As a recently minted first-time author I am learning many things, well…for the first time (hence, the label). I am learning about editing, promoting, publishing, and of course, selling my soon to be released in August book “The Success Factor – Unconventional Wisdom for Small Business Success.”
As a businessman, the sales aspect is an area that I relate to well and know a thing or two about. So you can imagine my delight seeing my book for the first time being listed on the myriad of online sites which specialize in selling books in such faraway places like Canada (well not so far away, but remember, I now live in Florida)…Norway…Sweden…Japan (yup…surprised me too) in addition to the many U.S. sites we are already familiar. One by one, the sites listed my book, all adhering diligently to the retail price suggested by my wonderful publisher Morgan James Publishing – all, except one. This one site, which will go unnamed, chose to single-handedly reduce my introductory selling price by more than 33%…and this before it is even launched! Now I could understand if the book didn’t perform well in sales post-release, and a price reduction could be justified as a very conventional tactic for trying to accelerate sales. However, The Success Factor hasn’t even been released and this one site is already discounting the price! It’s so easy to cut prices – anyone can do it, but rather than choose to “swim upstream and create differentiation for itself” as I suggest in my book, this one site opts for the no-brainer strategy of cutting prices – a decision which negatively impacts them, my publisher Morgan James, and me. Additionally, it’s not just the negative impact from a monetary perspective, but worse, the harmful message a deep discount at pre-launch conveys to potential readers and buyers. This is clearly not the message we (editor, publisher, book retailer, and myself) wish to convey. It’s just the opposite.
As a small business owner, my suggestion to the retailer would be rather than discount prices and margins from the get-go, why not try to captivate and entertain potential visitors with an enhanced user experience through graphics, videos, blogs, or interesting background material on the witty author (me, in this case)? This way, they avoid just reaching into their grab bag and pulling out a hatchet and start cutting – prices that is. Call it what you like – price gouging, discounting, or promotional selling – it’s really nothing more than a bad business decision. Product margins are sacred and should be upheld as long as possible, since once they start their downward spiral they never come back.
So now it’s my turn to do my part. As a result of their shortsightedness in sales strategy, I have chosen to leave this retailer’s site link off my website and by doing so, will not endorse them for sales of my book. This is not a “tit for tat” business decision, but rather one which involves “practicing what I preach,”and as a smart small business owner (me again) choosing to only do business with persons and companies which value their partners, and at the same time avoiding those who engage in tactics like predatory pricing, which end up being a disservice to all involved, including themselves. As I roll-out my book website this week, see if you can guess who the retail villain is. And as I constantly remind my readers in The Success Factor, smart business tactics like mine are not so unconventional after all, are they?
The Success Factor is available for pre-order!