Best Practices in Online Selling
From Search to Sales
The IUP blog is hosted by Typepad, which Baich says has done an excellent job with search engine optimization. The sales department also works with Amazon and other online vendors, making titles available on Amazon’s Search Inside! and Google Book Search. (Google is “usually one of the top 10 referring sites to our Web site,” Baich reports.) The press will also soon have titles available on Microsoft’s Live Search Books.
Turning a successful book search into a book purchase involves presentation tactics not unfamiliar to the brick-and-mortar book world, says Richard Davies, publicity manager at AbeBooks, which provides an online-selling platform for thousands of independent booksellers.
“The key things for us are obviously price, as always,” he says. “[Also,] when you put a book online, a picture with the book makes it three times as likely to sell as an identical book without a picture. This is important, because what happens now is we have 110 million books listed [on AbeBooks] … so for your books to stand out in a crowd, price is important, description is important.”
Davies also notes, “We try to market to different customers differently. You almost have completely different terminology as well [for different audiences]. Collectors care about condition. For new books, content matters. Textbooks are all about price.”
At Hard Case, one of the big selling points is the book covers, rendered in classic pulp style by well-known artists. Ardai notes that promotional e-mails do not include these covers, however—only links to the Web site where the cover images are featured.
“That’s a deliberate attempt to get them closer to the point of sale,” Ardai says. Once on the site, links direct them to other books by the same author, or invite them to join a discount book-of-the-month club.