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Ten Million Eyeballs

Using Statistics to Create Marketing Plans
by John Kremer

This report is divided into four parts, one dealing with editorial, one dealing with trends and their effect on editorial, the third dealing with marketing, and the fourth dealing with Internet marketing numbers. This is the third part of this report.

Using Statistics to Create Marketing Plans

“Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.” — Mark Twain, humorist

Statistics, polls, and other numbered facts can help you as an author or publisher to decide where your priorities should be in marketing your books.

The Most Important Statistic of All

Did you know that we all give up too soon in making our sales and publicity pitches? According to research at Harvard University, most purchases are made only after the prospect has said NO five times! Does that get through to you? How often have you given up after one or two or even three NOs — when most sales are not made until the buyer has said NO five times!

Bookstores Rule!

According to a survey of 1,003 New Yorkers between the ages of 25 to 35, Barnes & Noble has the best singles scene in the city (American Express survey). Among the survey's other findings: 42% of those polled said they thought the best way to ring in the New Year was “at home, enjoying a quiet evening for two.”

Now how can you use this information to promote your romance titles? Your relationship self-help books? Your party books? Not only are the chains great singles scene centers, but any good independent bookstore offers the same attraction. What can you set up to make this information work for you, your book, and the bookstore?

Customer Loyalty

In Frederick Reichheld's The Loyalty Effect, he argues that a 5% improvement in your customer retention rates could boost your profits by 25 to 100%.

Book Readers

A survey of the literary profile of 64 cities, conducted by University of Wisconsin-Whitewater education professor Jack Miller and based on 13 different measures in five categories (education, magazine publications, newspaper circulation, booksellers, and libraries), put Minneapolis as #1, followed by Seattle, Denver, Atlanta, and San Francisco (New York was #47). Seattle was tops in numbers of booksellers, followed by San Francisco, Portland, Minneapolis, and Atlanta.

According to the Association of American Publishers, $12.6 billion were spent on books in 2000 (about 1% more than in 1999).

The Census Bureau reports that bookstores sold $15.3 billion in 2000 compared to $13.95 billion in 1999.

In 2001, consumers spent $5.2 billion on 548 million adult books in the first half of the year (Adult Book Trends Update). Book clubs's market share was 22% almost equal to that of the chain stores. Independent bookstores captured 13.6% of consumer spending while web sites accounted for 7.5% and mass merchandisers 4.6%.

African-Americans spent an estimated $356 million on consumer books in 2000, up from $310 million in 1999, according to The African-American Book Buyers Study, which was conducted by Target Market News and published by the Book Industry Study Group (summer 2001).

In 1994, $15.2 billion was spent on consumer books while only $5.4 billion was spent on movie tickets. During that same year, total book sales (including educational and professional sales) reached $23.8 billion while total filmed entertainment expenditures (including home video, TV, and barter) reached $29.5 billion. In 1998, total book sales were projected to reach $32 billion while box office revenues would only reach $5.9 billion (Veronis, Suhler & Associates).

According to a 1991 study conducted by Maritz Marketing Research, 46% of adults read 10 or more books each year. Where do they get the books they read? 41.4% get them from bookstores, 24.9% from libraries, 10.8% from friends, 8.7% from supermarkets, 4.0% from newsstands, and 8.5% from other sources. Oh yes, 1.7% didn't know where they got their books.

According to a recent survey, at least 35% of the U.S. population visit a bookstore at least once a month. In fact, Americans visit bookstores more often than any other type of store, except for the mass market chains such as Wal-Mart, Target, and Kmart.

During any given week in 1987, 22% of American adults bought at least one book (Gallup Survey).

More than one billion books have been bought by consumers during each of the last three years (1994 through 1996). 36% of all books bought in 1996 were mass market paperbacks, 34% were trade paperbacks, and 30% were hardcovers (1996 Consumer Research Study on Book Purchasing).

