Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Authors & Publishers Need An Airport Wing

Is a monopoly the only way for a company to succeed at selling its product?

I was at the airport recently. I wanted to buy gum and to my dismay I found there was only one brand available. All the stores sold the same gum. It wasn’t a brand I even recognized. No competition yields no choice. Worse, no competition left them to charge what they wanted -- which was twice the price gum normally goes for. I paid over $3.50 for nine chiclet-sized pieces of no-name gum.

Of course I had the choice of not buying but that wasn’t really an option, given my breath demanded mint gum and my ears for the plane required gum-chewing jaw movement. So I bought it, but I felt angry that an entire airport created a monopoly that doesn’t exist in the real world.

So maybe book publishers and authors need to find such monopolistic situations and exploit them. Where can you be a favored or preferred vendor? How can you get your title sold while the retailer doesn’t offer your competition for sale?

The closest thing to a monopoly in publishing is Amazon but in this case, the process works against authors. Instead of Amazon charging above or at market rates for books it has undercut the market to charge the least, leaving fewer profits for authors and publishers.

Perhaps authors and publishers need to package books with another product, service, event or opportunity so that a more valuable exclusive arrangement exists. For instance, a book on relationships or romance is packaged with lipstick and sold for more, collectively,  than either product would get separately.

We should learn from what happens at airports, concert arenas, sporting events, highway rest stops, and conventions. Whenever you can create an environment of exclusivity you can charge more and give less.

My inferior gum is losing its flavor as I write this. It may have left a bad taste in my mouth, but it opened my eyes to seek out new exclusive arrangements. The only way to charge what you’re worth is to exclude the competition.

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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 brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

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