The address below is a link to a very funny story about an author’s first experience with selling books on Amazon.com. Although selling books on Amazon can be profitable when a large quantity of books are ordered at a time, in most cases, Amazon doesn’t like keeping large inventories of books, and orders can come trickling in. That’s, of course, unless you’re in some way represented by one of the “big six” publishing houses in the United States.
Amazon takes 55% of the customer’s payment for each book, leaving the seller to pay for the book’s printing, packaging for mailing, and postage out of what’s left. Because most of Amazon’s warehouses seem to be in the Mid-West, postage from the Northeast can be significant. Author Dennis Danziger was excited to get his first order from Amazon. He wasted no time confirming his order, and proceeded to pay 49 cents for a padded envelope ($1.25 for larger children’s books), then added the cost of a single copy’s printing ($5.71), and added the least expensive postage available while still getting the job done ($8.60), to calculate his total cost at $14.80. He was paid $8.98 from Amazon for his book. My favorite Dennis Danziger’s quote is, “But I know at this rate, as soon as I sell the 999 remaining copies, I’ll be a relatively well-read author. And I’ll be homeless.”
I know that Amazon can offer some really good deals on books, and I must say I’m as guilty as the next guy in buying books from Amazon. But if you have the opportunity to buy a book directly from the author, even if you have to pay a little more, it could be well worth it. If you enjoy the author’s work, you will be helping him/her to continue the ability to write and publish future work. Or another option would be to send a link from Amazon’s seller’s page of your favorite author’s work to everyone you know… all of your 658 closest friends on FB and more, recommending that they buy the book, so Amazon is forced to keep a real inventory of the book at their warehouse. Either way works.
At any rate, please take a peak at this article. It’s short, funny, and really expresses the pros and cons to working with Amazon.com.