Groupon: the next book sales frontier?

If you don’t know what Groupon is, it takes the idea of collective bargaining and puts it on the web. A deal, say 50% off on a facial at your local spa, is emailed to you. If you want it you can sign up for it. If a certain number of people sign up for it, say 100, then the deal is activated and you get your groupon.

As the fastest growing company EVER (Forbes, Aug 2010) , Groupon is widely seen as one of the best ways to get your product or service in front of the faces of thousands of customers. With that goal in mind, I decided to investigate selling my book, The Brink, on it. I mean, Borders and Barnes and Noble already deeply discounts our books, why not do it on Groupon for ourselves, right? So, I sent an email into Groupon explaining that I would offer 40% off on signed copies of my book. While they were fast with their reply, they basically said that books are not the kinds of products for which their service is intended.

Not to be dismayed, I contacted some of the other collective bargaining website,,, and they all said the same thing.  In fact, here’s a piece of the letter I received from the rep:

” We are excited to have a chance to promote your business to our network.  However, at this time, we are not able to schedule a time to run your feature because we have not determined the best way to merchandise in your category.  

If the situation changes, we will be certain to be in touch with you. Please feel free to reach out to us again in the future as well.”

Again, I’m not knocking these sites, they know what sells and what doesn’t. But I think what works for a deal on a facial or a dinner for two at a restaurant will also work with books, especially for those people wanting to buy books written by local authors.

Your thoughts? Is Groupon missing the boat by not including books? Are books a different animal than a facial or a restaurant meal?  To the keyboards!  


Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and award-winning author of Five Days in Dallas and The Brink. Send him an email at  

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2 Responses

  1. Mark, I also tried to work something out with Groupon on my book, “The Cherokee Advantage” and was met with the same story. I agree with you that books ought to sell as well as anything else. Maybe they will wake up to this, I hope sooner than later!

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