According to Book Industry Trends 1995, however, almost 2.3 billion books were sold in 1994. The 1997 report projected unit sales of 2.36 billion in 1996. The difference between these numbers and those reported in the above point is accounted for by sales to schools, colleges, and professionals.

In a 1997 survey by Publishers Weekly, 41% of those identified as book buyers claimed to be buying more books now than two years ago.

In 1987, affluent Americans (earning over $50,000 per year) spent $2.3 billion on books, $34.8 billion on clothes, $7 billion on artwork, $10.3 billion on jewelry, and $3 billion on cosmetics. These figures should help to put things into perspective.

85% of movies are adaptations from books (Hollywoodlitsales News).

Oprah Picks

75% of people who bought an Oprah book club selection in a Barnes & Noble store also bought a second book as well. That book could be yours. That second book could be yours. What will you do to make that happen? At least, let B&N know when you have a book that ties in with an Oprah pick or other bestselling title.

Book Tours

In 1992, the top five U.S. book markets, based on retail sales, were Los Angeles ($384 million), New York ($360 million), Chicago ($272 million), Boston ($238 million), and Washington, D.C. ($235 million). Rounding out the top 25 are Philadelphia, Seattle, San Jose, San Diego, Detroit, Atlanta, Oakland, Houston, Dallas, Long Island, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Denver, Orange County (California), Phoenix, Baltimore, Newark, St. Louis, Portland, Columbus, and Austin. If you are planning a bookstore or media tour, these are the top cities you should visit (American Booksellers Association).


One of the best places to find data about your market is to look at the media kits of major magazines covering your market. For example, did you know that 54% of New Republic readers have spent more than $50 on books in the past 30 days? 75% enjoy fiction, 71% history, 54% biography, and 47% politics. I discovered this by looking at their media kit. For $450, you can place a full-color ad in their Literary Pieces section. For more information, contact Melissa Lord at New Republic, 43 West 24th Street, 10th Floor, New York NY 10010; 212-924-8700; Fax: 212-924-8777. For other magazines, call their advertising departments to get their media kits. They're a gold mine of information on your potential audience.

Best Place to Hide Books in Your Home

40% of all people who come to a party in your home do this: Snoop in your medicine cabinet. Marketing tip: Put a copy of your book in the cabinet. Or some takeaway literature. Or bookmarks.

Sales Incentives

Why to companies offer sales incentives? According to a summer 2000 survey of Incentive magazine readers, here are the most common reasons:

88% — To increase or maintain sales

75% — To build customer loyalty or trust

27% — To sample new users

11% — To get shelf attention

09% — To obtain store displays

What can you learn from the above numbers? If you want to sell your book to be used in an incentive program, be sure your pitch is aimed at increasing sales or building customer loyalty. That's what makes the sale.

Licensing Rights

In 1999, according to the License! Industry Annual Report, retail sales of licensed merchandise totaled $175.1 billion worldwide. What a market! Of that total, licensed merchandise from art and publishing totaled $17.3 billion. Again, what a market! Even with a minimum licensing fee of 1%, that's a $173 million market. Are you ignoring this market?

Art and publishing, as a category, includes non-fiction books, novels, magazines, and art. Where are such rights used? Apparel accounts for 10% of licensed retail sales, toys and games almost 20%, housewares about 15%, hardware about 15%, soft home about 11%, music and video about 12%, software about 3%, stationery about 6%, and miscellaneous about 8%.

Home Parties

Home parties (such as those sponsored by Tupperware, Mary Kay, etc.) accounted for $8.3 billion in sales in 2002 (Direct Selling Association). Items currently sold by home parties include: scented candles, kitchenware, scrapbook supplies, golf clubs, pharmaceuticals, marital aids, home furnishings, and beauty supplies. Why not books?

Books as Gifts

In 2002, 51% of holiday shoppers planned to give books as gifts, up from 44% in 2001 (American Express consumer survey).

