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Ten Million Eyeballs

Sending Emails to Bookstores
and Other Potential Buyers

by John Kremer


If you want to send commercial emails to other businesses (bookstores, catalogs, associations, or corporations, you need to abide by the Can-Span Act of 2003. Here are some provisions of the law. For more details, see http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/buspubs/canspam.shtm.

The law, which became effective January 1, 2004, covers email whose primary purpose is advertising or promoting a commercial product or service, including content on a Web site. A transactional or relationship message – email that facilitates an agreed-upon transaction or updates a customer in an existing business relationship – may not contain false or misleading routing information, but otherwise is exempt from most provisions of the CAN-SPAM Act.

Here's a rundown of the law's main provisions (what it requires of commercial emailers):

  • It bans false or misleading header information. Your email's "From," "To," and routing information – including the originating domain name and email address – must be accurate and identify the person who initiated the email.
  • It prohibits deceptive subject lines. The subject line cannot mislead the recipient about the contents or subject matter of the message.
  • It requires that your email give recipients an opt-out method. You must provide a return email address or another Internet-based response mechanism that allows a recipient to ask you not to send future email messages to that email address, and you must honor the requests. You may create a "menu" of choices to allow a recipient to opt out of certain types of messages, but you must include the option to end any commercial messages from the sender.

    Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your commercial email. When you receive an opt-out request, the law gives you 10 business days to stop sending email to the requestor's email address. You cannot help another entity send email to that address, or have another entity send email on your behalf to that address. Finally, it's illegal for you to sell or transfer the email addresses of people who choose not to receive your email, even in the form of a mailing list, unless you transfer the addresses so another entity can comply with the law.
  • It requires that commercial email be identified as an advertisement and include the sender's valid physical postal address. Your message must contain clear and conspicuous notice that the message is an advertisement or solicitation and that the recipient can opt out of receiving more commercial email from you. It also must include your valid physical postal address.

Each violation of the above provisions is subject to fines of up to $11,000. Deceptive commercial email also is subject to laws banning false or misleading advertising.

For further information, see the following statement issued by a law firm regarding the Can-Spam Act: http://www.dglaw.com/images/NewMedia TopTen-May2004.pdf.


1001 Ways to Market Your Books, 6th Edition describes more than 1,000 ideas, tips, and suggestions for marketing books — all illustrated with real-life examples showing how other publishers and authors have marketed their books.

“Without glitzy idealism or funky hopelessness, Kremer does a sound job of talking about marketing, telling stories from his own and others' experiences. He knows his subject, imparting important information in a fast-paced, very open way. Extremely good stuff here.” — The Book Reader

May, 2008. 704-page softcover. $27.95. ISBN: 0-912411-49-X.


Copyright © 2012 by book promotion expert John Kremer
Email: JohnKremer@bookmarket.com

Open Horizons, P O Box 2887, Taos NM 87571