Last night’s Spreecast discussion with guest Miral Sattar of Bibliocrunch included some key ways that book discovery could be improved for self-published authors. One of the key frustrations for indie authors is still the final gate: bookstores. While certainly not impossible, it is not overly simple for an independently published title to be carried in brick-and-mortar stores.
Baker & Taylor is working to improve the standing and the discoverability of indie titles in physical stores, however, and has unveiled its Indie Next Promotion in a Box, a kit designed to help physical book stores with displaying curated content in stores.
In a post by Sydney Jarrard for the American Booksellers Association site BookWeb.org, Richard Smith, vice president of retail and higher education sales at Baker & Taylor, said, “The Indie Next List has long been an effective program for highlighting the pick of the crop. We wanted to create a promotion that would make it easy and rewarding to set up an instant Indie Next display at front of store.”
These display materials include stickers for the covers of selected indie titles, shelf materials for promotion, and more. In order to participate, the bookseller agrees to order any combination of twenty books per month from the list of included titles, for the six-month duration of the promotion.
Feedback on the promotional assistance so far has been positive, especially in terms of book sales of indie titles. In the beta test period, sales of indie titles increased, with some titles’ sales improving by well more than one hundred percent.
According to Jarrard’s article, “’Participating pilot stores enjoyed a significant increase in sales,’ said Smith. ‘Overall test results exceeded our expectations substantially, so we are thrilled to be bringing this to market nationally. Extra discount, free marketing materials, increased sell-through — we think this will have broad appeal and make a real impact.’