40% of adult Americans gave a book as a gift over the 1996 holiday season while 36% received at least one book as a gift. But the potential market is much larger since 51% of those surveyed in a 1996 pre-holiday Gallup poll said that they would like to receive a book as a gift. 24% of total book purchases in 1996 were described as gifts (ABA/Gallup).

According to the NPD Group, 17% of all books bought in 1999 were given as gifts. That's down from 21% in 1995. 44% of all books bought as gifts are bought during the fall season.

Where are books bought as gifts? Again, according to the NPD Group, 33% of the books bought during the 1999 holiday shopping season were bought from chain bookstores, 20% from independent bookstores, 9% from Internet e-tailers, 8% from price clubs, and 5% from book clubs.


In the year 2000, $60.9 billion will be spent by consumers buying via catalogs. An additional $38.9 billion will be spent by businesses buying through catalogs. That means that catalog sales account for almost $100 billion in sales! (Source: DMA State of the Catalog Industry Report 1999). If you want to sell more books to the catalog market, check out the Catalog Sales Data Files compiled by Open Horizons. For details, see catalog.htm.

Premium Sales

In 2000, spending on premium incentives rose to $26.9 billion. (Source: Promo's SourceBook 2002). $4.3 billion was spent on consumer incentives, $2.0 billion on business gifts, $8.7 billion on sales incentives, $8.3 billion on dealer incentives, and $3.6 billion on non-sales employee incentives. The Internet is becoming a vital source of information for the industry. In the same report, $16.3 billion was spent on promotional products (logoed pens, golf balls, apparel, luggage, etc.) in 2000.

In 2003, spending on employee incentives and consumer premiums increased to $29 billion (Promo Magazine).

Getting Men to Read Books

The British division of Penguin conducted a poll that found that 85% of women said a man could increase his chances of getting a date by talking about a favorite book. On the other hand, more than half the men believed that flattering a woman would be enough.

To encourage more British men to buy and read books, Penguin is now sending out a sexy Good Booking Girl to offer 1,000-pound prizes to men spotted reading Nick Hornby's 31 Songs and other future titles bearing a special cover sticker. It will be interesting to see if their efforts increase the number of men buying books. Watch this space for the results in six months.

Internet Marketing

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, an estimated 50 million people purchased books online in 2003. About 41 million bought music through the Internet (June 2004).

According to the Wall Street Journal, it's impossible to overstate the importance of search. It's the second most popular activity on the net (after email). Keyword search advertising now represents 31% of all Internet ad revenue. Are you making use of keyword advertising opportunities on the two major search services: Overture (Yahoo) and Google? If your website isn't one of the top ten web sites for key search terms, you should look into buying placement. Both services allow you to limit your risk — and pay only when someone actually clicks on your ad.

Note: 43% of all searches on the Internet are done via Google. 28% use Yahoo while 11% use MSN and 6% use AOL.

Would you like to look at those parts of the web that are not covered by Yahoo or Google — the so-called invisible web? Then check out, the website of Chris Sherman and Gary Price, authors of The Invisible Web. This site allows you to search through databases that are not normally spidered by the search engines.

Small businesses bought $2 billion word of products on eBay last year. You might want to look into selling your books there. Ebay isn't just for targeting consumers; you can also target small businesses.

Internet sales will hit $229 billion by 2008 (Forrester Research, Septemer 2003). U.S. online sales will reach $96 billion in 2003. E-commerce represents 3% of total retail sales. By 2008, it will be 8%.

82% of web buyers still look through most of the catalogs they receive. 29% of people who buy on the Internet go online to research products they first discovered in catalogs (Forrester Research, December 2002).

According to Response magazine, U.S. e-commerce retail sales reached $52 billion in 2002. One direct response TV advertiser, Thane, is pulling in $30 million in annual sales from its Internet activities.

According to Internet research firm Forrester, 71% of online ad spending will be performance-based by 2005 (either per inquiry or cost-per-acquisition).

