Saturday, July 2, 2016

Book Industry Should Test-Drive Tesla Marketing Blueprint

Tesla, the innovative electric car company, could serve as a model to the book industry when it comes to creating retail partnerships.

No, books won’t be sold via Tesla, but if you believe books can and should be sold anywhere and everywhere, you should look no further than Tesla and Nordstrom for a blueprint.

A Los Angeles mall’s Nordstrom just debuted an electric-car boutique in its men’s section, showcasing a white Model X crossover with its upward-opening gull wing area windows.  Patrons could go on a test-drive in the parking lot.

Tesla, based in Palo Alto, California is an industrious auto upstart that seeks to defy industry wisdom and convention.  It doesn’t depend on dealerships but it has its own company stores selling cars.

Tesla had staged a smart pre-order campaign a few months ago that netted over four billion dollars in cash before any of the 400,000 ordered cars were built.

The book industry can learn from Tesla and do as follows:

·         Create book sections within large stores, like Nordstrom’s.  It will attract people to the store and it will take store traffic and turn some of it into book purchases.

·         Cross-promote with a specific brand that has a lot of stores – like The Gap – allowing for marketing to sell both the store and the book industry.

·         Place those expresso-type book machines in non-bookstores, so people can print any book out in less than eight minutes.

·         In places like New York, where buildings of 50 or more floors – both corporate and residential – are popping up all over – throw in a book kiosk.  Books need to be easily available, so why not be there for places people gather?

As for pre-orders, the industry does pre-sell online and if you go to Kickstarter, there are people who seek to raise funds before they write their book.  Those efforts are smart – and needed – but I would take it a step further.

We need a book fundraiser where people commit not to buying a specific title but to buying books in general.  Why can’t Barnes & Noble create a campaign to get people to commit to buying gift certificates – not for others as a gift but to themselves, to guarantee a future purchase?

B&N could incentivize people by telling them they get a free book when purchasing a certain size gift card.  The free book would come via numerous new authors who donate them, seeking to get exposure for their book and to build up fans. Everyone wins!

Tesla, though it is innovative and may one day control a big share of the auto market, is still in its infancy and has not yet turned a profit.  It lost about 282 million bucks in the previous quarter.  But it has the right idea and books could learn from them.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. 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 © 2016

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