Books are popular gifts, and the Christmas buying season has traditionally been the best month of the year for book sales. It still is ... for print sales. With the explosion in eBooks, post-Christmas is becoming another hot selling season. Not only are empty Kindles popular gifts, but Amazon gift cards frequently fill stockings and email in-boxes. These two trends are causing a flurry of eBook buying from December 25 through January.
(Please excuse my focus on Kindle. For some reason B&N and other booksellers have not been able to market gift cards with near the intensity of Amazon.)
The question for publishers is how to adjust their marketing plans to meet this shift in book sales. The simple answer is that pre-holiday marketing should focus on print format, and after Christmas marketing should transition to eBooks, preferably starting a bit prior to Christmas.
Gift givers prefer to wrap a physical item in shinny paper to be opened on Christmas, and many readers still like to hold a physical book in their hand. There is still good demand for print books, especially trade paperback and hardbound books. Publishers should focus their attention on print sales before the holiday buying season.
Sales of eBooks seem to get an up-tick as early as Christmas afternoon. My guess is that these are new Kindle owners who are playing with their new toy. To affect this market, eBook promotion needs to start before the 25th of December.
How do you change the marketing focus? One thing I do is set all my hot links on my various web pages to my print formats, and then the 22nd change the links to my eBooks formats. Not very clever, I know. But if I had this nailed down, I wouldn’t be posting this article in the throes of holiday shopping.
I’ll do better next year.
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