On April 1, the American Booksellers Association transferred co-op management for booksellers participating in the ABA E-Commerce Solution to Paz & Associates. Mark Kaufman, who currently serves as co-op administrator for 30 independent booksellers using Paz's newsletter marketing services, is now working with E-commerce stores to claim publishers' co-op monies to help offset the cost of maintaining their websites. BTW recently spoke with Kaufman, via e-mail, about some of the ways in which Paz & Associates works on behalf of its bookseller clients.
BTW: How broad a range of publishers does Paz & Associates currently work with?
Mark Kaufman: There had been 15 publishers that we have worked with on a regular basis who offer newsletter co-op above and beyond what a store might have earned in their pool account. But Hachette announced just last month that it would no longer offer any newsletter co-op. There is about $7,500 available if you were to total the amount of newsletter co-op available from this group of publishers. However, only four publishers are willing to apply newsletter co-op funds to a website-only and store display promotion; the others see a website promotion as too passive (meaning that customers have to find their way to the site), and will only offer newsletter co-op for a more "active" promotion, such as a print newsletter or an e-newsletter that is regularly e-mailed to a store's customer list.
BTW: How do you identify opportunities to claim co-op for website and newsletter promotions? And how do you inform ABA E-commerce Solution stores about these opportunities?
MK: Here's a brief description of the process:
Around mid-month, after scouring publisher catalogs, websites, and special offers, we distribute a list of all recently published titles that are eligible for newsletter co-op through a website promotion.
Stores let me know which titles they intend to feature, and must have ordered sufficient quantities for an in-store display and also uploaded those titles to their websites.
I prepare a Claim Request Form and attach a screen shot of the web page, and submit the claim to the respective publishers electronically, with a copy to the store. Some publishers are now asking for a photo of the store display as additional proof of promotion.
We track the availability of newsletter co-op funds to apply to these promotions, and charge the store quarterly for 15 percent of the amount of co-op claimed within that time period.
BTW: How do you help bookstores comply with publisher terms and conditions?
MK: The "Claim Request for Co-op Credit" forms that we developed serve as a contract between the publisher and the bookstore. By signing the form that authorizes us to file claims on a store's behalf, the bookseller acknowledges that they understand and have complied with any relevant publisher terms such as minimum orders and front-of-store display; all of that information is captured and presented on the Claim Request Form.
BTW: What other services are offered by Paz & Associates when it comes to utilizing co-op?
MK: Our core philosophy is that booksellers and publishers must be "partners in promotion," since both will gain only when a book is sold to a customer. That being said, we have developed several alternatives to help stores with their marketing efforts, all of which include co-op administration. We offer both a four-page and a 12-page print newsletter personalized for each store, an e-newsletter designed with Constant Contact, or solely the co-op management function for ABA E-Commerce users. All inquiries are welcome ... we're happy to discuss a bookstore's current co-op utilization and the potential to have even more of the store's marketing efforts supported by publisher co-op. --Interviewed by Rosemary Hawkins
Details about co-op administration are available from Paz & Associates at (800) 260-8605 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Information about ABA's E-Commerce Solution is available on BookWeb.org or by contacting ABA's Scott Nafz at (800) 637-0037, ext. 6654 or email@example.com.