Add-on case #1 – Abril sells 2,7 mill. books

Add-ons are the products that are sold together with a magazine or newspaper – like a DVD or book. Sometimes they come along for free, shrink wrapped together with the magazine, other times they are sold separate.

Almost opposite of regular book sales, the add-on enthusiast looks for products with a lot of parts – like a book series with a lot of titles. This is due to the fact that once the sales gets rolling, you want to reap as much and as long as you can. The marketing needed to launch a 4 volume book series and a 50 volume is almost the same, but with the latter, the sales should be higher.


Photo courtesy of © Cl Art

Let’s have a look at some real life examples of add-on campaign and what was done to make it happen.

3-step campaign to sell 2,7 mill. books

The Brazilian magasine house Abril took in The 30-volume Adventure Story Bible and launched it through a huge 3-step campaign via the kiosks and newsletter stands. The first volume was printed and distributed in nothing less than 200.000 copies.

Below you can see the estimated sales of the 30 different books in the series.


So, how did they do this? Well, the overall strategy included 3 steps:

Step 1. Primary target – BtC at full price

The main sales channel was to sell single books to private people through kiosks and newspaper stands. These would be published 2 at a time with one month intervals for 15 months. First volume in the series was free, if you bought vol. 2 and 3. Those who took the offer would therefore already have 3 books in the series and therefore be more likely to continue buying until the end.


Although many buyers stopped buying after the first 1-4 volumes (where some kind of special offer was made), a lot wanted the whole set, once they got started. This tendency was enforced by several intentional and product specific elements:

  1. All 30 volumes are needed to complete the whole Bible from Genesis to Revelations. Had it been individual stand-alone stories like a series of fairytales, it would not have had the same effect.
  2. On the spine of the books, part of a picture is printed, so that when all 30 books are placed together, the whole picture is revealed. This also appeals to most of us as a trigger to get the complete set. After all, we might feel incomplete ourselves, if we don’t finish what we started.

Step 2. Secondary target – BtB at discounted price

After publishing and distributing all 30 books a few at a time, they were gathered in sets with one of each of the 30 books. These were then offered wholesale to businesses, ministries and publishing houses at a discounted price. Despite forecasting the demand and printing different quantity of the different volumes, they had more stock of some books than others, so a little reprinting was done, in order to gather as many complete sets as possible.

When all 30 volumes was published, a box was made to sell the complete set and provide some protection to the now heavy product.


Step 3. Clearance – BtC at discounted price

The final step was selling complete sets to private customers at a discounted price. This was done through Avon – a huge door-to-door network in Brazil.

At the end, the remaining books was destroyed and reports showed a stunning conclusion: More than 2,7 million books was sold in this series. The truth is that Abril had hoped to sell even more books than they did – and faster, so to begin with they did not look at this as a down right success. Later on though, when they looked back, they admitted that their expectations had just been too high, but that it was in fact a very good campaign, bringing in a lot of money and new customers.

Abril also mentioned that branding themselves together with a bible product gave them a good reputation, which was also a thing to consider.