Thursday, July 11, 2013

Creating A Demand For Your Book Like American Girl

As the father of a five-year-old girl I know what it’s like to buy something, knowing that I’m overpaying for an item that will likely be dismissed by her.  Such is the case with American Girl.

My little girl “graduated” from pre-school so we rewarded her with a present.  For months she’s been telling us she wants an American Girl doll.  They retail for $110 a pop.

Since when does a doll cost so much?  It doesn’t even talk or play video games.  It’s not made out of gold.  She’s not wearing vintage clothes.  There’s really no reason she should be so expensive, except for the simple one that American Girl thinks it can charge that amount and get away with it.  In fact, I think the high price helps sell more dolls.  Why? Because it sets a perception the doll has high value, when in reality, it’s just a doll, no better than ones half the price.

But there’s no persuading a little girl that the doll she desires is not worth the money.  It’s worth it to me if it makes her feel special and happy.

When I was waiting on line to buy Julie Albright – yes, they name their dolls like people – I saw that another doll, Saige, was going to be discontinued soon.  If it’s selling so well, why stop it?  The store is purposely creating a false demand.  Quick -- get the doll that soon won’t be available, except on eBay.

What bullshit.  It’s the old “limited print” approach to sales.  Tell people something is rare and it makes it more popular.  No one could tell you why they have to have Saige – just that they do.

Can you market your book in a similar fashion? I don’t know that you can turn it into a collector’s item, but you could certainly elevate its value in a number of ways.

Let’s start with pricing.  Stop selling books for 99 cents and begging people to download free copies.  Instead, go the other way. Charge $99.  Make it the book that people are convinced they have to have.  Package it nicely so that every page turned feels like you’re unwrapping a gift.  Create a community of fans and followers and have them feel special and valued, just like the girls feel when they enter an American Girl store.

American Girl has elevated the ordinary to a high level.  Imagine what you can do with a great book!

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

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