Today two major publishers announced new programs aimed at ramping up their direct-to-consumer sales. Simon & Schuster introduced two new stores on 11 Main, the Alibaba website that went live last year. It is intended to offer Main Street-style specialty and boutique shops. HarperCollins introduced a pilot program with e-book previews, and purchasing options, to social media users via Aerbook.
The Simon & Schuster store carries a culled selection of bestselling titles in both fiction and nonfiction, along with children’s books, cookbooks, illustrated books, and box sets. Some are being sold at discounts similar to those available at bricks-and-mortar stores. Simon’s Pimsleur Language Programs boutique contains programs for learning languages ranging from Spanish and French to Mandarin, Arabic, and Croatian. It also offers some items at sale prices.
“We’re delighted to bring Simon & Schuster books to this exciting new shopping destination,” said Michael Selleck, executive v-p, sales and marketing, in a prepared statement. “11 Main is truly an innovative way for discerning shoppers to find what they want, and to discover new and interesting products. Since the very first days of our company we have sought new ways to bring our books to readers wherever they may be, and establishing this direct-to-consumer presence on 11 Main, with its unique shopping experience, fits squarely within that tradition.”
Through Aerbook Harper enables Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest users to read and share excerpts of e-books, including Neil Gaiman’s forthcoming collection, Trigger Warning and negotiation expert William Ury’s Getting to Yes with Yourself, and to buy them. The current list of available samples to read and purchase is on Harper’s Pinterest board.
“We are thrilled to be working with Aerbook to put our books in front of readers in a new way,” said chief digital officer Chantal Restivo-Alessi. “This is another step forward in trying new ways to engage readers and expand the reach of our authors.”
Harper and Simon & Schuster aren’t the only publishers working to seek to strengthen direct-to-consumer sales online. Dover Publications also has a shop on 11 Main, as do several bookstores that sell first editions and collectibles as well as a discount cookbook store.