Many authors ask me: “How do I get my book into airport bookstores?”
They love the idea of their book being in airport stores while a captive audience is milling around, with time on their hands and money to spend.
Even a short book promotion campaign has a potential audience of over a billion airline passengers – so it’s well worth doing.
If this is your big dream, then you need to know that Hudson News (based in New Jersey) and The Paradies Shops (a family-run business in Georgia) are the largest players in global airport sales.
There’s a lot of competition with pitching books to their headquarters. So this is something that requires a lot of skill and isn’t really for amateurs. First, you need a first-class cover, with ‘pick me up’ factor. Second, you need a best-selling title. Finally, you need a compelling and attention-grabbing blurb.
Ideally, you need feedback from a publishing professional that your book has all these traits. Otherwise, most likely you don’t – whatever your well-intentioned friends and family may be telling you.
A “really good” book is not enough here: you need to have an exceptional book with “wow” factor! You’re likely to get one bite at the cherry. So don’t blow your chances by going in with a weak pitch.
It also helps to offer a special “co-operative rate”. In other words, you have to offer a reduction on the first order over and above the regular discount.
However, beware – especially if you’re a self-publisher – that return rates range between 60% to 70%. So “sale or return” can mean that you end up with a heap of unsold books and a fresh challenge of how you’re going to sell them. That is – unless your book really takes off in which case reorders will start to happen for you.
Next time you are an airline passenger, take a look at the books currently available in the stores. Read the airplane magazines during your flight. Make a mental note of the type of articles that are included. Ask yourself whether your book might be a good fit for this publication. But again, you’ll need a strong pitch. This is a highly competitive market, so you need to be certain that everything about your book is first-class.
If you’re successful in getting space inside an airport bookstore, then you have a very short timespan to generate sales. Tell everyone you know about it. Take a photo of your book in one of the stores and post it on all your social media. Create some hype and encourage your clients and subscribers to tell others. Remember that excitement is highly contagious!
Airlines provide a captive audience, seeking entertainment and distraction, every single day of the week. It’s well worth investing time and energy to make this happen for your book.