What Authors Can Learn from Shopping Behaviors

I love to shop. For the most part, I prefer shopping in physical stores where I can not only see what I am purchasing, but I can touch and feel it also. I know many people prefer to shop online. While not everyone shops the same way, there are a few similarities overall among people’s shopping preferences.

A new study by Catalyst, a marketing agency specializing in retail, explored consumer-shopping behaviors across multiple channels. Their research found that most customers prefer convenience over other factors when shopping. Here are a few of the findings from Catalyst’s study:

  • Convenience Is Paramount
    Amazon wins when it comes to convenience. Most customers prefer researching and buying products online.
  • Efficiency Matters
    Customers look for what saves them time. If it is not readily available to order or purchase, or if shipping is not fast, customers will walk away from a purchase.
  • Price Matters—but Quality Matters More
    Customers want the best quality for the lowest price. They are willing to pay more for a product when convenience and customer service are perceived to be superior.

There are a few nuggets of wisdom for authors in this study and its findings. Here are two lessons from this study that can help you sell more books.

1. Your books must be available in multiple channels for buyers to purchase.

Believe it or not, not everyone shops on Amazon. Your book needs to be available for purchase (and quick delivery) at the places where your readers shop. Having your book available for purchase on Amazon and your website is not enough. Make sure your books are in wider distribution so that they are conveniently available to more people.

2. Your book’s price affects sales.

One of the best rules to follow when independently publishing a book is simply this: Follow the industry standard. When pricing your book, this means that your book is priced in the same range as other books in its genre that are published by the large industry publishing houses.

Since print-on-demand is more expensive per book than offset printing (printing large numbers of books at once of 1,000 or more copies), independently published authors often price their books higher than industry standard. Pricing high allows the author to make a decent return on each book sold. However, pricing your book higher than other books in your genre can result in a loss of sales. Remember, people are looking for the best quality at the lowest price. If a reader is considering purchasing your book or another book on the same topic, if the books appear equal in quality, the reader will opt for the lower-priced book.

Book buyers are shoppers and they, like most consumers, prefer convenience, efficiency, and good deals.

Related Posts:
Do You Know What it Takes to Sell a Book?
How to Get a Book into a Christian Bookstore
The Most Important Equations

Don’t miss out on any of the great information shared in this blog. Subscribe to receive each post in your email box. Just click here.

Photo courtesy of Freestocks.org

Fresh Insight into Book Buying Behavior

I have a confession to make. I have never purchased an ebook. I read ebooks on a Kindle app, but every ebook on my Kindle app I acquired for free. I do buy books. However, if I am going to spend money on a book, I buy a print book.

My behavior is not outside the bounds of normalcy for book buying. The Codex-Group, which conducts book audience strategy research, has found that most book buyers read far more books each month than they buy. According to the research that Codex shared at Digital Book World 2017, most book buyers only purchase one out of every four books they read.

book-buying

This means that three out of every four books book buyers read the reader obtains for free. Where do readers get these books? Most people receive free books from four main sources:

  • Borrow from a library
  • On loan from a friend
  • Free download offer
  • Book received as a gift

Additional data from Codex’s research shows consumer’s favorite ways to get books:

  • 18% prefer to read for free
  • 25% claim they never pay full price—buy used or join a subscription service
  • 16% prefer to purchase ebooks only
  • 22% state they are impulse buyers—purchasing a book as soon as they see it

While at first glance this data may seem discouraging, I believe it contains some valuable nuggets for publishers:

1. Not every reader who reads your book will have paid for your book.

This is okay. Expect to give some books away for free; it helps with publicity. Readers who read your book for free can help you secure more sales. If these readers like your book and recommend it to others, you have scored a win.

2. Focus on the impulse buyers.

Codex’s data shows that 22% of book buyers are impulse buyers. In addition, Codex reports that these impulse buyers are more likely to purchase nonfiction titles than other genres. If you are a nonfiction author, these impulse buyers can boost your sales.

The truth is that selling books is hard work. The number of people reading books is holding steady while the number of books published is increasing exponentially. There is a glut of free books available online.

If God has called you to write and publish a book, his plan is for your book to impact lives for his Kingdom. Keep in mind that impacting lives provides an eternal payoff that is greater than the money you make selling your books.

Related Posts:
Christianity and Book Sales in America
Reading Rates Remain Consistent
Christian Book-Buying Behavior

Don’t miss out on any of the great information shared in this blog. Subscribe to receive each post in your email box. Just click here.

Photo courtesy of Tamarcus Brown

The Changing Publishing Landscape

Recent industry news shows that the publishing industry is undergoing a huge shift. The Christian book market’s news this summer included:

  1. ChristianTrade Association International closed its doors in June.
  2. CBA has ended Christian Store Week, a program designed to drive traffic to Christian bookstores.
  3. News that RBTE (Religious Booksellers Trade Exhibit – largely for the liturgical crowd) is “struggling” to go on.

bulldozer

The industry is changing. Book publishing and marketing today barely resembles what it was a decade ago. Many things have changed.

Print no longer dominates the landscape.

  • eBooks are taking up a larger and larger percent of book sales (about 25% currently).
  • 70% of consumers reported that online consumer reviews were the second most trusted source of information for purchasing decisions.

Brick-and-mortar stores are no longer the number one seller of books.

  • In 2012, for the first time, online retail stores sold more books than brick-and-mortar retail stores in the United States. Last year, 43.8% of books bought by consumers were purchased online, while only 31.6% of books were purchased in large retail chains, independent bookstores, other mass merchandisers, and supermarkets.
  • Over a quarter of all books purchased are bought on Amazon.com, accounting for 30% of all book dollars spent.
  • With increasing Internet connectedness and decreasing physical bookstore browsing, the way people discover books is shifting. As recently as two years ago, one-third of new books were discovered in physical bookstores. Now, that number has shrunk to one-fifth.

Self-publishing is becoming mainstream.

  • The number of self-published books produced annually in the U.S. has nearly tripled, growing 287 percent since 2006, and now tallies more than 235,000 print and digital titles, according Bowker® Books In Print.
  •  Amazon’s CreateSpace was the largest player in the self-publishing space last year, publishing around 60,000 titles.
  •  Self-published titles are beginning to dominate the ebook bestseller lists. For example, five of the 10 ebook bestseller titles for April 2013 as compiled by Digital Book World were self-published titles.

The publishing world is changing. This is good news for independent authors and small publishers. The whole process of publishing and selling books from the entry point to publishing a book to marketing that book has become within reach of almost anyone. Of course, with more books available, the hardest work now is getting your books noticed.

Bookmark and Share