The Book Publicity Blog

News, Tips, Trends and Miscellany for Book Publicists

When you’re setting up a website, what booksellers do you list?

A few weeks back, @TaylorTrade raised the issue in a comment on another post about authors referring readers to particular stores or online accounts — if you’re an author and someone asks where they can buy your book, what do you say? Or if you’re a book publicist and an author asks you this question, what advice do you give?

First, if a book is only available at a certain account (store), i.e., because it’s self published, then the answer is obvious. But for most books published by large (and small) publishing houses, they are sold in independent and chain bookstores as well as online at Amazon, BN.com and numerous other online accounts, including, in some cases, the publishing house’s website.

The bottom line is that if an account is selling a book, then we — authors, book publicists, literary agents and anyone else seeking to promote or market a book — need to support them. I like to say something relatively generic like, “[Book title] is available online and at bricks-and-mortar stores nationwide,” leaving it up to the reader to pick whichever store they prefer.

When adding buy links to a website, one should include at least these accounts:

  • Amazon
  • BN.com
  • Indiebound (which represents most independent booksellers)
  • Publishing house (if they sell directly to the consumer)

Some authors also include links to accounts like 800 CEO Read and Hooks Book Events (both for bulk sales), Powells.com (which has a particularly large online — as well as, in Portland, a bricks and mortar — business) and others.

For those authors with author / book Facebook pages, you may consider adding a “Buy the Book” tab to the page with the iFrame HTML tab app (although you should note that Facebook no longer supports iFrame, i.e., it still works now, but may not eventually).  So while it doesn’t hurt to spend a couple of minutes copying and pasting the following to a FB page for a book coming out this fall, don’t spend a lot of time installing it or count on using the following forever more.

— Search for the iFrame HTML tab app for Pages.

— Click “Go to App.”

— Connect with Facebook and allow the app access to your FB account.

— In the HTML field, add the following code (or whatever variation you prefer). The words in capital letters below represent what you need to replace:

Purchase <em>INSERT TITLE</em> at your favorite bricks and mortar bookstore or from the following sites:

<br><br>

–<a href=”INSERT AMAZON URL HERE”  target=”_blank”>Amazon</a><br>

–<a href=”INSERT BARNES AND NOBLE URL HERE”  target=”_blank”>Barnes & Noble</a><br>

–<a href=”INSERT INDIEBOUND URL HERE”  target=”_blank”>Indiebound</a><br>

–<a href=”INSERT PUBLISHING HOUSE URL HERE”  target=”_blank”>PUBLISHING HOUSE</a><br>

— To change the name of the tab (which will appear on the left together with Wall, Info, Notes, etc.:

Edit Page > Apps > iFrame HTML tab app for Pages > Edit Settings > ENTER YOUR NEW TAB NAME > Save > Okay

October 21, 2011 - Posted by | Bookstores |

7 Comments »

  1. “Where can I buy your book?” ranks high among “dumb” questions asked by book presentation audience members. I always like it when participants ask their questions on cards that are passed to the aisles for collection and then perused by the author who answers the questions that most deserve an answer.

    Comment by Barbara McDowell Whitt | October 21, 2011 | Reply

  2. Authors, you can also use these links to add affiliate accounts at Amazon, B&N and Powell’s. I always link to my publishers page when I refer to the book, then add a link to accounts as a convenience to readers.

    Comment by DigitallyDaunted (@DigiDaunted) | October 21, 2011 | Reply

  3. Facebook will continue to use iFrames, but it now requires an SSL certificate for any web pages embedded with the iFrame application (as of October 1, 2011).

    For the laymen, iFrame allows you to embed a basic html web page as a tab on your Facebook brand page. So if you go to http://www.facebook.com/target, you’ll notice the special welcome page. That’s actually a web page which the Target Facebook page admin has added via the iFrame application.

    The SSL certificate is an authentication code that says “this website is secure and can be trusted.” You need an SSL certificate for your webpage to be viewable while a visitor is using HTTPS (encrypted browsing protocol). Many Facebook users have their “always use HTTPS” option checked off because they want secure browsing (so no one steals their personal information while they’re on Facebook). Facebook also requires SSL to reduce phishing attacks. You can purchase an SSL certificate from your web host.

    If you are confused by any of these terms, they’re easy to find on Wikipedia or that old stand-by Google.

    Comment by Alice | October 24, 2011 | Reply

  4. iBooks (itTunes) supplies widgets for your site also at : http://www.apple.com/itunes/affiliates/resources/blog/marketing-widgets.html

    You can signup for affiliate programs for iBooks and others at Linkshare: http://www.linkshare.com/advertisers/affiliate/
    (But it is much less user friendly and requires more developer skills.)

    Mike
    @shooteyeout

    Comment by shooteyeout | October 25, 2011 | Reply

  5. For interviews, I always tell authors to simply say “my book is available at online retailers and book stores across the country.” I think since a lot of people have forgotten you ask a book store to get you a book they don’t have in stock, they think if the book isn’t in a particular store, it’s IMPOSSIBLE for the store to get it for you.

    I also counsel authors to include a variety of options on the sites/blogs. When I ask “what kind of reaction do you think a buyer from store X is going to have to you and your book if they notice your site only links to their main competition?” that usually opens eyes.

    Comment by Kama Timbrell | October 26, 2011 | Reply

  6. As someone who is getting ready to set up a new site, this was really helpful information. I’ll pass it along.

    Comment by suzannelagrande.com | December 28, 2011 | Reply

  7. Blogs indeed are useful in gathering knowledge spread over internet from multiple authors.But when it comes over precise topic or a novel , I feel Audio books are the best way to do it.I recently started using them and i feel they are the best medium to learn things.I had bought 7 ways to happiness last week from Mallxs.com site and i am loving it

    Comment by atir | March 5, 2012 | Reply


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