Questions about your book reaching readers this holiday season? Get info and tips that can help now. It’s the holiday season, which means sales are up and both we and you are eager to get books in the hands of anxious readers!
First and foremost, it’s important for you to understand the beauty of your IngramSpark books being print-on-demand (POD). POD books are NEVER out of stock. If a retailer is showing your title as out of stock, it just means they need to place an order with us. While your title may not be sitting in Amazon’s warehouse or on your local indie bookstore’s shelf, print-on-demand titles are printed when an order is placed whether that order comes from a retailer with an Ingram relationship or you place an order through your IngramSpark account.
When IngramSpark receives an order for your book, it can be printed and shipped to the end consumer as if it was coming from the retailer from which the order was originally placed or if you submit an order through your account on a customer's behalf. Title availability is something many are confused about, which is why we wanted to outline this important fact for you. If you have questions about how your book appears on retail sites, check out this helpful article.
Here are a few things you can do to fortify your title availability during this busy time.
#1 Provide Multiple Purchase Options
IngramSpark makes your title available to them all, so provide your readers with direct buy links to the places your title is listed for sale. Many retailers may be experiencing temporary closures, reduced staff, or have shifted priority to high-demand titles due to the pandemic. These scenarios and more can interfere with standard title availability messaging or create delays for your books during a time of, especially high demand. If one store or online retailer is displaying less-than-ideal title availability or cannot fulfill an order for your book, providing all of the places your title is available gives your readers options to help prevent a lost sale. So instead of just linking to your book on Amazon, for example, in your social media posts or on your website, share buy links to all retailers who carry your book, especially as retail conditions are constantly changing this time of year.
#2 Support Your Local Bookstores
Brick and mortar indie bookstores have taken a beating this year. Many have had to close due to COVID restrictions. Rent and utilities are still due, so they have been forced to change their business models to survive. Many have implemented curbside pick-up and delivery programs, much to the delight of their communities. Also, many have had to make the difficult leap to the online sales arena.
Unless they already had an established online store, many indies have had to quickly build their online infrastructure – including creating an online e-commerce site and figuring out how to fulfill orders. Even those that were already in that space have great difficulty competing with other large internet retailers. Consider helping your local Indie stores by purchasing your Christmas gifts there, sending your readers to their local indies, and selling through bookshop.org.
Bookshop.org is the new, cool kid on the block of internet retailers that launched in February. It has backing from the American Booksellers Association, and a portion of all sales goes to local indie bookstores. So far this year, they have already raised nearly nine million dollars. The other cool thing about bookshop.org is that you can become an affiliate and create your own bookstore within their site, where you can direct your readers to shop for your books as well as books from other authors. Not only do you make a ten percent cut as the bookseller, but the indies still get their piece of the pie as well. You’re probably wondering, “how do I get my book on this amazing site?” If your book is set up with IngramSpark, it will automatically be fed to bookshop.org, and the listing will appear within ten business days.
Orders You Place Through Your IngramSpark Account
#1 Go Direct to Your Customers
This has been an incredibly effective strategy during the pandemic. It truly allows you to become more engaged with your readers. There are several ways you can do this, but the most common way is to set up a storefront on your website and then fulfill orders for your book through Aerio or bookshop.org. (That’s another cool thing about bookshop.org: you can create your own bookstore within their site. Not only do you make money from the sale, but indie bookstores do as well.) Please keep in mind these orders will likely not arrive before Christmas.
#2 Make a Plan
If you need books for orders you’re collecting on your own, please be aware that orders placed via our United States print facility will likely not arrive before Christmas. Our printers are running at full steam, but with this year’s pandemic surging again and holiday demand at an all-time high, there are significant printing delays. The recommended holiday order-by dates we share in advance each year (subscribe to receive emails from us) have already passed. Print turnaround times for hardbacks have recently moved to 30 business days (6 weeks), and while paperbacks are currently holding at 10 business days (2 weeks), that could change at any time depending on volume.
We appreciate your patience and support as we work diligently to get your orders to readers worldwide.
If you're concerned about receiving your books in time, get creative! Here are a few suggestions of what you can do to delight your customers while they wait:
- Giftwrap a box and include a picture or image of the book and a note in the box to let the recipient know it's on the way.
- Create IOU certificates or cards with a "Coming Soon!" message, to hand out or mail.
- If you're having an event, sign bookplates that readers can affix to the inside cover of the book when they receive it.
We hope this article provides a deeper understanding of your title availability this holiday season and gives you a few ideas you can implement today! Our customer support turnaround times have also been impacted this year, so please utilize this article and its additional links. You’re always welcome to reach out to us, and while we may be a bit slower to respond, your questions are important to us, and we’ll reply as soon as possible.
Updated December 7, 2020