Author Topic: Apple sales. Aggregators vs single retailer  (Read 307 times)

alhawke

Apple sales. Aggregators vs single retailer
« on: August 04, 2022, 12:33:40 AM »
The original intention of this post was for me to search for ways to pick up Apple's languishing sales--still is. But it's also to talk about aggregators.

Let me tell you what I've been doing. My books sell wide. I sell direct wherever I can. Because I use a pen name, and to protect that, the only major retailer I don't sell direct with is Apple. You can go direct with them with a pen name, but it's a big pain and not guaranteed. So here's the scoop. Three years ago, for about six months, Apple was actually my best seller. This has since languished. Apple is now my hardest market to break. So my question is, how are you guys selling more books on Apple? I do an Apple sponsored promo here and there, they perform very well, but are few and far between. Using BB ads, my books sell best in Amazon & B&N. Kobo runs promos frequently. Googleplay is weird and inconsistent and I focus little of my marketing on them.

This leads me to my next thought, important to all us wide-sellers. Am I selling less with Apple because my books are sold through D2D as an aggregator?
 

LilyBLily

Re: Apple sales. Aggregators vs single retailer
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2022, 01:04:05 AM »
Can't answer all your questions, but I have noticed that my titles that were discounted on BookBub last year sell on Apple better now despite no further promo attempts on my part. Not a lot of copies, so it doesn't take many sales to produce a 400% increase.

I use D2D out of sheer disgust with Apple's author interface. They've supposedly improved it since I struggled with it, but I don't care; I moved my titles out of direct to Apple a while back.
 
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alhawke

Re: Apple sales. Aggregators vs single retailer
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2022, 05:49:29 AM »
I use D2D out of sheer disgust with Apple's author interface. They've supposedly improved it since I struggled with it, but I don't care; I moved my titles out of direct to Apple a while back.
That makes me feel better. I was wondering if somehow Apple direct could drive more sales, but it doesn't sound like it in your case.

I focus a lot with building audiences through BookBub and running their promos/ads. My books aren't faring so well with Apple compared with other retailers. Maybe my books just aren't hitting the right Apple crowd anymore?
 

writeway

Re: Apple sales. Aggregators vs single retailer
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2022, 12:02:46 PM »
Many authors can't move jack on Apple. Me included. Even with Bookbubs my Apple sales would be pitiful. Apple is funny. See they lean toward trade books just like B&N but I still say B&N is a little friendlier to indies. What people don't get is you don't come by visibility honestly on Apple. You gotta have promos to move anything there and how do you get promos? You can't. Only a select, special few get promos. About 2 or 3 years ago, I finally got in with an Apple rep who was interested in diverse titles and I got one promo from it and saw nothing for it. I didn't even go through the trouble again because I found working with the reps (least for me)was more trouble than it's worth. So, yes, Apple relies on human editors and reps to recommend titles or to dish out promos. Promos are mainly invited unless you get in on the D2D Apple promos but rarely do different authors get picked. So that's what makes Apple so hard to crack. It's not an even playing field at all. You gotta have an "in". Even if you are direct it makes no difference. You gotta have a rep or someone at Apple who has read your book or it has to have caught their attention in some way for them to promote it.

And that's the rub. Without promos on Apple, visibility is nonexistent except maybe for freebies. Apple is one site where if you have a series, you definitely want a permafree to get eyes on your books. Hope this doesn't discourage you and I'm not saying there aren't things you can do but it's just what you do everywhere. Run ads, book promo sites, try to get Bookbubs, stuff like that. But their in-house promos are what really move the needle but as I said, only a select few are blessed to get them. You said you got a few so all I can say is keep trying and hope they pick you again. Congratulations to you on at least doing well when you first started there. Most never gain traction at Apple at all.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2022, 12:06:34 PM by writeway »
 
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alhawke

Re: Apple sales. Aggregators vs single retailer
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2022, 12:33:20 PM »
Many authors can't move jack on Apple. Me included. Even with Bookbubs my Apple sales would be pitiful. Apple is funny. See they lean toward trade books just like B&N but I still say B&N is a little friendlier to indies. What people don't get is you don't come by visibility honestly on Apple.
Thanks for all that. Their promos, if and when they run them, are impressive. I sold 40 99c books through the one and only Apple promo they held for one of my series. Most of the ones I'm invited to are for new releases and I can never plan the timing.

There must be a way to improve ad algorithms or something. B&N seems very receptive to BB ads, not so much with Apple anymore. I'm not sure if it's me or if they're just that much harder a market, as you're saying.
 

cecilia_writer

Re: Apple sales. Aggregators vs single retailer
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2022, 04:46:48 AM »
I've always used Smashwords for non-Amazon retailers, because I am much too lazy to manage them individually. I do much better with Kobo than any of the others but generally sales have declined over the past year or so. Oddly, I've suddenly started to see Scribd borrows from South Africa but not exactly in huge numbers.
Cecilia Peartree - Woman of Mystery
 
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LilyBLily

Re: Apple sales. Aggregators vs single retailer
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2022, 01:27:56 PM »
I've been shocked to have better Kobo sales recently than in the past, too, and again I ascribe it to the multiple BookBubs last year. I'm direct with Kobo and have applied for and done some of the 40% discount promotions without much of a bump. That's why size of the payment last month surprised me. Maybe Kobo has some algorithms to consider, too.
 
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Cobbah

Re: Apple sales. Aggregators vs single retailer
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2022, 04:09:50 PM »
I've been with D2D since the ARK for Apple and nobody does consistently well with them directly or through an aggregator as far as I know. Last year I had a small run with them. I've just done an analysis on their overall performance and the only time I've done really well is after a BB. The tail is generally over 6 months. Yet, with all that, over ten years I've made no more than $10k from Apple.

IA2OP (In Answer To Other Posts)
Kobo is useless most of the time. I get more sales in the US from Kobo than I do from Canada. The only reason I stay with Kobo direct is the Kobo plus side, it more than doubles my paltry royalties through them. B&N is consistently one of my best platforms, but then 65% of my sales are generated in the USA.

 
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alhawke

Re: Apple sales. Aggregators vs single retailer
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2022, 02:02:31 PM »
Interesting that so many people have had lower sales with Apple. I figured they'd be on par with B&N, but all your experiences ^^ are similar to mine. Doesn't sound like using an aggregator is the culprit.