It’s Not Too Early for Christmas

You are probably thinking, “Halloween has not yet arrived. It’s too early to be shopping for Christmas.

Except, it’s not. Many people are already beginning to think about Christmas and gift buying. On survey by eMarketers found that more than 10 percent of Internet shoppers said they start their holiday shopping before September. Another 40 percent start purchasing holiday gifts before November.

Did you catch that? Just about half of the people who buy gifts for Christmas start shopping before November. And that is not just one study. Research from the National Retail Federation shows that about 40 percent of people start holiday shopping before Halloween each year. That number has stayed consistent for more than 10 years.

It’s not too early to start promoting your book as a great Christmas gift. Start now. Promote and advertise your book as a Christmas gift. Offer a holiday special or bundle to entice early shoppers. This month is a great time to include your specials in your email campaigns, on your website, and through advertisements.

In today’s entertainment saturated world, you might want to remind shoppers why books make great gifts. Feel free to use the reasons listed on the infographic below in your marketing efforts.

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Create Book Bundles for Gifting

I love brilliant marketing ideas, especially those related to books. Recently, a publisher in Brazil began using an outstanding idea to market books and promote literacy.

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Brazilians only read about two books a year, much lower than the reading rate in America (see “Reading on the Decline in America”). In hopes of raising the reading rate in Brazil, one publisher, L&PM Ediores, has created Ticket Books.

Ticket Books are paperback books that double as subway passes. Each Ticket Book comes with an RFID card built right inside the cover. Subway turnstiles read the cards like a regular train ticket. Now subway riders can use the book they are reading as a subway ticket as well as entertainment.

Each Ticket Book comes charge with 10 trips. Readers can recharge the RFID card inside the book online when the trips are used up. They can also pass the book on to a friend who can also refill the card with additional subway trips.

You are probably thinking: “That’s a cute idea, but there is no way I could afford to do something like that. I’m just one person.”

You’re right. The idea is a grand scale idea, but there is inspiration in it for you.

The holiday season is upon us. At Christmas people give gifts, including books. However, people don’t just give gifts at Christmas; they give gifts at birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, graduation, etc. You can do something similar to that of Ticket Books to create more interest in giving your book as a gift.

Instead of embedding a subway ticket inside the cover of your book, you could offer a bundle. For example, you could offer a $10 Starbucks gift card with your book as a great gift bundle. If you have a craft book, offer a gift card to Hobby Lobby with the book to encourage people to purchase your book bundle as a gift. If you have a business book, offer a gift card to Staples as a bundle deal for gifting. The ideas are endless; just use your imagination.

Offering a gift card with your book as as a bundle does not require a lot of money or time. All you need to do is pick up a few gift cards to have on hand to bundle with your book. Then let your readers and fans know about your gift-giving special. As orders are received, you simply put your bundle together and mail it out.

I hope that you not only market your book as a gift this Christmas season, but that you also give books as gifts to your family and friends. After all, gifting books promotes literacy—something that benefits everyone involved in writing and producing books.

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Gift Giving of Books in Decline

I recently read an article that reported that fewer people are buying books as gifts. The article focused on the United Kingdom and stated that fewer people buying books as gifts has contributed to an overall 4% decline in books sales in the UK over the past year.

In fact, the Nielson Book Survey of book buying habits showed that the share of books bought as gifts fell from 24% to 22% in 2013. The article reported that this equated to a decrease of nine million books.

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This trend is concerning for publishers and authors. It is not unique to the UK. It has also been seen in the United States.

Traditionally, books have been viewed as good gifts. I still believe they are good gifts. I think that the reason fewer books are being given as gifts is not so much because people don’t see them as good gifts, but more because people read less. Think about it. Which would a young adult like more: an iTunes gift card or a good book?

Reading overall is on the decline. One recent study by the Labor Department found that Americans between the ages of 15 and 19 only spend an average of 4.2 minutes of their weekends and holidays reading for fun. This research also showed that 20 to 24 year olds spend an average of 10.2 minutes reading on weekends, while 55 to 64 year olds spend 26.4 minutes on weekend days reading for pleasure. This study seems to indicate that the average time spent reading goes up with age.

The Christmas season is coming very soon. Now is the time to start planning your marketing campaign for getting people to buy your books as gifts. In your marketing campaign, tell your customers to consider buying your book as a gift. Tell them who would most benefit from your book and encourage them to help others grow in their faith with their gifts. You could even use the statistics above that show that older generations enjoy reading the most and encourage your audience to buy a book as a gift for Grandpa or Grandma.

As authors and publishers, we can help reverse this negative book-giving trend by reminding our customers and potential customers that books still make great gifts. I believe they do, so do you. Now let’s remind our customers.

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