Monday, November 15, 2010

To Amazon or Not To Amazon...

When stepping into the door of having a published book, the issue of whether to put our book on Amazon came up in several conversations with other self-published authors. Prior to this venture, we had not realized that people stood either firmly for or against this method of book distribution.

We quickly realized that this was actually going to be a thought out marketing decision. In reality, everyone can list their books on Amazon if they are willing to give Amazon 55% of the profit from every sale. Add in the shipping costs to the Amazon Fulfillment Center (covered by the publisher) and, for most self published authors, this is a money losing sale.

Based purely on a consumer perspective, we wanted to be represented by one of the largest online book retailers. Fortunately, our production costs were nearly covered by the 45% commission so we went ahead and listed The Bay Gull. In fact, it was even exciting to us and others that our BOOK was listed on Amazon. Friends and family were definitely impressed!

We think of the potential profit loss for each book sold on Amazon as a marketing cost. We know that many people enjoy being able to buy our book from a major online site and Amazon outsells our own website 2-to-1.

Here is a HOT tip - there is a way to potentially avoid the 55% commission and still offer your books on Amazon. A few months ago, we signed up for an Amazon Seller Account to move some extra books in our own personal library. It just occurred to us that we can compete with Amazon on their site and offer our book through our own seller account!

We priced our book a few dollars less than the list price ($10- instead of $12.95) which may be more appealing to bargain hunting buyers. We also listed the book "Signed by Author" which, of course, it can be since it is coming from our home. After adding in a "Shipping Credit," our potential net profit from Amazon is $10.15. Compared to the $5.83 they are currently paying out on each consigned book sold through Amazon, our commission will be 75% higher and we can turn a profit on the sales.

This is a brand new strategy for us and one that we hope can work for other self-published authors seeking an Amazon presence.