Get the Inside Scoop on Special Sales

Since 1988, Jerry Jenkins and Jenkins Group, Inc. have been working with individuals, corporations, associations and non-profit organizations to sell large quantities of books to non-traditional, special market sales customers. Now you can do the same. No longer will you have to spend hours of your time researching for new sales outlets. The INSIDER'S GUIDE TO LARGE QUANTITY BOOK SALES is an innovative PDF publication that allows individual authors and publishers to take advantage of our years of accumulated knowledge and experience. Based on actual JGI client success stories, this in-depth guide is the number one resource for special market sales. It reveals the most effective strategies in gaining attention for your book and getting it sold! NEWS FLASH!! Catch the next stop on the Special Sales Express, as Jerry takes his Insider's Guide on the road to Los Angeles, CA, in February 2006. The $295 attendence fee includes a FREE copy of the Insider's Guide.

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Here's What's Special About Special Market Sales - Corporate Sales

Jerrold R. Jenkins on Special Sales, with an excerpt from the Insiders Guide to Large Quantity Book Sales

Special Sales (def.): Books sold outside the traditional book trade; typically large quantity, non-returnable, freight pre-paid sales

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What, you ask, is so special about Special Market Sales?

Our Insider’s Guide to Large Quantity Book Sales is designed to change the direction of your publishing business, by helping you get into the lucrative area of special market sales. As a company, Jenkins Group, Inc. has spent endless hours to transform our years of experience into something that is both targeted and effective for independent authors and publishers – to bring you greater exposure and larger quantity books sales.

Ted Turner, media mogul and the founder of CNN said, "When you lose small businesses, you lose big ideas." That is especially true for independent publishers, and so I encourage you to use this guide as a strategic element of your existing marketing plan and to explore the network of information provided here to its fullest extent.

The Book Industry Study Group reported in its latest study that book sales would surpass $39 billion in 2004 and increase to $44 billion annually by 2008. You and your book can be a part of that growth!

Here is an excerpt from the Insider’s Guide to Large Quantity Book Sales on the topic of Corporate Sales. May it contribute to your publishing success!

Jerrold R. Jenkins

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Corporate Book Sales

The corporate market has untold uses for buying books, often for use as “premiums.” A premium, for those unfamiliar with the jargon, is offered as a prize, bonus, award or reward that’s given to induce someone to do something, whether it’s to buy a product, sell more products, subscribe to a magazine, sign up for a loan, or enter a competition.

Sometimes a corporation gives away gifts for the public relations value. Gifts may go to an employee or a vendor at Christmas time or to celebrate an anniversary or as a thank-you for a loyal client. Every time recipients look at the book, it’s hoped, they will think fondly of the company.

Corporations also offer “self-liquidators.” That means the company charges the recipients a certain fee, which, in turn, covers their investment. Cereal companies do this often, offering items for a very low price plus two proof-of-purchase seals.

Corporations have bought a wide range of nonfiction books as premiums, but even fiction titles have enjoyed success. When Paddington Corp. promoted its Amaretto di Saronno liquor in summer, 1992, with a “Summer Midnight Parties” theme, it gave away Sidney Sheldon’s Memories of Midnight to customers who ordered the drink, Eisman wrote.

The most common use of book incentives right now are tying a travel guide into vacation packages, said former Incentive editor Jennifer Juergens.

A Mexican cookbook, for example, was used to promote an employee incentive trip to Cancun. The cover detailed the trip’s highlights, whetting the employee’s appetite not only for Mexican food, but also for a delicious vacation.

Books are a chosen premium for many corporations because they’re inexpensive to buy, easy to ship and have a high perceived value because they educate and entertain. A book enriches the life of a person who receives it, making it a much better gift than a T-shirt tucked away in a drawer. People typically keep books around a long time, so they stay as an eternal reminder of a special corporate program, event, competition or trip.

Books are also easy to customize with a new cover, discount coupons in the back of the book, stickers, or an inserted letter. They can also be easily packaged to complement the company’s product.

Despite these advantages and the market potential, small publishers often fail to even think of selling to corporations or hesitate to do so because the process seems too daunting. Yet selling books to corporations is generally less labor-intensive than selling to schools and libraries. In all honesty, selling books to corporations does involve a hefty investment of time. A publisher needs to research the various corporations, hound the corporation for a decision, and perhaps travel to the corporate site for negotiations. There have been cases, however, when a sale has taken only one phone call and a follow-up visit.

