eHucksters: Selling ebooks at conventions (It works!)Feb 21st, 2011 | By Bart Leib | Category: CG Blog
Crossed Genres just completed its first-ever convention as dealers: We had a table in the Hucksters Room at Boskone.
Our overall experience was a good one; while we didn’t make much money, we did okay, met and re-met some great people, and had fun.
There’s one thing in particular that we thought was worth noting about our experience, and that’s that CG had one thing in the dealer’s room no one else had: Ebooks.
Now, several of the other publishers at the con do sell ebook editions of their publications. But apparently, none of them thought to bring that format to a convention. Crossed Genres was the ONLY dealer in the entire Hucksters Room that was prepared to sell ebooks to customers, on the spot, so they could start reading immediately on their smartphone, tablet or laptop. It was easy to set up: we just pre-arranged some emails with attachments, emailed them to ourselves, and whenever someone bought one, we forwarded it to them. Simple, right? We were the only ones doing it.
We also were offering a deal at the convention: Every ebook we had available for $20. That’s 9 monthly issues, the new Quarterly #1, CG Year One, CG Year Two, and RJ Astruc’s novel A Festival of Skeletons – over 450,000 words bundled together. It’s a good deal, over 35% off the books’ regular ebook prices.
The quasi-prominent marketing of our ebooks, plus the special deal we were offering, resulted in something we hadn’t really expected: 45% of the total revenue we took in at Boskone was from ebooks.
That is, frankly, astounding to us – that’s a significantly higher percentage than our usual ebook sales (though the special probably accounts for that difference). But the fact that we were able to sell such a significant percentage of ebooks, in person at a convention, tells me that there’s a big opening for this – just as with non-direct book sales, there is room for ebook sales alongside the traditional print sales even at conventions. In fact, a few of the other dealers there commented that they’d noticed how well our ebooks had sold and gotten attention, and admitted that they were thinking about following our lead at future conventions. One or two even asked for details of how we’d arranged the sales, which we were happy to provide.
So if you’re an avid ebook fan, keep your eyes open for ebook deals at conventions. And if your favorite publishers don’t have ebooks ready-to-sell at their table… ask them why!