Extending the Life of a Book

The other day I was pleasantly surprised when I opened my mail and found a royalty check for a good sum of money. This royalty check was from our foreign rights agent. It was for payment for copies of Baby Bible Board Books: Stories of Jesus that had been sold in Indonesia.

When we secured the foreign rights for Baby Bible Board Books, we were originally paid an advance royalty on the books by the Indonesian publisher who acquired the rights to translate, print, and sell the books in Indonesia. I figured that this advance royalty was all we were ever going to see.

I never imagined that this Indonesian publisher would sell enough copies of the book to continue to pay royalties beyond the initial payment. I was wrong.

There are a number of ways to extend the life of a book. These include:

  1. Placing the title on your back-list.
  2. Continuing to actively promote the title by tying it into current events and issues.
  3. Bundling the title with a newer book and offering it for a reduced rate.
  4. Selling foreign rights for the title.

Selling foreign rights for a title is a great way to extend the life of a book. Not only does the publisher or author continue to sell copies of the title, they do so without any ongoing efforts on their part.

I believe the best way to secure foreign rights for a title is through a foreign rights agent. These agents work to establish relationships with publishers in various countries. They know which publishers in these countries are reputable and will abide by their agreements. In addition, they negotiate the contracts and act as the liaison between the publishers.

Have you sold foreign rights for any of your books? What was your experience? I would be interested in hearing about it.

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A Strategy for Selling Books

Six books for $9.99! That’s just $1.67 per book—ebook of course.

Sourcebooks, a publisher of romance books, is offering readers this great deal. It is their new subscription plan for romance readers.

Readers who sign up for this subscription will be able to choose one of four featured romance titles each month for six months. Subscription members will also be able to purchase additional titles at a discount.

Why is Sourcebooks offering this subscription service so cheap? To hook readers. Sourcebooks wants to build a loyal following of romance readers who will return again and again to purchase books.

I think this strategy is a great way to build an audience for books. However, to use this type of subscription approach, a publisher must produce a number of new books on a regular basis.

How might this type of strategy serve a small publisher?

If you are a small publisher producing a series (fiction series, Bible study series, children’s book series), consider this idea. You could offer people who purchase the first book in your series a chance to purchase the remaining books in the series at a discount.

This strategy is much like selling pre-publication copies of a book. Readers who enjoy the first book in the series would then pay for the remaining books (at an irresistible price) in advance. Each book would then be shipped to the customer when they are released.

Creativity, thinking outside the box, and trying new things is how publishers will remain viable and sell books in today’s economy.

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The 2012 Book of the Year Award Winners!

The votes are in and counted. The winners of the 2012 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award have been determined!

Over 3,500 book lovers and retailers selling Christian products voted on 94 nominated titles in 12 categories.

The winners in each of the 12 categories are:

Fiction  –  Yahshua’s Bridge, Sandi Rog, DeWard Publishing Company

Romance  –  Hearts Communion, Marianne Evans, White Rose Publishing

Christian Living  –  Walking in Broken Shoes, Susan Magnuson Walsh, Grace Acres Press

Bible Study / Theology  –  The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved, J. Phillips, TheDiscipleWhomJesusLoved.com

Devotional  –  Just Honor God, Dr. Rick Metrick, ShadeTree Publishing

Biography  –  Mr. Awana, Art Rorheim, Grace Acres Press

Relationships / Family  –  Deliver Me: Help, Hope, & Healing through True Stories of Unplanned Pregnancy, Dianne E. Butts, Connections Press

Children’s (age 4 to 8)  –  Today I Found God, Greg Long, author; Nathan Wondrak, illustrator; Halo Publishing International

Children’s (age 8 to 12)  –  What Do Heroes Wear?, Gary Bower, author; Jan Bower, illustrator; Storybook Meadow Publishing

Young Adult (age 12+)  –  Purity’s Big Payoff / Premarital Sex is a Big Rip-Off, Donna Lee Schillinger, Editor; The Quilldriver

Gift Book  –  A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider, N.J. Lindquist & Wendy E. Nelles, Editors; That’s Life! Communication

eBook Exclusive  –  Keyboarding for the Christian School, Elementary Edition, Leanne Beitel, Christian Keyboarding

Congratulations to the winners!

The Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award is sponsored by Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA).

Looking for a great book to read next? Try one of the winners of the CSP Book of the Year Award listed here.

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The World is Ready for eBooks

Bowker’s recent Market Research Global eBook Monitor Study looked at consumer attitudes about ebooks among the online population of ten countries: Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Japan, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The study found that more than 20% of these global readers had bought an ebook in the past six months. Even most of those who had not purchased an ebook were aware that they exist—80% of the survey respondents.

I sometimes get email requests from people in Asian and African countries who request Christian literature. They ask that I mail them books to read since they are poor and cannot afford Christian books to help them with their spiritual growth.

While I am aware that many of these requests are probably scams, in the event that some are truly seeking help with their spiritual lives, I do respond to these emails. With the advent of ebooks, I am able to write these individuals back and let them know that since they have access to the Internet, they have access to a large body of Christian literature in the form of ebooks. I also provide them with some links to free Christian ebooks.

Not only have ebooks allowed poor individuals more access to Christian material for their spiritual growth, they have opened up a vast new arena of sales for publishers. Kelly Gallagher, vice president of publishing services at Bowker, says, “The world is ready for digital books and it’s a far bigger marketplace than we thought.”

According to Bowker’s Global eBook Study, Australia, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States led the world in ebook adoption rates, but Brazil and India may represent the best opportunities for publishers to sell ebooks in the future. More than 50% of respondents in India and Brazil plan to buy an ebook in the next six months as compared to about one-third of respondents in the United Kingdom and the United States who stated they plan to purchase an ebook in the next six months.

If you are looking to broaden your sales reach with ebooks, focus on the countries that lead the world in ebook adoption rates. These countries are by-and-large English-speaking, making sales into these countries via ebooks readily available for books written in English.

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