IBPA Goes “E”—New Marketing Programs for 2011
by Florrie Binford Kichler, IBPA President
IBPA is proud to be launching two “e-nitiatives” designed to help our members sell more books in 2011—and beyond: the IBPA-Ingram marketing partnership and the IBPA-Serendipity partnership. Created specifically to help members expand their online marketing reach, these programs have just been launched, and your board and staff at IBPA are looking forward to your feedback as we fine-tune them during the next few months.
The IBPA-Ingram marketing initiative offers several opportunities for working with the large wholesaler and reflects a major departure from Ingram’s policy of working only with publishers that have 10 titles or more. If and only if you are an IBPA member, Ingram will accept your company as a vendor even if it publishes just one title.
The IBPA-Serendipity partnership began in the fall of 2010 as a pilot program with this creator of a master online interactive catalog and we will be looking for more opportunities to work together going forward.
Following are the details on both.
FAQ: IBPA-Ingram Marketing Program
How will the new IBPA-Ingram program help me sell more books?
The Ingram Marketing program includes three marketing opportunities for IBPA members only:
Wholesale distribution: As noted, in the past Ingram accepted only publishers with at least 10 titles in print for wholesale distribution, but now IBPA members with one title and up will have access to Ingram’s wholesale distribution network.
The Independent Voice e-catalog: IBPA members can participate in an every-other-month cooperative e-catalog mailing from Ingram to its customers. Members’ titles’ covers and information will be sent to more than 28,000 libraries, book retailers, and international recipients.
Ingram Advance print catalog: IBPA members can participate in this monthly print publication that mails to 13,500 book retailers and librarians.
What are the criteria for acceptance into the Ingram database?
Just these three:
• Your book must be either perfect bound or hardbound (no other bindings, including no spiral bindings).
• Your book must have a price imprinted on the cover.
• Your book must have a 13-digit ISBN.
How does this new Ingram program compare with IBPA’s current cooperative direct mailings?
IBPA’s current mailings are exclusively print and, in general, targeted to certain industry segments. The number of recipients ranges from 3,500 to 11,000, depending on the type of mailing. Mailings include IBPA member titles only and are sent on schedules that vary from monthly to every six months.
The IBPA-Ingram Independent Voice mailings are exclusively electronic and are sent every two months to 28,000 recipients—14,000 libraries, 10,000 general book retailers, and 4,000 international accounts. They include titles from publishers that don’t belong to IBPA, but IBPA members’ titles will be highlighted and will receive special pricing and placement.
The IBPA-Ingram Advance mailing is comparable to the IBPA cooperative mailings in that Advance is a print catalog. As in the Independent Voice, IBPA members’ titles will be prominently identified as such, distinguishing them from nonmembers’ titles. Advance mails every month, and there are opportunities to participate in target-market mailings including Christian, Children’s, Parent, Travel, and so on.
Should I continue participating in IBPA mailings, try the new Ingram program, do both . . . or neither?
The best answer I can give is . . . it depends.
On what? On your marketing budget, on your book topic, on the sort of readers you want to reach, and on the amount of promotion you’re able to do to support your marketing efforts. The IBPA cooperative mailings may work better for you if you’re looking for a smaller, more targeted audience; the Ingram program may help in terms of dramatically widening the exposure of your title.
If your budget permits, try both programs, watch your sales for a few months, and look for an upsurge. Although it won’t be immediately apparent which program caused the increase in sales, you can compare the revenue from sales growth with the marketing expenses. If the numbers work, try continuing your participation and even tweaking the marketing schedule a bit to experiment.
As with any kind of marketing, a sustained and steady approach works best—and a single mailing, even if it’s to a million recipients, will generally not bring you results that you can measure. Marketing 101 states that people need to see your offering multiple times before making a purchase decision.
If you try only IBPA mailings or only IBPA-Ingram catalog mailings (or some other program), I recommend that (1) you participate at least three to five times before deciding whether to pull the plug or continue; and (2) you make sure your catalog copy clearly and concisely communicates how the reader will benefit from reading your title. Not an easy task in less than 100 words, but critical to the success of any of your marketing efforts. And, of course, remember that with these programs, or any marketing that you do, a positive outcome (e.g., sales growth) is never guaranteed.
For more information, visit ibpa-online.org and click on “IBPA-Ingram Marketing Programs.”
How will Serendipity help me?
This master online interactive catalog replaces or supplements a print catalog. Serendipity (which is for smaller publishers) and its big brother, Edelweiss (for larger publishers), were created to let publishers reduce their carbon footprint by eliminating paper catalogs and to let them easily and quickly update title information online, including reviews, videos, trailers, and more. Publishers pay a fee to list their titles; retailers, reviewers, and industry professionals can access the master database at no charge.
What is IBPA’s relationship with Serendipity?
IBPA members who exhibited their titles through IBPA at any of the 2010 regional bookseller shows received a free listing in the first Serendipity/Edelweiss master catalog for the regionals as part of a pilot program. All attendees at all the shows were able to access the titles displayed at those shows online through that catalog.
As I write this, we are gathering input from the exhibiting publishers. Watch for news of future joint ventures with Serendipity as IBPA continues exploring ways to expand marketing opportunities for its members.
How can I learn more?
Even More, and Not Just E
The IBPA-Ingram marketing program and our partnership with Serendipity are the latest examples of how your IBPA board of directors and staff are constantly searching for ways to enhance the value of your membership. Please help us help you meet the challenges of doing business in turbulent times. I urge you to contact any board member and/or Terry, Lisa, or me in the IBPA office with your ideas on what IBPA can do to better serve you—and the independent publishing community.
This article first appeared in the January, 2011 issue of the IBPA Independent.