Writing Info

Loss Leader as a Book Sales Strategy

In business school we used to talk about loss leaders.  Little did I know one day I’d end up using the term in publishing.  The definition of a loss leader is:  a pricing strategy where a product is sold at a price below its market cost to stimulate other sales of more profitable goods or services.  

I’ve seen lots of authors use this strategy, especially if they’ve written a series and want to hook people by giving them the first book for free or at a low cost.  The goal is to get as many people reading the first book so they’ll buy the second and third of a trilogy at a regular or high price.  Have you ever seen that the first book of a very popular series is something like $3.99, and then book 2 is $8.99?

There’s also a strategy where writers distribute a free short story based on a book that’s coming out soon.  It gets people interested in the novel’s characters and vested in the story.  I think it’s actually a great idea.

Have you ever seen examples of the loss leader strategy working well for authors?

2 Comments on Loss Leader as a Book Sales Strategy

  • Gina Henning says:
    July 10, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    I’ve seen lots of this strategy. I also think that authors might switch back and forth between which book is free (ie book 1 or book 2) and get more reviews on each.

    Reply

  • Gina Henning says:
    July 10, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    I’ve seen lots of this strategy. I also think that authors might switch back and forth between which book is free (ie book 1 or book 2) and get more reviews on each.

    Reply

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