How to Market Books - Alison Baverstock (Routledge, 5th Edition, 2015)

How to Market Books has established itself as the pre-eminent book for those wishing to understand the marketing of books in the contemporary world, whether they be students or practitioners. Now in its fifth edition, Alison Baverstock has expanded and updated the latest version to take into account a rapidly changing publishing environment. The latest edition has added new case studies, checklists, a number of new chapters and a new organising structure. 

This edition is divided into three parts: ‘General principles and understanding,’ ‘Putting this into practice’ and ‘Specific advice for particular markets.’ The new structure allows the reader to consider marketing in the broader context as it asks the reader to consider what is being made available for sale, how to sell and how different markets operate. The early chapters discuss the importance of market research, sources of market information and what marketing means in publishing. With so much information available to us today, having a chapter on where to look for reliable information will doubtless be much appreciated, as will the chapter on budgeting and profit and loss accounts, a reminder of what marketing is ultimately all about.

The heart of the book is the coverage of the most important marketing activities that are undertaken for books. Baverstock covers the basics of how to write a marketing plan before moving on to discuss various activities including direct marketing, publicity and PR, events and the importance of design and writing copy—key skills for marketing practitioners. Authors are not forgotten and how to work with them and other partners and industry suppliers is covered in depth. The book has been thoroughly updated and chapters reorganised and renamed where appropriate to reflect current practice. The chapter in the fourth edition ‘Using the Internet to sell’ has been replaced with a new chapter on online marketing, which is based around a number of case studies by industry experts who discuss the main social media platforms, the importance of blogging and, not to be forgotten, email marketing, a sometimes overlooked but still effective channel to market. 

While earlier parts cover ‘first principles’ of book marketing, the final section has a focus on advice for particular markets in recognition that each market operates differently and techniques must be adjusted accordingly. Coverage here ranges from selling to public and academic libraries, marketing children’s books, to reaching more professional markets for Science, Technical, and Medical books. Including a wide range of particular markets makes How to Market Books relevant for marketing practitioners wherever they work in the publishing forest. 

It has been said that it has never been easier to publish a book but it has never been harder to get that book in the hands of a reader. How to Market Books remains an essential guide to the skills and practices needed for marketing success.

Helpfulness Rating Out of 5: 5


Nick Canty

My background is in the publishing industry where I worked for almost 15 years as a commissioning editor and publisher. I worked for Pearson, Thomson Reuters and was then the Publishing Director for the academic press of a professional society. In my previous professional work I have set up and managed commercial business units and launched various commercial enterprises, from book lists to major online information services. I have been involved with a variety of media and publishing formats covering print and online services.

I lecture on the Sales, Marketing & Promotion module in Term I and Book Selling in Term II.

I was a Co-Investigator on the AHRC Academic Book of the Future research project which was led by my colleague Dr Sam Rayner.

I am a member of the Association of Publishing Education (APE), the Association of Internet Researchers (AIR-L) and SHARP. I am the Books Review editor for the journal Logos.

My research interests include the value, use and impact of social media within publishing companies and publishing companies in transition.