The Growing Demand for Paper

The cost to print a book keeps increasing. IngramSpark and Lightning Source recently raised their printing fees—again. A number of independent authors are frustrated by the rising costs.

The Demand for Paper is Increasing

We live in a digital age. If we are operating more in the digital realm, shouldn’t paper consumption be going down? If consumption is going down, wouldn’t this mean that paper is more affordable due to supply and demand?

Historically a shrinking demand would have led to overcapacity and cheaper prices in the paper industry. However, according the Publishing Executive, this is no longer the case.

In fact, we are using more paper due to booming ecommerce.  When people purchase goods online, these items must be shipped to them—and they are shipped in cardboard packages. Cardboard is paper. As a result, the demand for cardboard is increasing.

In response, the two or three manufacturers of paper products that dominate the North American paper industry (they produce 90% of paper) have designated more of their machines for making cardboard. This means there are fewer machines making paper for magazines and books, reducing the supply and increasing the price.

Paper is still very popular with people. Paper is safe, secure, sustainable, and trusted. Two Sides, a nonprofit initiative, has found that:

  • 64% of 18-24-year-olds are concerned the overuse of electronic devices could be damaging to their health.
  • 88% of people believe they understand, retain or use information better when they read print.
  • 68% believe that books are more likely to encourage learning and the development of other skills than using screens.
  • 56% of individuals trust the news stories they read in printed newspapers, while only 35% trust the news stories they read in social media.

Additional reasons people still love print are listed in the infographic below.

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Print Is Not Disappearing
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You Have to Spend Money to…

Sometimes, you have to spend money to save money. It seems counter intuitive, but it is true.

Take membership warehouse clubs— think Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s. Each of these clubs charges members an annual membership fee to shop in their warehouses. A whole host of cost-saving benefits come with a club membership, helping members save money on needed everyday items and services. The overall benefit is a win for members, as savings add up to more than what members pay for an annual membership.

Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) operates under the same premise. The association offers independent authors and small publishers a host of cost-saving benefits. The savings provided members of the association adds up to more than the cost of an annual membership. Some of these cost-saving benefits include:

  1. Free title setup and revisions with IngramSpark (a minimum $45 savings).
  2. Free title setup and first year market access fee waived with Lightning Source (a minimum $50 savings).
  3. A 15% discount on Bowker’s products including ISBNs and barcodes at myidentifiers.com (a minimum $18 savings on one ISBN).
  4. A $25 credit when accessing Reedsy’s services which include editing and cover design.
  5. A 10% discount when ordering book templates and cover designs from Book Design Templates (a $5 minimum savings).
  6. A summer publicity special from a publicist for CIPA Members saving them hundreds of dollars in publicity service fees.

These are just a few of the ways Christian Indie Publishing Association saves our members money. In addition, the association offers members free downloads on a number of checklists and reference guides that usually cost money to obtain. These include:

  • A list of over 70 radio and podcast outlets interviewing authors with contact information.
  • A Checklist for Creating a Professional-Looking Book.
  • A Book Launch Marketing Checklist.
  • A Metadata Checklist.

Christian Indie Publishing Association

Joining a publishing association can save you money in the long run. Don’t just take my word for it. Members of Christian Indie Publishing Association agree. They say:

The benefits I have already reaped from membership in CIPA have far surpassed the membership fee. CIPA has far exceeded my expectations in terms of the outstanding resources you provide for authors.”

You can read more testimonials at https://www.christianpublishers.net/membership/testimonials.

Christian Indie Publishing Association is running a summer special on Membership with the organization. For just $120 you can join now and receive membership through December 2020. That’s 18-months of membership and a savings of $60 for you!

Don’t miss out on your chance to save money. If you are not a member, you can join today at: https://www.christianpublishers.net/membership/become-a-member.

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Photo courtesy of Maitree Rimthong.

Nominations Now Open for the 2020 Christian Indie Awards

Winning a book award is one of the best promotional tools an author can have.

Not only does the book become an award-winning title worthy of media attention, the author also becomes an award-winning author. Authors who win a book award can bill themselves as an award-winning author on all their marketing materials, in their media kits, and on their subsequent books.

However, you can’t win a book award unless you enter a book contest.

Nominations are now OPEN for the 2020 Christian Indie Awards. Any independently published Christian author or small publisher can nominate a Christian book published in 2018 or 2019 for the award. Nominations can be made on the Awards’ website at https://www.christianaward.com.

Check out these four great benefits of winning a book award!

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The Book Distribution Conundrum

The big news this month is that Baker & Taylor announced that they will no longer sell books to retailers as of July 15, 2019. This is industry-changing news.

For years, there have been two wholesale companies that sell books to retailers and librarians—Ingram Content Group and Baker & Taylor. Of the two, Baker & Taylor was a small publisher’s friend.

