I have always thought it is best for publishers and authors to point as many sales as possible to book vendors. In many cases, I have encouraged clients NOT to have buy buttons. For one thing, it better ensures that a record of the sale gets recorded in the book rankings and sales figures (Nielsen Bookscan, etc). It is also sometimes easier for publishers to let the vendors and wholesalers take care of all of the distribution, as long as the % cut the vendors and wholesalers take still leaves a little bit of the “pie” for the publisher and author. And, for the author’s benefit, going through regular trade vendor channels ensures that they get royalties, which they often don’t if they buy copies from the publisher and then sell copies themselves.
With so many things changing about the book industry, I have come to the conclusion that maybe all of this needs relooking, like so many other parts of the equation. Right now, I am doing something I thought WordStream Publishing would never do; there is a “buy button” on our website, where we are running a 30% special on one of the books as a pseudo experiment. It will be interesting to see if this is seen as undercutting bookstores, if this is seen as helpful to consumers, and if the slices of the profit pie work out better by us doing so.
Iraq: Through the Eyes of an American Soldier is on the WordStream Publishing website right now at a special 30% new release discount. We are tacking the sales and marketing of this book in a very nontraditional way, and so far, it seems to be the wise decision. We are focusing on the niche, being very tight with the vendors we choose to give % points to, and working hard to make sure every sale is through nonreturnable channels. Will it work? Will it pay off? I think so.
Here is the buy button link to the special: http://www.wordstreampublishing.com/WordStreamPublishing/Fall_Special.html