Could Door-to-door Book Sales Be Revived in the US?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

front door

By Edward Nawotka

Today’s lead story looks at the success of door-to-door book sales in Brazil. It wasn’t that long ago when it wasn’t uncommon to see an encyclopedia salesperson walking the streets of your neighborhood going door-to-door with his or her sample case. Of course, that sales channel has disappeared in the US . . . whether whether this is the result of disinterest (who keeps a full set of encyclopedias in their homes these days anyways) or due to wariness from the horror stories one’s heard about criminality and home invasions as a result of letting someone you don’t know into your home.

Certainly, on the face of it, door-to-door sales looks like a dead end as a distribution channel for books in the US. But were a publisher to team up with a trusted brand (as Avon is doing in Brazil) could it work? Tupperware-style “home parties” are becoming an increasingly trendy way to sell everything from sex toys to clothing. So why not books? Couldn’t an industrious publisher organize for individual booksellers to host “book club book buying parties” and go direct? It’s often already done in bookstores, but with booksellers looking for an edge against the Amazons and online retailers of the world, could this be a difference maker? Or are the margins too small for the effort involved?

Let us know what you think in the comments?

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.