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#1
Adam Wilbert

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Hello all,

I've recently self published a local interest 24x36 wall map (4 color offset) and have been generating interest in the piece at various book / hiking / recreation stores in my area. I expect the poster to retail for $9.95 usd. I am completely new to the self publishing game, so I am willing to accept the retailers getting a higher percentage than normal in exchange for the experience of going though the motions this first time out, establishing relationships, and getting my name out etc. But as a general rule, what is an acceptable retail markup, or in other words, what is a fair price that I should be getting per piece considering the $9.95 price point?

-adam

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#2
MapMedia

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I don't have any direct experience to offer, other than some advice a book publisher told me: on his first few books, he sold them for rock bottom prices, essentially to (1) draw interest in the product/brand and (2) get them into peoples hands. Subsequent books sold very well at normal retail prices, esp. on Amazon.

#3
CHART

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For retail stores you should get between 40-60%
Consider putting a small contract agreement together for each retailer that will be selling your map.
Also try to get them to purchase order a minimum amount of maps.

I am sure that others with more experience in the business of selling maps will have other (different) ideas.
Chart

#4
rudy

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For retail stores you should get between 40-60%


The 40 to 60 range seems reasonable. Since you're starting out, the lower end of the range is probably okay. You'll need to negotiate with each retailer separately; some will be better than others.

#5
BEAVER

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I would do price breaks. $6 for small orders, $5.50 for orders over 50 maps and $5.00 for orders over 100 maps. This is somewhat a standard in the industry. The stores will make more money on the map then you and you have to live with it. Once people know your product, you can try to sell it your self on the web and keep all the profits. Marketing is the key for a new mapping company. I lunched my first map this year and have 5 other maps in the works. So far it's going great. It's a struggle at first. You might have the best looking detailed map out there and people will pick the cheapest one in the store that is 15 years old and has 10% of the info you have on your map.

#6
Nick Springer

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For retail stores you should get between 40-60%


The 40 to 60 range seems reasonable. Since you're starting out, the lower end of the range is probably okay. You'll need to negotiate with each retailer separately; some will be better than others.

Having worked in a retail map store early in my career, I can tell you the markdown is 40% for wholesale. It is the same as books. What you typically do is set the retail price (maybe even printing it on the map), and then sell it to stores directly for 40% off that price. They then have the option of selling at that price or offering it at a discount which cuts into their profits, but that's up to them.

If you sell bulk to a wholesaler like MapLink, you will then need to offer price breaks beyond the 40% so they can sell it to retailers for 40% off and get their cut.

Nick Springer

Director of Design and Web Applications: ALK Technologies Inc.
Owner: Springer Cartographics LLC


#7
Jean-Louis

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Adam,
It has been my experience that retailers often insist that a poster product like a wallmap needs to come rolled and inside a polybag or some other type of package.
These polybags are not expensive but the problem is that someone will buy the product only if they see it displayed. The whole buisness of retailing is about competition for display.

PS. Nick you worked in a map store. Have you ever sold Unique Media maps?
Jean-Louis Rheault
Montreal


#8
Adam Wilbert

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wow, thanks everyone for the responses. An update: The shops that are on board and I have agreed to a 50% markdown as my price which I'm glad to see is right in the middle of the ranges given here. I'll be delivering small quantities (10-20) to each store as they need them so that they do not need to keep a large bulky stockpile, which was appreciated by each of the owners. I'm hand rolling them as needed and packaging them in poly bags for retail, and so far I've been lucky that each store has a great spot to put one on display. Because I haven't registered a UPC code yet, I'm targeting smaller locally owned shops that still use the old "price sticker and calculator" method of ringing up sales. Hopefully I'll be able to scrounge the UPC registration fees together soon so that I can target the larger bookstores. By then it is hoped that, with some proven success at these smaller shops, I can negotiate a better deal. One step at a time though.

Once people know your product, you can try to sell it your self on the web and keep all the profits. Marketing is the key for a new mapping company. I lunched my first map this year and have 5 other maps in the works. So far it's going great. It's a struggle at first. You might have the best looking detailed map out there and people will pick the cheapest one in the store that is 15 years old and has 10% of the info you have on your map.


