Amazon is a great company in many ways, and controversial in others. As an author, it is easy to list a book on Amazon.com, and they do an excellent job of customer service. However, do you really understand the details of what it costs a customer to buy one of your books from Amazon? I thought I did, but I was badly mistaken. I am not talking about e-books. As it relates to e-books, the price quoted by amazon.com is the price the customer pays. I am talking about paperbacks and hardcovers.
My latest book, ‘The First Madam President (and the dirty bombs)’ has a list price for a paperback of $14.99. Amazon offers the book at a discount, decided by them, for $13.49. What does it cost the customer? Would you believe $26.47? That is the delivered cost to the customer. Let me explain.
Amazon offers a service called Amazon Prime. If you pay $99 per year, you get free shipping on your book purchases. If you are not a Prime member, and you purchase $35 worth of books, Amazon gives you free shipping. If you buy just one book, for $13.49, then you must pay shipping and handling. Shipping and handling for my book (paperback) is $12.98! I can ship my book by Media Mail for approximately $4.00, so I guess the “handling” cost for Amazon is $8.98. Absurd.
No wonder no one is buying my paperback. I wouldn’t spend $26.47 for any paperback, and I certainly don’t expect people to pay $26.47 for my book.
What is Amazon trying to do? Make money? Sure. I don’t object to that. And I understand their Amazon Prime membership program and their free shipping if you buy $35 or more in value of books. Those are good marketing techniques to cause customers to buy more stuff. Fine. But what about all the customers who just want to buy one book at a time? It is cheaper for them to go to Barnes & Noble or another “bricks & mortar” bookstore to buy their paperbacks or hardcovers. Is Amazon trying to shift the entire book business to e-books?
New Sales Offer!
Effectively immediately, I am offering my paperback version of ‘The First Madam President (and the dirty bombs)’ for next day shipping by USPS Media Mail for $15.00 Delivered. I will pay the shipping cost and there will be no charge for any “handling” costs. In addition, I will personally autograph your copy of my book. All you have to do is send your mailing address to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me how you want your book autographed. After you receive your book, you can send me $15.00 cash or check. Compared to buying my paperback book from Amazon you will save $11.47.