Research is pivotal when trying to target the corporation. Sometimes it’s obvious. If you’ve written a book, Crock-Pot Recipes to Die For, you’ll want to pitch companies that sell crock-pots.

Books that involve text on a particular product are the easiest to sell. Some require greater creativity to dream up a connection to a corporation. Have you written a book on a famous basketball player, for example? Contact sporting goods and tennis shoe companies. A book on saving energy might go to an insulation firm or to an electric company trying to get customers to agree to an energy-saving device. Child-care books are frequent giveaways of parenting magazines.

To be considered by a corporation, send a copy of your book and a letter. Your letter should:

  • Stress the relevance of your book to the corporation or product.
  • Give proof in your letter that your book is a winner. Use sales statistics, testimonials, book reviews, etc.
  • Educate the company as to the advantages of using a book as a premium as well as the lasting value of a book, how people will appreciate the content, the ease of customizing the book, and the simplicity of shipping.
  • Some have suggested thinking ahead and listing companies in the book, where relevant, in order to be more favorably regarded by them for a premium sale. This tactic can sometimes backfire; you may inadvertently mention a loathsome competitor or end up with a chintzy looking book.

    After you send your book and letter to the appropriate brand manger, make follow-up phone calls and don’t give up. Be prepared to answer their objections. Diane Pfeifer, for example, spent four years making follow-up phone calls to the brand manager at Quaker Oats about her cookbook, Gone With the Grits. Her task was made more difficult because the brand managers kept playing musical chairs. Finally, the effort paid off and Quaker called her with a message: they wanted to put a coupon offer for her book on four million boxes of grits! The company placed an order for 15,000 copies, and agreed to pay a 55 percent discount off the retail price of $9.95.

    In early December, Pfeifer said that Quaker called her in a panic asking if they could pay her the $68,100 owed to her as soon as possible.

    “I’ve been in business eight years and have never heard that before,” she said. It wasn’t Pfeifer’s first time dealing with a corporation. She had just printed her first book, a popcorn cookbook, and visited the local office of TV Time Popcorn, owned by McCormick Spice.

    67 “The manager there called me as soon as I walked back into my house and offered to pay $4 a book for 5,000 books. Yes, $20,000,” Pfeifer said.

    “I was, of course, elated, but then thought I better bring in a consultant since I was so naive about this business. As you can probably guess, she blew the whole deal, asking for the sky (spokesperson stuff, etc.). I later discovered he had $20,000 to play with, and I had walked in at the right time.”

    Lori Marcus of Cadillac Press in Lake Tahoe also had good luck pitching her book, Bartending Inside-Out. The company agreed to pay a 50 percent discount for the $14.95 book.

    A small sale, maybe, but it entirely paid for Marcus’ first printing of 2,000 books. Negotiation is often a big part of corporate sales. Marcus agreed to insert a premium liquor name every time a recipe called for it and to customize the cover. The company, in turn, agreed to pay for the special color and the text changes. Her negotiation illustrates a point: closely work with your printer for estimates when negotiating a deal.

    Marcus considers herself a beginner, but admits she did compose a strong query letter. “Two of the people called me while they were reading the letter. I wrote that most liquor companies give away T-shirts and gadgets. Why not give away knowledge? And that’s what got them.” Below is an excerpt from Marcus’ letter:

    ”I have been bartending throughout the country for most of the past fifteen years, but have never been able to locate any books on bartending that gave me more than recipes and home bartending tips. I could find no book that explained how to change a keg, how to cut garnishes, or how to fold a bar towel that looked neat on the bar; all basics to the bartending profession. It’s surprising how many bartenders consider themselves professionals, but could not tell you the difference between Scotch and bourbon, or what gives gin its flavor. As one of those so-called “professionals”, I decided to put together a book on bartending geared to novice and seasoned bartenders, bar owners, and managers. This is a book for “profession, profit, and fun;” a book for those interested in taking their service and knowledge to a professional level. It is concise (about 120 pages), interesting, and provides easy reading, touching on all aspects of the profession. Anyone can learn the mechanics of bartending, but with the changing attitudes and laws associated with alcohol service, today’s bartender must be versed on many levels of service and knowledge.”

    Marcus not only captured a book deal, she also was hired by Seagram’s to conduct an employee seminar. She then pitched her book to liquor distributors (the salespeople want copies so they know what they’re talking about), hotel chains, and restaurant supply firms. “These sales take a long, long time,” Marcus said. “You have to be prepared to wait. There are so many different people they have to go through, and they’ll forget about it if you let them. I must have made thousands of phone calls.”

