Book Sales: 5 Key Strategies Educational Publishers Need to Focus On

book sales piles of books

The impact of COVID-19 on book sales is both subtle and profound. K-12 book sales thrived throughout the pandemic. Leaders face unusual headwinds in book sales – record number jumps in sales coupled with labor shortages and supply chain disruptions. First, leaders must get content creation teams back into the office. Then, publishers face the rising costs of materials, supply chain shortages, and a vast backlog of work. In this environment, leaders wonder how to keep growing books sales. Here are five key strategies to focus on to increase book sales.


1.) Digital First, Physical Second for Books Sales

Publishers are wise to take the digital-first, physical product second approach. Yes, remote-friendly products are a leading critical strategy. Content creation teams can make digital resources as they work from home. Therefore, this strategy lets leaders ease their staff back into the office and mitigate short-term industry headwinds. Digital products avoid issues plaguing the supply chain. IDs can quickly create digital products. Likewise, digital products are easier to sell to cash-strapped districts. Yet, federal and state funding exists for schools to upgrade curricula and their tech. Together these circumstances help boost book sales.


2.) Invest in New Formats for Book Sales

Likewise, publishers can leverage the benefits gained during the shift to remote learning. So, publishers elbowed into the rapidly growing ed-tech market. Houses leaned into their reputations as industry leaders. This approach lets them regain markets from ed-tech start-ups. Still, higher ed continues to struggle with pre-pandemic conditions such as low enrollment and deep budget cuts. Yet, publishers’ investments in digital learning solutions are paying off. Pearson’s online global online learning solutions grew 32% in 2020. McGraw Hill and Cengage posted double-digit gains, too.


3.) Leverage Distance Learning

So, distance learning is not going away. Likewise, the demand for hybrid instructional materials accelerates the development timeline for content creation teams. Besides that, traditionally, printed resources are demanded by schools to be available in both formats. Publishers seek the opportunity to give schools digital and print textbooks, books, ebooks, audiobooks, and interactive support resources. Also, distance learning lets publishers expand product offerings beyond book sales.


4.) For Book Sales Use Marketing and Other Products

Likewise, book sales are more than just the book. Publishers’ strategy includes continued investment in the products around the book. For example, gamification, streaming video, podcasts, eBooks, and platforms boost book sales. Tutorials, product offerings, and behind the scenes engage audiences. Besides, streaming video helps publishers tap their stable of experts. Authors, illustrators, scientists, and others in the field can engage with students in their classrooms. For example, author visits can be a weekly video series focused on writing skills. Publishers can copy approaches like BookTok to bring forward their backlists to increase book sales.


5.) Revise and Maintain Products

Lastly, publishers strategize how to optimize current product offerings. Also, leaders strategize how to maintain current product offerings. Moreover, publishers reach into their network of educators for input. This strategy lets publishers invest in those products that work. Also, this approach assists leaders when removing poor-performing products. This strategy enables publishers to reach their customers to initiate dialogs for future products needed. Therefore, this approach helps ID teams locate the gaps in the market. Besides that, it lets publishers divert investment dollars to what matters to the customer.


In sum, publishers need to redefine what a book sale is. Publishers are wise to invest in formats and distance learning to support book sales. Also, publishers’ investments in revising current products and maintaining platforms will drive book sales. Books sales will continue to grow if publishers plan remote-ready hybrid products.

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A Pass Educational Group, LLC is an organization dedicated to the development of quality educational resources. We partner with publishers, K-12 schools, higher ed institutions, corporations, and other educational stakeholders to create custom quality content. Have questions?

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