Your books and Amazon

You've published your book with its iSBN - how tempting to then sometime later, to go onto Amazon, THE online bookseller, to see if it is there - and it will be! However, it can be a barren entry, with little information and the off putting messsage "out of print" or "temporarily out of stock".

We have to remember that, just like the normal bookshop in a nearby town, Amazon is a bookseller and also needs to earn money on transactions made through it.

If you are not too concerned but would like to add some more relevant information about your book, go to the bottom of your book's Amazon entry and look for "Feedback" right at the bottom of the page and then , below "update product information" click on the option "I am the author and I want to comment on the book". You will need to register as the author or publisher, then you will be able to add a description, author's bio and even a substantial chapter extract to the product description. Reader reviews can be added too. It takes up to 5 days for these to be updated.

However, if you are confident of selling your book online with, there are at least two options you can follow.

  1. You can register to become a seller on Amazon. See my article on how to sell a few copies  with free registration (though they take a percentage cut). Alternatively, for a monthly fee of around £28.75 (as of 6th Sept 2009) sell larger quanitities. Every successful sale carries a transaction fee of ~17% and a closing fee that depends on where the location it is sent to. You are responsible for dispatch.
  2. You can also join the programme. You join for an annual fee of £23.50 (including VAT, at 06/09/09). Amazon asks you to send a few copies of your item (you need to pay P&P). Your entry miraculously changes to available/in stock! Amazon then pays you for any books it sells at a 60% discount (for a £10 book sold, Amazon pays you £4).

One amusing aspect of Amazon is that, even if you are not selling on Amazon yourself, their listings will very occasionally show sellers selling your book at astronomical prices. For example, today (06/09/09), Peter's book, "Nimrod" was being offered at the princely sum of $39.99 by Awesomebooks USA and for a staggering $158 by Internationalbooks!

Whilst excessive pricing such as that displayed is unseemely, you do need to ensure that your production costs and Recommended Retail Price are such that you still have an income yourself after taking account of the discounts demanded by any bookseller, including Amazon. Of course, if you do have the right pricing calculation and suffficient sales, then Amazon could work for you!

I should state that these are my impressions at this time and you would be best to inform yourself directly on Amazon for the most up to date and accurate offers and information.