Writer’s How-To: Sell Box Sets

All good things come in…boxes?

In the fiction genre, it’s hard to deny the power of the series. For children, it was Captain Underpants and The Series of Unfortunate Events. For young adults, it was Twilight, The Hunger Games, and Eragon. For adults, it was Lord of the Rings, Stephen King’s Dark Tower, and Fifty Shades of Grey.

And, well, for everyone, it was Harry Potter.

Series. Sell. Well. Remember the last great book you read? Did you wish it would never end? As readers, we create emotional ties to the incredibly real characters our favorite authors create. If you can manage to write a great first book that captures the hearts of readers, it’s likely you can milk those sales out a bit further by writing a second, third, or even eighth book!

How to sell a series

By selling in a box set, you can offer your most avid of readers a nice discount, while also reducing the risk that they will read book #1 and jump ship. Still, the price tag associated with your three-book box set is quite a bit higher than your buyer may have originally wanted to spend on their next beach read, so it’s good to show and reinforce that value every chance you get.

1. Use a box set image

If you use a flat image to show your box set, you risk buyers who are scanning Amazon (or another seller) assuming your high price is for one book. By using a 3D image of the set of books, you reduce that risk.

Here are the images Barnes & Noble uses to sell some of the world’s most popular series:


What I love about this Harry Potter image is not only do they show the cool box that the series comes in, but they were smart enough to pull out the books so that we can see their varying (and increasing) widths.


This Twilight box set still has pretty imagery on it, but I miss the widths that were shown in Harry Potter’s.

2. Put a range of numbers in your book title

You could say “Harry Potter: The Complete Series,” but saying “Harry Potter: The Complete Collection (Books 1-8)” helps show the buyer just how great of a deal they’re getting.

Check out this example from Barnes & Noble for The Series of Unfortunate Events series. They’ve separated it into 2 box sets, and show a range of numbers in each.

A Series of Unfortunate Events #1-4 Netflix Tie-in Box Set


A Series of Unfortunate Events #5-9 Netflix Tie-in Box Set

unfortunate 2

And for nostalgia purposes, let’s show an awesome cover from before Netflix took over the world:


The art! The charm! The lack of digital effects!

3. Put the savings in the product description

If you charge $10 per book for a 3-part series, that’s $30 bucks (yay math!). And if you sell the box set for $25, that’s a nearly 17% discount. Five bucks might not seem like a big deal, but when you put it as a percentage, it’s a lot more impressive.

Putting a line at the top of your product description that shows the percentage discount can be a big element in snagging buyers.


And there you have it! What’s your favorite series of books? Let us know in the comments below!

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