How Modern Publishers Should Use Direct Sales

How Modern Publishers Should Use Direct SalesIf you were writing a business plan to set up a new consumer goods business, which of the following two strategies would make most sense?

Strategy 1: Identify a market which, while mature, has publicly suffered of late, and whose future is uncertain. Agree with these high-risk target customers that they can return your goods for full credit up to 18 months after invoice. Agree to a pricing structure with them for your products that will be only a shade more than they’ll cost you to manufacture. Get your products designed, specified and pretty much ready for sale 12-18 months ahead of when they’ll actually go on sale.

Strategy 2: Have your product time to market capped at 12 weeks. Manufacture little and often, maintaining a low stockholding policy. Maintain virtual inventory wherever possible. Identify customers who demonstrate their demand for your products early and vocally, allowing you to forecast sales based on real customer demand data. Ensure that you can access those customers directly. Sell to them at a price well above cost and ensure logistical expenses are covered.

Strategy 1 is, you guessed it, trade publishing. Strategy 2 is direct selling of POD or short-run physical books and ebooks. If I were pitching Strategy 1 to an investor, I’d never get it approved.

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