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Marketing & Publicity, Sales, and Book Types Glossary

Marketing and Distribution

Below you will find Terms and Definitions related to Book Marketing and Publicity.

Audio Books: A professional recording of a book, sometimes done by the author.

Board Books: Small, often square-shaped books intended for infants and toddlers and consisting of a small number of thick pages.

Book Signing: A publicized event, often held at bookstores or book fairs, featuring an author reading from and discussing the author’s book and autographing the book for customers.

Chains: Large companies that own many bookstores under the same name. The biggest chain in US bookselling is Barnes & Noble. A “superstore” carries 100,000 or more titles and can include a coffee shop and other amenities.

Chapter Books: A category of books aimed at children ages 9–12. While chapter books often display one line drawing per chapter, they primarily use text to tell a story.

Concept Book: A picture book for preschool children that attempts to teach a basic concept. Many concept books display illustrations or other art and contain only a few words per page. Concept books frequently focus on introducing children to subjects such as the alphabet, or colors, shapes, and sizes.

Direct Mail: Promoting books by sending a brochure, flyer, postcard, or other printed material directly to a group of potential buyers.

Distributor: A company that warehouses, catalogs, markets, and sells books to bookstores, libraries, and wholesalers on behalf of a number of small publishers, consolidating those costs.

Fantasy: A type of fiction that bends or transcends the rules of the known world, allowing such conventions as time travel, talking animals, and super-human creatures.

Fiction: Writing that comes from the imagination or writing that does not adhere to the facts related to true events.

Genre: A specific category of books, such as historical, romance, science fiction, nonfiction, poetry, short fiction, etc.

Independent Booksellers: Retail shops, not owned by large companies, selling books to the general public.

Institutional Sales: Book sales primarily to schools and libraries, especially by children’s book publishers.

Library Binding: A more durable hardcover binding with cloth reinforcement and often a different sewing method.

List Price: The cover price of a book, also called the “retail” price.

Marketing: A concerted effort of promotion and advertising by the publisher to maximize sales of books to the public and to distributors.

Mass Market Paperback: A smaller (4 and 3/16″ x 6 and 3/4″) paperback book usually printed on low-grade paper and released in high quantity at a lower price than a trade paperback. The subject matter of these books typically fit current popular market needs. In addition to bookstore placement, these so-called rack-sized books are often distributed through drugstores, airports, and supermarkets.

Media Kit/Press Kit: A folder of promotional materials used for announcing information about a forthcoming book to the news media and other targeted outlets. Media kits may include excerpts, reviews, quotes from individuals praising the work, and a press release, and seek to draw media attention to a specific event or product launch.

Monograph: A scholarly piece of writing (often book length) dealing with a detailed, yet often limited, subject.

Niche Marketing: Marketing and promoting a book to a specific group of buyers, such as people in a certain geographical region, or people with a specific hobby or interest. Books published for a niche market may be sold nationally but mainly are sold through specialized retail outlets.

Nonfiction: True writing in which the author retells actual events.

Novelty Book: Books with special built-in features such as pop-ups, foldout pages, liftable flaps, or hidden sound chips.

Picture Book: Primarily aimed at children from preschool to age 8, picture books display pictures or illustrations on every page, telling the story through images that are accompanied with a few lines of text. Most picture books are 24 or 32 pages.

Press Release (See Media Release):

Remainder Copies: Copies of a book that are deeply discounted for fast turnover, often due to slow-moving sales or an overabundance of stock.

Returns: Unsold copies of a book that are returned to publishers from booksellers. In most cases, the bookseller returns unsold books to the publisher for a complete refund.

Special Sales: Non-traditional sales in outlets that do not specialize in book retail (anything from gift stores to pet shops to organizations, etc.).

Target Audience: A specific group of readers likely to be interested in a particular book.

Trade Bookseller: A bookseller that distributes books to the general public. Some trade booksellers include superstores, chain stores, independent booksellers, and online retailers.

Trade Paperback: Trade paperbacks are larger than mass market paperback books and are bound with a heavy paper cover. They are often are the same size and bear the same cover illustration as the hardcover edition. Trade paperbacks are usually bound with glue only.

Wholesaler: A company that buys books in large quantities from publishers at high discounts and sells them to bookstores and libraries at a mid-level discount. Baker & Taylor is a wholesaler of books, videos, and music products to libraries and both traditional and Internet retailers. Ingram Book Group is a wholesaler of books, audiobooks, and periodicals to booksellers, librarians, and specialty retailers.

YA Books: A relatively new category, Young Adult (YA) Books are most often targeted at readers ages 12–18.