For advertisers making use of various Internet sales opportunities, 25% of sales come from affiliate programs, 10 to 20% from search engine optimization programs, 10 to 20% from permission email, and the rest comes from shopping/auction sites and various traffic placement opportunities (banners, text links, sponsorships, etc.). If you have not yet begun an affiliate program or explored search engine optimization programs (where you pay for placement at the top of target searches), you may well be missing as much as 50% of the sales you could be making. One note of caution: Make sure that any pay for placement or other costly programs you institute actually pay off in enough sales to justify the costs. Sources: Jupiter Research and the Direct Marketing Association (2002).

86% of consumers have requested to be on at least one email list to receive some sort of regular communication from a website. Many of these people have also bought something as a result of email marketing. According to a 2002 study by Digital Impact, repeat purchases make up 53% of Internet sales (that's up from 40% in 2000).

Would you like to know what the top online buying category is for Australia, Italy, and the United Kingdom? It's books! Books are #2 in the United States and Canada (after computers). In France, however, books are #3 (after computers and CDs). The same study showed that most people who shop online make multiple purchases (Ernest & Young, January 2000).

According to a study conducted by IMT Strategies ( and reported in the April 2000 issue of Target Marketing magazine, below are the top ways that web sites are discovered. Remember these percentages when you are planning your web site promotional strategies.

46% — Search Engines

20% — Random Surfing

20% — Word-of-mouth

4.4% — Magazine ads

2.1% — By accident

1.4% — TV spots

1.2% — Targeted email

1% — Banner ads

According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers study done this year, 47% of the people surveyed reported that an online purchase replaced an item they would have bought in a store. 26% also reported that they bought an item online that they would not have bought otherwise.

A recent survey of 352 marketing professionals (Millward Brown IntelliQuest, September 2000) revealed that email is the most commonly used online marketing tool.

In-house email lists get 3 to 4 times more clickthroughs than sponsored email or rented lists. According to a January 2000 report from Forrester Research, .25% of the people receiving an email from an in-house list will purchase from that email (10% clickthrough rate x 2.5% purchase rate). Compare that to a rented list, which costs $200 per thousand to rent: 3.5% clickthrough x 2.0% purchase rate = .07% effective response rate. According to Forrester's numbers, it costs $286 to make one sale using rented email lists, while it only costs $2 per sale for in-house lists. Make sure you use your in-house lists effectively before you begin exploring other lists.

During 2000, the number of women online surpassed the number of men online for the first time (Media Matrix, August 2000). Women over the age of 55 now make up the largest segment of women using the Internet. What are you doing to reach these women?

According to an Ernst & Young study, online shoppers in America have a median age of 41 and a median household income of $59,000. 58% are married, 41% college graduates, and 50% female. Again, what are you doing to make sure your web site is attracting these people?

In just one year, has increased its unique users from 7,375,000 to 18,133,000, with 10% projected to be buyers (PC Data Online, July 2000). That's 1.8 million buyers! Incredible.

Almost 90% of all online dollars are spent by 20% of shoppers on the Internet (InterActive Consumers Study, Cyber Dialogue, September 2000).

More people use email (96.6 million) than use the web (87.9 million) [eMarketer, 2001]. More than 1 billion email messages are sent every day in the United States. 85% of responses to an email offer are received within the first 48 hours. Email messages cost an average of 1¢ to send while direct mail costs an average of $2.00 per piece and telemarketing costs from $1.00 to $3.00 per call.

A 2001 Harris Poll revealed the following about how Americans use the Internet:

89% send and receive email.

68% check news, weather, updates, etc.

67% get information about a hobby or other special interest.

62% gather information about products and services.

61% do research for school or work.

60% surf to explore new sites.

09% take courses.

Online sales for September 2001 were $4.7 billion. In September 2001, books accounted for $300 million in sales via the Internet, up from $121 million during September 2000 (Neilsen/NetRatings).

78% of women in the U.S. use the Internet for product information before making a purchase and 33% research products and services online before buying offline (Millward Brown IntelliQuest, April 2001).

58% of consumers won't return to a web site if it fails on their first visit (Forrester Research, 2001).