The Distribution Conundrum

Historically it has been very difficult for a small publisher to get their books stocked in Ingram (and in Spring Arbor, the Christian book division of Ingram). Publishers must have at least 10 titles and meet a set annual sales figure in order to place their books directly with Ingram for sales to retailers and librarians. If a small publisher does not meet these requirements, then they have to use a distributor who stocks their books in Ingram. Some of these book distributors include Anchor (Christian books), Independent Publishers Group (IPG), Consortium Book Sales, and Baker & Taylor Publisher Services (formerly BookMasters).

Using a distributor has benefits as well as pitfalls. A distributor is a middleman, so a distributor takes an additional 15% or more of each book sale—over and above the 55–60% discount that the wholesaler (Ingram) requires. Additionally, distributor’s vet the books they represent. So, a publisher has to pass the additional requirements of a distributor in order to be represented by said distributor.

Baker & Taylor, on the other hand, was small-publisher friendly. Small publishers could open an account with Baker & Taylor and have their books stocked directly so that retailers and librarians could place orders for these books.

With the cessation of Baker & Taylor’s sales to retail stores, only one wholesale book company is now selling books to retailers—Ingram. Some in the industry are concerned about what this will mean long-term for retailers and publishers.

 

Baker & TaylorIf you are an independently published author, Baker & Taylor’s decision to cease distribution to retailers will most likely not affect you. Sadly, it will affect a number of small publishers.

Independent authors have been able to make their books available for sale to retailers and librarians through Ingram using one of Ingram’s print-on-demand (POD) services (IngramSpark or Lightning Source) or Kindle Direct Publishing’s expanded distribution service. You may wonder why the loss of Baker & Taylor is such a big deal since small publishers can also use the POD sales route.

Here is what most independent authors do not understand: Retailers rarely order print-on-demand books to stock the shelves of their stores. Print-on-demand titles have a special code in the wholesale system that retailers can spot. As a result, if you are actively trying to get bookstores to stock your title and your book is only available print-on-demand, you have an uphill battle. If your title is listed as a Kindle Direct Published book, you have an even harder climb to get a retailer to stock your book, since retailers consider Amazon their direct competition.

Bookstore

Small publishers understand that they need to have print copies stocked (not POD copies) with wholesalers to increase their chances of book sales to retail stores. This is why the loss of a small- publisher friendly wholesale option for small publishers is a big deal.

While over 50% of books are purchased online, a good percentage of books are still purchased in stores, including bookstores. Savvy publishers know that they must have their books available in multiple locations to garner the most sales. Therefore, access to a wholesale sales option is important for these publishers.

If you are an independently published author, you can take a lesson from small publishers. Having your book available in Amazon alone is not enough. Not everyone shops on Amazon, and, for certain, libraries and retailers don’t order books from Amazon.

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Photo courtesy of Samuel Zeller.

 

Are You Using This Strong Incentive?

Did you know that curiosity is one of the strongest human incentives? Humans are curious by nature. Snag a person’s curiosity and you have their attention.

Good marketers use curiosity to grab people’s attention so that they can sell them a product. These marketers use sales text that draws the reader.

Curiosity is a powerful marketing tool.

Take headlines. Often marketers will use one of four tactics to grab people’s attention by eliciting curiosity. Curiosity is why these types of headlines get the most clicks:

1. Makes an outrageous claim.

Headlines like “Elvis Is Not Dead” or “Why Marriage Is Not for You” are outrageous. The sheer ludicrousness of their message raises curiosity, making people want to know what the author has to say.

2. Goes against conventional wisdom.

Headlines like “Why Breakfast Is Not the Most Important Meal of the Day” and “Failure Is an Option” go against what most people have been taught. Since the claim is in conflict with what society believes, it raises our curiosity.

3. Opens up a debate.

Headlines that make statements like “Five Ways Women are Better Bosses Than Men” and “Ten Reasons Prom Night is Overrated” are opinions that touch nerves. When people’s opinions are challenged, their curiosity to listen to or read what is being asserted is raised.

4. Claims about the best or worst of something.

Headline like “The 10 Best Movies of 2018” and “The 10 Worst Places to Vacation” make people curious about whether they have seen the 10 movies, whether they have vacationed in a “worst” place, and whether they agree with the list or not.

In a world with so much competing for people’s attention, curiosity is a powerful marketing tool. You can learn to use curiosity to increase reader’s engagement with their books. Crafting your book descriptions and sales text in a manner that raises curiosity can help increase sales. Don’t give everything away in your book’s description. The description is meant to lure the reader in to want to know more.

While not a Christian book, the book description for Jordan B. Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life embodies what raising curiosity in sales text looks like. The book’s description states:

What does the nervous system of the lowly lobster have to tell us about standing up straight (with our shoulders back) and about success in life? Why did ancient Egyptians worship the capacity to pay careful attention as the highest of gods? What dreadful paths do people tread when they become resentful, arrogant and vengeful? Dr. Peterson journeys broadly, discussing discipline, freedom, adventure and responsibility, distilling the world’s wisdom into 12 practical and profound rules for life.  

Are you writing to hook people’s curiosity? Do your titles, headlines, and sales text draw people in and catch their interest? How might you re-word your current book description to improve the “curiosity” factor and snag more sales?

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Photo courtesy of Mali Maeder.