Today’s brick and mortar bookstores have to stock a lot of everything to appeal to everyone. The problem is that they can’t stock enough of anything for each person.
Walk into a bookstore and you may be interested in fishing and history, yet the amount of books related to fishing and history is just a tiny fraction of the total books available, 90 percent of which you won’t care about. The books you do care about only have a few shelves devoted to your interest.
Another person might be interested in cooking and traveling while still a third person might be interested in science and science fiction. No one is interested in all books available in a bookstore, yet a bookstore still must stock them to appeal to everyone.
Bookstores are like general stores of the past that had to stock food, clothes, toys, fabric, and tools to appeal to everyone. However, they don’t appeal to any one particular group. You don’t see general stores any more because we have specialty stores that sell clothes, toys, or tools with a much wider variety than a general store could offer.
Bookstores are the same way. The Internet allows each person to search only for those books that interest them. Publishers used to rely on bookstores to sell their book and reach the consumer. Nowadays, bookstores aren’t reaching the consumer. The way to reach consumers isn’t to throw a book into a bookstore and hope someone will find it. The new approach is to find where your customers are and then try to sell a book there.
The authors of the “Chicken Soup” inspirational books originally sold their books to supermarkets and not bookstores. That’s because they correctly identified the supermarket crowd as being more likely to buy their books than the general bookstore crowd.
That’s what every author needs to do. Find where your potential customers are and then put your book in front of those potential customers. If you wrote a book about raising dogs, where do you think you would have better luck selling your book? In a bookstore filled with people where most of them don’t care about dog books, or a dog show where everyone is concerned about dogs?
Bookstores target everyone and thus reach no one. The new marketing of books will target specific niches, ignoring bookstores altogether and even online stores like Amazon.
Amazon can survive because they can stock anything for everyone. However, finding what you want can be difficult. That’s why if you market your book towards your potential customers, you’ll sell more books and your potential customers will find (and buy) your book easily.
The key to tomorrow is to eliminate the bookstores, distributors, and publishers, and market directly to your potential audience. Most authors won’t want or know how to do marketing, so the new middleman will be the marketers.
Write a book, identify your target market, and then submit your book only to those target markets. The author must do his or her own marketing, but can direct potential customers to online bookstores where they can order that book.
It’s all about marketing. Rather than wait for your customers to come to you, look for where your customers are. Then sell them what they want or need.
You can open a restaurant anywhere in the world, or you can open a restaurant where you can find hungry people all the time. Likewise, you can sell your book to everyone and waste time, or you can sell your book to people who want your book. Where do you think your options for success might be?