    Eventually she was able to put together a deal with Allied Domecq who bought books to give away to all the managers from the Bennegans chain. Currently, Bartending Inside-Out is being used by six different bartending/hospitality schools as a textbook.

    To locate a specific corporation, we suggest seeing firsthand what’s out there. Get in your car and drive to a large store in a metro area to familiarize yourself with the products (you will need this information in customizing your letter to each company). Once you find the company names, you’ll need to get the address and phone number.

    One of the best resources for this type of information is Brands and Their Companies: A Gale Trade Names Directory, published by Gale Research. Other standard references of corporations are Standard & Poor and Moody’s Indexing Service. Moody’s has been bought by Mergent, Inc., a global business and financial information company. Mergent’s website ( offers several databases of corporate information, including US Company Data Direct (public company information on over 10,000 U.S. companies) and International Data Direct (over 17,000 non-U.S. companies). To find corporations organized by product (liquor, for example), consult the 2002 Directory of Premium, Incentive & Travel BuyersTM, which lists more than 12,000 corporations and 17,900 premium and incentive buyers along with their annual budget for premiums, their size, and the destination of their incentive trips. It provides an index that lists companies by the type of product or service they sell. It’s available in most libraries. If you’re heavy into corporate sales and want your own copy, it costs $329.00; to order, call (800) 795-6596. Here are two sources to learn more about companies: Check out the Internet site, to search for a specific company (lists 75,000 with basic information).

    Even better, go to The Thomas Register of American Manufacturers ( After registering your company—a fairly quick process—you can initiate a search by selecting a key word or company name. The Thomas Register, with over 170,000 companies, has the most comprehensive database on the Internet.

    As you do your research, seek out specific information on the corporation with these two questions in mind: 1.) Why would my product appeal to this organization? 2.) Does the product and your book appeal to the same kind of target audience (upscale, downscale, relevant to the book’s subject matter)? Your final step is to call the company to identify the contact name—usually the marketing manager or brand manager.

    Besides helping you identify exactly who should receive your package, a phone call affords you the opportunity to introduce yourself and your book, and sets up the expectation for its arrival. About seven business days after shipping, make a follow-up call.

    Corporations Use Books! Here’s a list of corporations that have used books as effective promotional tools for history, premium, incentive, and product sales:

    Alka-Seltzer: Tax Relief tax time giveaway
    AOL: Compton’s Encyclopedia as “thank you” gift
    Avon: Diary
    Chrysler Motors: Rediscover American Roads test drive promotion
    Coca-Cola: Coca-Cola Girls Advertising & Art history book
    Coors Beer: The Colorado Scenic Calendar as distributor gifts
    Crate & Barrel: Grilling Cookbook in picnic basket
    Deere & Company: Company History
    Frito-Lay: Three mini-books Goosebumps Trilogy
    Forschner Group: Swiss Army Knife promo with Mr. Boston Official Bartender’s and Party Guide
    General Mills: Product promo: Cheerios
    Hartz Mountain: Wacky World of Animals
    Mead Johnson: Product promo: Enfamil
    National Arbor Day Foundation: Tree Care Guide Book with membership
    Ortho McNeil: Assorted pharmaceutical titles
    Pfizer: Product promo for Glucotrol
    Pfizer: Product promo for Zithromax
    Proctor & Gamble: Pepto-Bismol and Metamucil offer: Fodor’s Great American Vacations
    Quaker Oats: Gone with the Grits cookbook offer
    R.J. Reynolds: Marlboro Man image promotion: Great Trails Road Atlas
    Revlon: Charlie perfume promo date book
    Singer: Sewing machine products, etc.
    Smucker’s: Ice cream promotion: Richard Scarry’s Best Back-to-School Activity Book Ever
    State Farm Insurance: Insurance products
    Vicks: Product promo for Vapor Rub
    Victoria’s Secret: Romance novels
    Warner Chilcott: Oral contraceptives

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    Jerrold Jenkins is Chairman and CEO of Jenkins Group, Inc., a custom book publishing services firm specializing in the production and marketing of independently published books for individual authors, corporations, associations and PR firms. His co-authored books include: Inside the Bestsellers and Publish to Win: Smart Strategies to Sell More Books. Jerry is known for delivering creative and enthusiastic sales and marketing solutions to a wide variety of publishing audiences, inspiring authors, publishers, and marketing professionals to profit in the $25 billion book industry through motivation, on-target insights, and humor.

    To purchase or learn more about the Insider’s Guide visit our Special Market Sales site at