Looking back at a year of publication sales

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Periodically it is a good idea to look back, take stock. Especially of your more enterprising things, is there a return on the investment? How did you really do? What could you change to improve?

In my case, I have had now for ten years a series of publications. Early on sales were solid, but reflecting on the last year I am now reevaluating my method of sales and what publications to continue selling.

Sales in 2017, in order of popularity, were:

  • Introducing the Horn
  • Playing Descant and Triple Horns
  • The Bordogni-Ericson “Low Horn Boot Camp”
  • Playing the Wagner Tuba
  • Playing the Natural Horn Today

The sales numbers of the above are heartening and show they fill valid niche markets in the horn world. Beyond these books, of the rest of my publications, two sold ten copies and most of the rest less than five (!). Several in fact sold no copies at all. They all seemed like a good idea at the time, but beyond the top five publications, objectively there is not much of a need for the rest.

I mentioned earlier that I am reevaluating things. My sales site as of this writing is down, and I am leaning toward new editions and an entirely different sales method for those top five publications — and dropping all of the rest of them! More on that as plans develop, but this will be my big project over the winter break, and of this writing I am past some initial technical hurdles. It will be a bit of work, but exciting to do as well as all of them will also be updated into 2nd and 3rd editions.

In conclusion, I hope this illustrates a reality of “the business” and the low profit margin of publications. If you do not buy them, they might go away. Thus, there still is a need to purchase things rather than Xerox, sharing PDFs, etc. Enterprise does not survive when there is no profit. The moral of this story being that if there are publications and products you enjoy, buy them and encourage your friends and students to buy them too.

University of Horn Matters