If you’ve ever ordered a pile of books of the same title, you likely placed what is commonly called bulk book orders. However, while bulk book orders are helpful due to discounts, they can be a little confusing to understand.
What qualifies as a bulk order? Do you need to order one hundred copies to consider it a bulk order or can three or four books count?
Whether you want to start a summer book club or need to order your own books in bulk to take on your book tour, it’s time to define what bulk book orders actually are. Once you understand bulk orders, I will give you a how-to guide and of course, examples of different stores.
Are you ready to dive in?
Table of Contents
Bulk Book Orders: Defined
The definition of bulk book orders depends on the store you purchase from. For instance, if you order ten or more of the same title, at the same time, some stores will consider you to be placing an order in bulk.
While you may purchase two or three of the same title for you and a friend or family member, more than ten and you likely want a discount!
However, the number of titles ordered together does vary. Books A Million describes bulk book orders as a purchase of twenty-five or more of the same title.
If you want to purchase from a retailer such as Barnes & Noble, you will likely need to purchase fifty or more of the same title to receive a discount.
Now that this relatively subjective definition is in place, let’s get into the how-to guide for bulk book orders.
Your How-To Guide
Alright, so how exactly do you place your bulk book orders? Yes, you could search for your favorite book retailer, type in your chosen title, and order the desired number of books, but not only is this unnecessary but you’ll likely invest more than needed.
Again, placing your orders will depend on the store you choose to order from. There are some general guidelines you can follow when placing your order.
#1 – Know Exactly How Many Books You Need
For bulk book orders, it’s crucial to know how many titles you need. If you purchase too many, you’re left with extras lying around. If you don’t purchase enough books, you will likely need to place another order at the normal selling price.
#2 – Articulate Why You Are Making A Bulk Purchase
Additionally, it’s vital to understand why you’re making such a large purchase. If you want to sell your self-published books, how many buyers do you think you’ll have?
At this point, set aside ego, look at your marketing techniques and the data you already collected, and use this information to help you make your choice.
#3 – Choose The Right Store
Choosing the right place to purchase from matters more than you may think. As you’ll see in a moment, if you represent a company you can purchase large quantities of books for free ground shipping.
However, if you purchase as an individual who simply wants to start a book club, buying from Amazon may be your best option. With choosing the right store in mind, let’s look at three examples of ways/places to purchase.
Examples Of Different Stores
If you have a business account with Amazon, they allow you to order bulk items in new condition. There are several ways you can order in bulk with Amazon:
- Fill out their form and upload it
- Choose the “Buying In Bulk” option near your Add To Cart
- For businesses, choose “Bulk Ordering” from the menu
Just a few simple steps and you have your order placed.
If you self-publish your book and use print-on-demand (where your books are printed as the demand comes in), you can order your own books in bulk and sell them yourself.
While this can be seen as a risky move—after all, what happens if you can’t sell the copies—you can make more income from selling in this way. You act as the distributor, which means you get to keep more of the profit.
Bulk Bookstore is a wholesaler that specializes in selling books in bulk. One of their many bonuses is that the more books that you purchase, the less each individual book costs. They “offer a large catalog of millions of book titles from thousands of publishers.”
While you can’t purchase less than twenty-five copies of a single title and you must represent an organization, if you meet these two criteria you can also receive:
- Free ground chipping
- Exemption from state sales tax from qualifying entities
If you represent or are part of an organization and need to order books in bulk, this may be a great option for you.
BookPal is another wholesaler, but they take bulk book orders to another level. They offer a variety of books, quick delivery, and book recommendations. They say that, “Our deep knowledge of current and past titles allows us to connect you to ideas that will inspire new thinking and creativity.”
A Brief Comment On Bulk Book Orders And Ethics
If you are an author, chances are high that you hope to land on a bestseller list. Whether you hope to hit the charts on Amazon or join the ranks of the New York Times bestsellers, you may have searched one of the following, or similar phrases:
- How to land on a bestseller list
- How can my book become a NY Times bestseller
- Become a bestselling author
Ordering books in bulk is an ethical choice for many reasons. Maybe you want to start a book club and you can purchase the books at a discount if one person purchases them all, and group members pay that individual back.
Perhaps you self-published and want to sell books personally. You made use of print-on-demand and want to keep as much income as you can—great, make a bulk book order.
The issue comes when writers try to buy their way onto bestseller lists and use bulk book orders to do so. Of course, there are hoops to jump through in order to land on a bestseller list (such as the New York Times), with the means undetected.
While placing bulk orders of your own and spacing them out may feel like another marketing tactic, it is not a great way to boost your book’s ranking.
Rather than join the list of authors who have bought their way onto bestseller lists, put your time, energy, and budget into marketing, and leave the sales to your readers.
Of course, if you publish your book and a large organization such as a church, charity, or school places a bulk order, more power to you. This company just showed they value what you have to say on a particular topic and are willing to financially invest in educating those around them through your writing.
When bulk book orders are done in this way, either by a large organization for its people or by yourself for ethical reasons, these sales are well-earned. Enjoy purchasing, reading, and of course, sharing your book with the world!