‘Tis the Season to Push Holiday Book Sales

How one adviser steps up his book sales game

While meeting with my bookkeeper last year, she told me that yearbook was the third largest budget in the school, falling behind football and marching band. That was an eyeopener! It’s a daunting thing to know, especially considering yearbook must set large sales goals at the beginning of the year.

As all advisers know, it’s an art determining the perfect number of books to order. There’s a balance of wanting everyone to get theirs, but also avoiding excess books. I’m sure we all have that one year where sales did not meet expectations, and there’s a pile of books in a dusty corner of the school!

Last year, I set hefty sales goals. We were coming out of the pandemic and wanted to exceed sales from years prior. I discovered two successful sales techniques. The first technique I tried was surprising parents with a discount code. Throughout the year, I would create a discount code in eBusiness with a small percentage off for a short period of time. With this technique, I had five to ten books purchased.

The second sales technique came around the holidays. I wanted to come up with an idea to incentivize parents to purchase the book as a Christmas gift. Starting Dec. 1, I offered a free ornament with purchase and a postcard as a “sneak peek” of the cover. The idea was that both could be wrapped and opened on Christmas morning.

The biggest hurdle was doing this as cheap as possible, unique to the school and high quality. This also meant that I wanted to avoid this as an extra cost to the consumer. To start, I decided to put a quantity limit on it. The first 25 books purchased in December would receive the ornament and everyone who purchased in December would receive the post card. Our school district has a print shop, so I was able to get a one-sided postcard printed for two cents a copy. If you don’t have access to a print shop, reach out to local print shops or office supplies stores for education discounts.

2021 Courtland HS Yearbook Ornament

2021 Courtland HS Yearbook Postcard

I purchased ceramic sublimation ornaments and vinyl from Amazon. The ornament design offered a preview to the 2022 Tracks cover. With the design made and a Cricut on hand, I attached the vinyl to the ceramic ornaments. This coming year, I intend to have my staff help me put the ornaments together. It will be a great holiday staff activity to offer a break from deadlines!

I quickly sold out of the 25 ornaments and plan to sell them as commemorative ornaments to encourage repeat business from parents. We have already designed our second edition ornament and are launched the design on Dec. 1. Good luck on your sales this year! Check out their new ornament on the @courtlandybk Instagram page!

Brian Lamb is the yearbook adviser at Courtland High School in Spotsylvania, Virginia. He teaches Personal Finance, Design Multimedia and Web Technologies and yearbook. He has been teaching for four years and comes from a business and graphic design background