Who would have thought that there is a multi-level marketing company related to books? Yeah. I was really surprised to find out that there is somehow a MLM company operating in the book selling space. Health and wellness? Sure. I’ve seen a lot of those. Beauty and personal care? There have been a few. But books? That’s definitely a new one. I still can’t wrap my head around it.
There are two Usborne brands that relate to books and publishing. The first is Usborne Publishing, an independent and family-owned publishing company that specializes in children’s books. The company’s founder Peter Usborne had a career in making children’s books. Sometime in 1973, he decided to create his own publishing company. The company proved to be successful. Why wouldn’t it be? There’s always an audience for education books targeted toward children. Peter’s son Martin founded his own publishing company called Hoxton Mini Press.
The second Usborne brand is Usborne Books and More, the company that I am reviewing. UBAM is the home business division of the Educational Development Corporation. The company was founded in 1965 and focused mainly with publishing educational materials that supplemented what was being taught in schools. There isn’t any information regarding who specifically founded the company. The current president and CEO of EDC is Craig White, who took over the position from his father Randall White. EDC acquired the rights to publish the Usborne books in North America in 1978. They founded UBAM in 1989, which was then called Usborne Books at Home.
What’s funny about this is that there is a specific section in the FAQs of Usborne Publishing about UBAM. A lot of people’s questions about the latter always go to the former, hence the FAQ section dedicated to it. Sharing the same name as another business is always going to be hard. Especially when that business sells the products you make or, in this case, gave them the rights to also make them.
UBAM’s affiliate members are called independent consultants. While their direct selling business takes up a huge chunk of EDC’s revenue stream, EDC still sells the books they sell through UBAM to actual bookstores. I’m not really sure if there’s a difference in price between those two retail choices. There might be. Who knows? Like a lot of multi-level marketing companies, you have to pay them a fee in order to become an independent consultant. In this case, you have three options. The cheapest is the Ticket to Literary package that costs $5 dollars. It contains just the necessary guides to help you in your journey as a consultants and it also gives you a $10 book credit. The next is a product kit called the New Consultant Mini Kit that costs $59. It includes a selection of some of UBAM’s popular titles, a bunch of promotional stuff from other series, some catalogs and the business package. The last one is the New Consultant Kit that costs $99 dollars. The difference between the two consultant kits is that you get four more of UBAM’s popular titles. The rest of the contents of the kit is the same as the previous one.
It seems like children’s book are a lot easier to sell. There are of parents wanting to buy children’s books but don’t want the hassle of driving to the bookstore to buy one. EDC decided to stop selling the books that they publish through Amazon, so there’s no way you can buy those specific titles online. You could also just buy other children’s books out there. But, personally, I would buy books from independent bookstores. Similar to BeautyCounter and OneHope, an Independent Consultant can help people host parties where they promote the product. Hosts get bonuses when they reach certain quotas. Obviously, Independent Consultants will earn commissions from those sales too.
It’s definitely possible to earn money from being an affiliate member of a multi-level marketing scheme. In UBAM, you get 25% for retail sales and 17% of book fair orders. In order to earn a lot of money, you have to sell a lot of books within a month. I read another review where, apparently, consultants are encouraged to give out prizes or discounts so people will buy books. But the consultant will be the one shouldering the costs. It doesn’t seem worth the trouble at all.
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