60% of online customers will register with a web site if they get coupons in return. Of those registering at a web site, 88% are willing to offer their age, 84% their names, 82% their education level, and 77% their hobbies and interests (Cyber Dialogue, 2001).

Projected online advertising spending is $6.8 billion for 2002, $8.6 billion for 2003, $10.6 billion for 2004, $12.9 billion for 2005, and $15.4 billion for 2006 (Jupiter Media Metrix, 2001).

More than half of all direct marketers selling via e-commerce made a profit on the web in 2001 (DMA's State of the E-Commerce Industry Report 2001-2002). Of those not reporting a profit, 55% expect to show a profit in 2002.

41% of people placed an order via the telephone versus 45% who placed an order via the Internet. That shows a dramatic increase in the acceptance of Internet ordering. (DMA's State of the E-Commerce Industry Report 2001-2002)

Fewer than 15% of search engine visitors bother to read beyond the first page of results (ContentBiz, July, 2002). That's why you should really work to get your site into the top 10 results for key search terms that might be used by your target audience.

Between 1998 and 2002, adult interest in purchasing from the Internet grew from 24% to 41% (Vertis Customer Focus 2002: Internet). In 1998, 18% of people with Internet access in the U.S. had purchased something via the Internet. By 2000, that percentage had grown to 42%. By 2002, to 57%.

What are people buying on the Internet? Here are the results of a fall 2002 survey by Vertis (Customer Focus 2002: Internet):

43% — Books

29% — Music CDs

25% — Home Electronics

23% — Toys

22% — Movies, Videos, and DVDs

21% — Sporting Goods

16% — Home Improvement Tools and Items

13% — Health and Beauty Products

12% — Furniture and Home Accessories

8% — Pet Supplies

7% — Housewares and Small Appliances

According to DM News (March 2003), IBM's software group will now allocate 15% of its advertising budget to online marketing (an increase of 5% from last year). 50 to 60% of their advertising budget goes to direct and interactive marketing; the rest goes to brand marketing. IBM's software web site currently accounts for close to 20% of the group's $13 billion in annual sales. IBM has discovered that 80% of their larger customers go to the web before buying (for more detailed information and comparison). In addition, 60% of the transactions they get through telesales originate from the website. They have found that targeted opt-in emails get the best responses for them. While they typically get 1.5% response from direct mail, they are getting 4.1% response to their email promotions. That's almost three times as much response.

According to Forrest Research, 6.4% of Americans have bought or sold something via an Internet auction site. 50.5% of Americans have made an online purchase in the past three months.

Which marketing tactic offers the lowest cost per lead? According to new 2003 research from US Bancorp Piper Jaffray, here are the costs per lead for standard Internet marketing tactics:

  • Search — $0.29 per lead
  • Email — $0.50 per lead
  • Yellow pages — $1.18 per lead
  • Banner ads — $2.00 per lead
  • Direct mail — $9.84 per lead

To maximize your search engine campaign, start by doing the free things like optimizing your web site for key words. Then look to paid placement and pay-per-click opportunities in the major search engines: Google and Yahoo.

Dramatic Offers Needed

Speaking in a recent teleconference, J. Walker Smith, president of Yankelovich, described four factors shaping the current American mind-set:

1. People have economic concerns based on job security and the need to save for retirement.

2. People are switching life priorities, from self-righteousness to the current level of anxiety.

3. The threat of terrorism is sustaining that anxiety.

4. The scandals in business, religion, and government have taken away the trust we used to have in key institutions.

These factors, according to Smith, have made people less materialistic and more principled. That means, he said, that if you want to sell someone on doing something, if you want to get their attention, you have to make the offer more dramatic than in the past. From my point of view, it really means two things: one, more drama; two, more heart. Combine those two elements, and your news releases and catalog copy will be much stronger. Try it out.

More Statistics: Internet Marketing Numbers

Copyright © 2011 by self-publishing expert John Kremer

Open Horizons, P O Box 2887, Taos NM 87571