# Sales Equation: Cheap + Bulk = Profit

Last week I argued for the creation of paperbacks even in this digital age. If you do have a paperback available for sale, you can benefit from a sales technique often overlooked by indie authors–bulk sales.

But bulk sells at a price lower than what I hope to get for my work, you may be thinking. And you’d be correct. Selling in quantity means selling at a discount. But it also means more sales.

How about I illustrate this with some actual figures? I’ll plug in my own. My paperbacks all sell at \$10. My profit on the sale of a single book ordered through Amazon is determined by my cost, which is determined by the length of that particular book, but it hovers around \$3. We’ll use that nice, round figure. If I sell one book, I make three bucks. But I’ve decided to set discounts for bulk purchases. Here’s my sliding scale:

3-10 copies: \$8 per book
11-25 copies: \$7 per book
26+ copies: \$6 per book

How can I afford to set a \$3 or \$4 discount when I only make \$3 per book? Because \$3 is the profit I make when a customer purchases my book through Amazon. There is a cost for Amazon’s distribution services. But if I order my own books from the printer through my own account, I can get them for about \$4 a book. I can then make a profit even if I resell them more cheaply.

Let’s run the numbers.

So let’s say someone orders 10 copies. That will cost me \$40, but I’d resell them at \$8 per book, or \$80. That’s a customer discount of twenty bucks, and I actually make a higher profit than I would off Amazon, \$40 compared to \$30.

Let’s try 20 books. That would cost me \$80. If I resold them at \$7 a piece, they would cost the consumer \$140, a savings of \$60. However, I would still be making a profit of \$3 per book, or \$60, which is exactly what I would make selling 20 books through Amazon.

Let’s run the numbers again at 35 copies. That would cost me \$140 to order but would be resold at \$6 per book, or \$210, a profit of \$2 per copy. That’s a consumer savings of \$140 and a profit of \$70 for me. I’d even be willing to sell at half price if the order was large enough. One hundred books at \$1 profit is still \$100!

So you can see that each time, everyone wins! By having a bulk sale policy in place, buyers might be more inclined to purchase more than one book. Even if your profits per book grow smaller, quantity assures they still beat out a single sale. In addition, bulk sales result in more visibility. Notice, however, that I have to do the ordering and distributing and the collecting of funds, which is a small time factor and a larger risk factor. Also, I pass on the shipping costs to the customer, which, incidentally, average out to be MUCH less per book than Amazon’s single-book rate of \$3.99.

But who would buy that many books? Classrooms are the most obvious answer. Bookstores, too. But I’ve also been contacted by a reading group who would like to include one of my titles on their list next year. And I made a bulk sale to an organization that was considering my book for an award. (I didn’t win, but I was thrilled to be nominated, and not too disappointed in a 25-book order.) You never know who might become interested, so it’s wise to have a bulk order policy in place.

Now you tell me…have you had any experience selling in bulk? Would you consider it?