula Vista Elementary School District’s Interscholastic Soccer League needed funds to train, certify, and pay qualified high-school students as referees. I donated the honorariums from my assembly programs, as well as all the profits from the sales of our newest book on soccer, until the league’s financial goals were met (for more information on how it worked, visit the CVESD Soccer League’s Web site at cvsoccer.clubspaces.com/default_css.aspx).
Amigo del Mar Press
Helping Our Books Help
InsideOut Publishing develops books and products to improve the lives and well-being of others, with a focus on interactive products geared to women, young girls, and the disability community. Our courses, DVDs, workshops, and online sessions complement our books.
Combining coaching and workshops with our books seemed a natural way to help our customers move ahead in life. We love our product and service combination and are excited by generating more products and services every year.
Our books are nonfiction related to publishing/business, adopted pets/rescue, and vegetarianism. Our products are software and templates related to our computer-tips books. Our services include writing, editing, graphic design, consulting, and coaching related to my book Publishize. And we also run an association that we founded for people involved in pet rescue, which relates to our pet books.
We added books to our products and services as one plank of a larger platform. Many people graduate to the books from free stuff they get on our various Web sites, and then up to more personalized or higher-end products and services.
The books have added an income stream and opened doors we couldn’t have imagined. Becoming a book publisher has been a great decision for us. Unlike e-books or “information products,” true print books convey a level of credibility and permanence that can’t be matched.
Logical Expressions, Inc.
What Workshops Contribute
Lost Horse Press publishes poetry and literary fiction, sells computer-generated broadsides, and hosts writers’ workshops, an annual writers’ conference, and a young adult and children’s writing workshop in conjunction with the local library.
LHP is now known for its quality workshops as well as its publications, with the workshops providing a way to promote literary works that are largely ignored by bookstores, and a way to sell books when I use one of my authors as a workshop presenter.
Lost Horse Press
About Fiction in Various Forms
Along with our suspense/thriller novels, we offer e-books and audiobooks. The audiobooks are available on digital download, CD set, and USB flash drive.
Our AudioMovie (an enhanced audiobook) has been a big hit, and the USB flash drive version is creating a buzz, both for us as publishers and for the author of Resonance, A.J. Scudiere.
Griffyn Ink Publishing
Kids’ Books Accompaniments
I publish nonfiction (Headline Books), fiction (Publisher Page), and children’s books (Headline Kids).
We sell characters from our children’s books as dolls, stuffed animals, and puppets, as well as kits to make characters in the books, purses, coloring books, art kits, travel kits, art prints, T-shirts, audiobooks, and DVDs. All these items are manufactured in the United States. Also, I offer a School Show Program that my authors participate in, and we do full-scale book fairs and resort conference packages.
headlinebooks.com, publisherpage.com, headlinekids.com
Classes Help Build Skills
Along with our parenting books, we sell “feelings” posters and classes. Books are really good for communicating parenting theory, but many people need to practice skills in an experiential learning environment.
Parents try the skills at home and see what outcomes present and then come back to class to discuss and fine-tune what they have learned.
Professional Parenting Canada
More for Crafting Book Buyers
DRG publishes crafting books and magazines in several categories: crochet, knit, sew, quilt, tat, plastic canvas, cross stitch, beading, paper crafts, and card making. We also publish nostalgia books about the good old days in the United States in the 1930s and 1940s.
We sell supplies related to our craft categories, including patterns, projects, notions, yarn, thread, and fabric. We also sell do-it-yourself craft kits in each of our crafting categories plus woodworking and ornament-of-the-month kits. And we offer distribution and fulfillment services through our sister division (Strategic Fulfillment Group).
The nonbook products and services we offer are logical add-ons to our current core publishing and direct marketing channels, and we are pleased with their sales.
Taking Aim at the Achievement Gap
We publish multicultural books and provide diversity services for a variety of audiences, particularly educators. We also sell posters and (debuting this year) music to complement our books. Our books and services are designed to promote culturally responsive and relevant educational environments that help young people achieve in educational settings. Therefore, the services and products work hand in hand
My company is concerned about what has been termed the Achievement Gap and works tirelessly to address this challenge along with a host of other educational issues. Because America is not doing a great job educating many of our students, I travel all over the country doing keynotes and training.
Our work is important, and I like to think we are making a small difference.
The Culture Co-op