By-Pass Marketing and Book Selling

In a recent teleseminar presented by Steve Harrison, with featured speaker Jack Canfield, I learned that “only one out of seven people in the United States go into book stores to buy a book.”

According to an April 17, 2010 release from The Association of American Publishers:
The Association of American Publishers (AAP) has today released its annual estimate of total book sales in the United States [for 2009]. The report, which uses data from the Bureau of the Census as well as sales data from eighty-six publishers inclusive of all major book publishing media market holders, estimates that U.S. publishers had net sales of $23.9 billion in 2009, down from $24.3 billion in 2008, representing a 1.8% decrease. In the last seven years the industry had a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.1 percent.
 Although net sales were down 1.8%, American book publishers still had net sales of $23.9 billion. So, where are all these books being sold if not in book stores.
Through this teleseminar, I learned of the term, by-pass marketing—Jack Canfield mentioned it. What exactly does it mean? And, since Canfield explained that only one in seven people buy books through bookstores, where exactly are the rest of the books being purchased?

By-pass marketing is selling in places you wouldn’t expect to see books for sale. Canfield mentioned venues I never even thought of. Putting on my thinking cap, I thought of a couple more.

Some By-pass Venues for Selling Books:

  • Bakeries
  • Nail salons
  • Gas stations
  • Beauty salons
  • Spas
  • Cleaners
  • Tailors
  • Doctor offices
  • Chiropractic and Acupuncture offices
  • Radiology offices
  • Local restaurants

You get the idea; sell anywhere you can. Think of establishments in your area where you have to wait for services or that get a lot of traffic. Talk to management or the owner and offer a percentage of sales or a set amount per book. This is a win-win situation for you and the establishment. They have absolutely no investment of money, time, or effort, therefore no risk. Yet, they have the opportunity to make money. This should be a no-brainer on their part. All you need to do is ask.

Remember: Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Related Articles:

When Blogging Use Images Carefully – They May Be Copyrighted
Book Marketing – The Foundation


Karen Cioffi
Platform Building with Content Marketing


Unknown said...

Great article, thanks.

Karen Cioffi said...


I'm glad you found it useful.

T. Forehand said...

good information, thanks for sharing.

Mayra Calvani said...

Hmm. Interesting. I knew bookstores weren't number one. I wonder how many now turn to online places like amazon for books.

Karen Cioffi said...

Hey, Mayra,

I wouldn't be surprised if Amazon is #1. I know I get most of my books through them.

Nancy Famolari said...

Excellent article. I think many people don't go into bookstores anymore, especially when buying books on line is so convenient. I'll have to try venues like the local merchants. Thanks for the tip!

Karen Cioffi said...

But, although you can get books online, if you're not drawing the readers/buyers that way, these alternatives might be something to look into.

Karen Cioffi said...

Hey, Nancy,

I'm going to try some of these avenues also.

Thanks for stopping by.

Katie Hines said...

I was all ready to join, but $27/month is too much for me what with my husband being unemployed. But,I'll try to remember this option for when he has a job.

Karen Cioffi said...

Hey, Katie, I know exactly what you mean.

Thank goodness, I'm making enough to cover my writing expenses and when you get the chance, it's so worth it. I know I wouldn't be in contract today if it wasn't for Suzanne's guidance and information.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Interesting information. I have a hard time imagining those types of establishments as successful venues. I wonder what kind of books sell best in that sort of environment? But you are so right, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Deb Hockenberry said...

Hi Karen,
Great article & good ideas!

Karen Cioffi said...

Jane and Deb, thanks for stopping by.

Jane, One of the members in VBT Writers on the Move (Gayle Trent) has mystery books with baking as a back theme - could you picture her books in a bakery.

Travel books in gas stations, ect.

I have a bedtime picture book - my writing coach suggested I ask baby stores if they'd like to carry my books, or even give them away with purchases over a certain amount.

Once you start thinking, it's amazing what you can come up with.

Laura Ann Dunks said...

Such a good idea, I would never have thought of that!

Laura Ann Dunks

Karen Cioffi said...

Hi Laura,

Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you found the info helpful.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

This is a great article. I've had a few books sold through a beauty shop. I met the woman who owns it at the book store where I was having a singing. So you never know.

Heidiwriter said...

This is great! Ironically, I'm finding it to be true, I sell fewer books in bookstores than anywhere else! My book, Cowgirl Dreams, is western and rodeo related, so some western wear, feed stores, or tack shops will sell it as well as gift shops and some museums.


Karen Cioffi said...

Beverly and Heidi, It really is about trying. I agree, you just never know. And, it pays to take advantage when opportunity knocks.

Maraya said...

Thanks for this info Karen as well as your succinct review of Carolyn Johnson's book.
As soon as my book is out, I plan to go to book reader's group, New Age groups, Body-Mind-Health stores, etc. etc. It takes planning and determination but does make those unused brain cells develop new neuron pathways. Never too old! (lol)

Karen Cioffi said...

Mayra, I'm with you--you're never too old to learn new tricks and walk the walk. :)

Anonymous said...

I've gotten books from Amazon. You can go online anytime to place an order. I do still like going into book stores, but don't get the chance to do it very often. You can take the book off the shelf, hold it, thumb through it. I guess it's all a matter of convenience for most people.

Karen Cioffi said...

Suzanne, time and convenience is it in a nutshell. Everyone is in a rush and getting out, going to a book store takes time.

I love them, but don't get to them much either.