Direct-Response Bookselling: How it Died, Why it is Alive Again, and Why it will Become Even More Important in the Future
Direct mail, once the engine behind such successful bookselling businesses as Book-of-the-Month Club, Reader’s Digest Condensed Books and Time Life Books, was a major channel for marketing books as recently as 20 years ago. A victim of the growth of large bookstore chains and later of the Internet, direct response bookselling is no longer is regarded as viable. But many of the skill sets developed by direct marketers decades ago are highly relevant for modern book marketing—especially when one considers that the Internet itself is the best direct-marketing channel ever invented. And as eBooks continue to change the structure of publishing, publishers will find themselves under increasing pressure to embrace direct-marketing methodologies and connect directly with their readers, rather than reaching them through book retailers and other intermediaries as they have traditionally done.