My business model is mostly focused on freelance work for land use organizations, but I really enjoy working on general interest pieces and the self-publishing side when contract work is thin. I have a friendly relationship with the local University's map librarian who is cataloging and displaying some of my work. While I can't technically sell anything through the university, she likes to put signs up pointing people to my website "for more information" :)

anyway, thanks everyone for the great responses, as usual.
-adam

Adam Wilbert
CartoGaia.com & AdamWilbert.com
Lynda.com author of "Up and Running with ArcGIS"


#9
BEAVER

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You will need both UPC and ISBN codes on the map. Bookstores use strictly ISBN numbers and most other stores use only UPC. Both #s should run you about $350

Large stores are not as easy to get it as the little stores. It takes time for the product to hit the shelfs due to the corporate bureaucracy. They will have to have meetings, vote on your product, then put it in the budget for next quarter, etc, etc. If approved, you will have to ship the product to corporate location and they will distribute it to local stores in your area. Which means, you might have to ship the maps to NY for the maps to come back through their channels to the store that is 2 blocks from where you shipped the maps from. That's American retail stores. Then you have distributors that you have to use to get to certain stores. By the time the map reaches the costumer, everybody made more money than you, and you are the one who did all the work.
The company I worked for few your ago made hardware that was sold in Home Depot. I remember one item that we were selling for $0.14 , the final price was $1.69 at the store.

#10
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on the topic of ISBN codes.... and BEAVER's comments. Should a small local map producer bother with obtaining those registered numbers (for 350$ per product)?. What I am asking is what advantages would a product like Adam's gain from moving to the bigger book stores etc. Based on BEAVERS point it seems to me like its not a good business move. I am curious as to what other have to say....about moving to the big leagues with a local product.

I tend to lean towards the use of local shops, local marketing and a eventually a web base online store (and maybe just a bar code...instead).
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#11
Adam Wilbert

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What I am asking is what advantages would a product like Adam's gain from moving to the bigger book stores etc. Based on BEAVERS point it seems to me like its not a good business move.


You might very well be correct in that it doesn't make sense to make that move and that is something that I will definitely be looking into. My reading into the GS-1 guidelines for obtaining UPC codes suggests that a one time application fee of $750ish gives you the UPC prefix and an alloted block of numbers that you then assign to products as they are created, spreading that initial fee over the lifetime of the business. So, depending on how long the prefix is, the remaining digits dictate how many products you can number (99, 999, 9999, etc.) With a shorter prefix, the registration is more, but you can have more uniquely numbered products. Again, I'm reading up on this still, so if I'm way off in my understanding, please let me know! I have yet to look into ISBN numbers to any significant degree.

-Adam

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Lynda.com author of "Up and Running with ArcGIS"


#12
natcase

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Coming into the discussion late:

For "rack-job" distributors filling racks from their trucks and managing inventory, the standard discount to stores was traditionally a little less than 40%. Don't know if that's still the case.

For publishers selling direct to bookstores, the standard is 40-50% depending on quantity.

For sales to a distributor who is selling directly into stores, the discount is in the 60-65% range, or higher for case quantity or high volume sales.

Your discount for posters sounds about right; for "custom" prints, you may be able to get away with less discount off of a higher price. Especially true if you are mostly pricing for direct sale to customers, but have a shop or two who wants to carry an item.

ISBNs and UPC's are sold by their managing agencies in ranges. This means you buy 1, 10, 100 or 1000 numbers. The price ber number goes down drastically as you get to higher quantity.

Especially if you are going through a distributor who has their own numbers, you may be able to "piggy back" on one of their numbers for less than setting up your own account. if you think you will publish more titles in the future and want to set up your own identity to the trade, this is not advisable.

Nat Case
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maphead.blogspot.com



#13
tom harrison

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Hi folks - I've been self-publishing for twenty years now so maybe I can throw in a few words that might help you. ISBN vs UPC: some stores use one, some use the other, some use none. Get them both. You can't sell on Amazon or in Borders or Barnes & Noble without an ISBN and you can't sell in a lot of convenience stores without a UPC. Many stores require the price to be printed on the map as well as imbedded in the barcode-do it, and don't be surprised when they slap a big price sticker right over your barcode or price, often with something completely different! Discounts: there are two discounts to consider-first the individual stores. They are very happy with a 50% discount (called a keystone discount) but will almost always gladly take a 45% discount from the retail price. And forget about a tiered pricing sysytem based on the number of maps they buy. Keep it simple both for your own sanity and accounting purposes and because the small stores will appreciate that they can get the same discount from you that the big stores can. Try to keep it at 45%, because the second discount you want to eventually consider is the discount to the wholesaler. A wholesaler sells maps, books, videos - I even have one wholesaler who sells fishing gear - and they sell them to small mom-and-pop operations as well as to large accounts like REI and EMS. These guys know how to get into stores you've never even heard of, and they know all the buyers at the large chains that will never give you the time of day. They typically want a 60% discount because they sell to stores at a 40% or 45% discount so they are not making that much money on each item. But they sell a ton of items so it all works out in the end for everyone involved. The best way to find a wholesaler is to ask the person who does the buying at the stores. They all know of someone who handles that kind of stuff and are happy to point you in their direction. At some point you need to ask yourself - do you want to be in the sales, distribution, and order fulfillment business, or do you want to make maps? Hope this helps.




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