Bundle Your Books for More Sales and Reach
If you have two or more books on the same or even related topics, you can create a book bundle. A book bundle is different from a book series. A series is a sequence of books that have certain things in common. People are more familiar with series in fiction, so an easy example would be the Harry Potter or Jack Reacher books. They all chronicle the adventures of a set of characters. The books can be bought individually and read as stand-alones. A bundle, on the other hand, sells two or more books as a package deal at a discounted price. As with everything, there are pros and cons to this strategy. However, done properly, bundling your books can boost revenue, revive your backlist, and reach new readers.
What is Book Bundling?
Book bundling involves creating a package deal where readers can purchase multiple books on a topic as a single purchase. Instead of buying each book separately, readers get the advantage of a bundled offer, often at a lower total cost. You can do this with both eBooks and print books.
Pros of Bundling Your Books:
1. Your Readers Get a Great Deal. This is ideal for those authors who want to create a “fanbase” of readers. It automatically creates good feelings. Bundling provides readers with more content for their money. If they are interested in a topic, they might find value in purchasing a bundle of related works. Because they are buying (and hopefully reading) two or more books, it gives readers a deeper feel for your style and voice, helping to create familiarity and in a sense, a relationship.
2. More Sales. By offering a bundled deal at a lower price point than buying the books individually, you can encourage more readers to make a purchase. This can lead to an increase in overall sales volume. This falls under the Law of Demand: If price decreases, demand goes up.
3. Cross-Promotion. Bundling offers an opportunity to cross-promote your books. If readers enjoy one book from the bundle, they might be more likely to explore the other books included. Some authors will bundle a book that creates a bridge to a related topic to introduce readers of one subject to another topic they write on. For instance, an author might have several books on how to invest in real estate and another series of books on home maintenance and rehabs. Not everyone who invests in real estate want to get involved in rehabs, but there is undoubtedly enough cross-over to make adding a “bridge book” or an introductory book to a bundle.
4. Give Your Backlist a Boost. If you have older books that are still valuable but not selling as well individually, bundling them with your newer releases can help give these titles a new lease on life. As books fade away in the rankings, their visibility fades, too. Putting them in a new bundle can generate interest in individual sales as well, helping the book rise in the rankings.
5. Simplifies the Purchasing Decision. This is Marketing 101. Too many choices confuses buyers and they end up putting off the decision or worse, not buying altogether. In short: they suffer decision fatigue. Bundling your books eliminates the need for readers to choose between multiple titles. You are making it easy for the buyer to say yes to your offer.
Cons of Bundling Your Books:
1. Potential Revenue Loss. Offering a bundle at a lower price means less revenue per book. It’s important to carefully calculate the discount to ensure that you’re not cutting your own throat. For eBooks, you need to be mindful of the different royalty payout when the bundle price is outside of KDP’s sweet spot, between $2.99 and $9.99 for 70% royalties.
Simple math: A woman in a FB group asked about bundling her two eBooks together, two for $17.99. That takes the price of the bundle out of KDP’s sweet spot for 70% royalties. Rounding up, $18 x .35 = $6.30 per bundle sold. If she prices the bundle at $9.99, she’ll actually make more money at the lower price. Again, rounding up, $10 x .7 = $7. She’ll make a bit more per bundle at the lower price and have the probability of more sales.
2. Cannibalization of Individual Sales. There’s a distinct possibility that readers who would have purchased your books individually might opt for the bundle, leading to fewer sales at full price. I think this “con” is countered by the fact that readers on a limited budget might only buy one book at full price, thinking they can come back again to purchase a second or third book. People buy in the moment. Many honestly think they will come back to buy again, but forget to. If you’re thinking “a bird in hand is worth two in the bush,” you’re right.
3. Perceived Value: If the book bundle is priced too low, it might inadvertently convey a message that the content is not valuable. However, a bundle automatically delivers more value to the reader. Striking the right balance is crucial, but from a marketing psychology standpoint, a lower price lowers expectations. If you hit them with your usual brilliant content, you’ll create a very satisfied customer. So, encourage people to leave an honest review in the back matter of your book!
4. The Marketing is More Complex. Promoting a bundle effectively can be more complex than marketing individual books. You need to communicate the value of the bundle and how it differs from buying the books separately. Think about why buying the books in a bundle rather than separately will benefit your reader and then put that into your book bundle description. (See #3 in Creating a No Brainer Book Bundle below.)
Creating a No-Brainer Book Bundle:
1. Choose Complementary Titles. You want all the books in your bundle to have the same target demographic. If you write books on how to make furniture using PVC piping, don’t include a book on how to crochet. A book that doesn’t fit in with the others will turn bundle buyers off. Select books that are related in theme, topic, or style. This ensures that the bundle offers a coherent and valuable reading experience.
2. Determine the Discount. Decide on the discount percentage for the bundle. A common approach is to offer a slightly higher discount for more books. For instance, if a single book costs $15, a bundle of two books could be priced at $25 instead of $30. Get three for $30 aka, buy two, get one free. (This also is a great strategy when doing book fairs, book signings, talks, etc.)
3. Highlight the Value. Clearly communicate the benefits of the bundle in your marketing materials. Explain how readers will gain more insights and knowledge by purchasing the bundle. If you can, talk about how the books support each other. For example, “The first book in this bundle, [book title], gives you the fundamentals you need to have in place in order to move into the more advanced techniques of Whatever in [Book Two] and Superwhatever in [Book Three].
4. Limited-Time Offers: Consider introducing limited-time bundle offers to create a sense of urgency and encourage quicker purchases. Many of the book promo sites want your offer to have a limited time span. Have a super-low (but still profitable) price for the promo and when the promo period is over, raise it up to your “normal” discounted bundle price.
5. Monitor Performance. As with any marketing, you need to monitor your sales and track how well your bundles are selling compared to the individual books. Track your results in number of sales and total revenue (gross and net), and I would suggest also tracking for any increase in number of reviews. Adjust your strategy based on the data you gather.
How do you actually create an eBook bundle? You take your book files and put them all into ONE document, then format it for print and/or eBook.
Note: You will need a new ISBN for your newly created bundle. For print books, you will now have a (much) thicker book so you will need a new cover or you will need to increase your spine width, at the very least. I recommend an entirely new cover with the title of the each book listed on the front.
If you’re looking to boost sales, revive your backlist, and give your readers a great deal, book bundling can be a strategic move for nonfiction authors. Consider the pros and cons, then map out a strategy of how you are going to market the bundle to get the most bang for your buck. Remember, the goal is to offer readers a no-brainer deal while still making a profit. The book bundle is definitely a “we’ll make it up in volume” strategy.
Have you created any book bundles? How have they worked out for you? Leave a comment and let us know!