Sell Your Books in Museums
Every year, millions of people visit thousands of museums, most of which have a gift shop in which books could be sold. If you can help these gift-shop operators educate and entertain their guests, you can sell a lot of books. Since they are usually sold on a non-returnable basis with discounts averaging 55 percent, you can sell them profitably, too.
Museum gift-shop managers promote education in their stores to extend the experience of their guests. To be successful in this market, you must carry the same mindset. Profits really are secondary to fulfilling the mission of the venue, and that is to educate the guests and make their experience pleasurable and informative.
The American Association of Museums (AAM) estimates there are 17,500 museums. And depending on the topic of your book, museums and historic sites can be profitable outlets.
Children's museums and modern science museums are a good starting point. But parents also bring their children to art museums, natural history museums, botanical gardens, state history museums, battlefields and U.S. history museums. The Association of Children's Museums found that more than 30 million children and family members visit children's museums annually. That is a large number of prospective book buyers for just one segment of this potentially lucrative and evergreen market.
Where to find lists of museums
1. The Official Museum Directory (http://www.officialmuseumdir.com/) covers institutions of every size and type in all 50 states. This resource provides verified data that reflects the latest professional affiliations, permanent and traveling exhibits, and contact data for museums, historic sites, planetariums, technology centers and zoos.
2. The International Council of Museums (ICOM) website (http://icom.museum/museum_directories.html) lists print and online directories of museums that include publications that are available for sale as well as those that are part of ICOM's collection in its Information Center.
You can also find lists of individual museums through the primary association for each segment. For example:
• The American Association for State & Local History publishes a Directory of Historic House Museums: http://www.aaslh.org/hhouses.htm
• The American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta maintains an online directory of its member gardens at http://www.publicgardens.org/
•The Association of African American Museums has an online database of its member museums and related institutions: http://www.blackmuseums.org/memberlinks/institutional.htm
• The Association of Railway Museums maintains an online database of its members: http://www.railwaymuseums.org/
If you choose to sell directly to these stores, approach them as you would any other business. Find out the buyers' names and make appointments to meet with them. You can usually find this information on the websites listed above. Although there are no industry standards for purchasing books, sales are typically non-returnable. An exception to this rule is a sale for a special event. They usually seek discounts of 40 percent to 60 percent, averaging 55 percent. If your titles sell well, they will be re-ordered regularly.
Brian Jud is an author, book-marketing consultant, seminar leader, television host and president of Premium Book Company, which sells books to non-bookstore buyers on a non-returnable, commission-only basis and conducts on-site training for publishers' sales forces.
Brian is the author of "How to Make Real Money Selling Books (Without Worrying About Returns)," a do-it-yourself guide to selling books to non-bookstore buyers in large quantities, with no returns. He has written many articles about book publishing and marketing, is the author of the eight e-booklets with "Proven Tips for Publishing Success," and creator of the series of "Book Marketing Wizards." He is also the editor of the bi-weekly newsletter, "Book Marketing Matters."
Brian is the host of the television series "The Book Authority" and has aired over 650 shows. In addition, he is the author, narrator and producer of the media-training video program "You're On The Air."