Small Publishers lose selling on Amazon (1 Viewer)

I love having my conspiracy theories proven.

That being said, this seller is a whiner that needs to show some guts and refuse to fill any orders from Amazon. Why continue to sell through Amazon when it costs her $5 per book to "sell" through them. Only a fool, or someone that wants to feel important by seeing their stuff on Amazon would continue to lose money selling books, while making Amazon even more money. I will not sell through Amazon because I do not want to lose my house and become homeless. It is one thing to not make a lot of money publishing. It is quite another thing to lose money on your releases. When you are starting up it is expected to not make much money (or any money), but at some point, you should show a small profit.

If Amazon or any of the big boys want to carry my books, I am happy to sell them to them. My deal is the same as I offer to my current dealers. They get a nice discount from the list price and they pay postage. In many cases, the dealers get books that quickly sell out, leaving them the only way to get the books, and sometimes at higher prices than the MSRP. What I will not do, is fuck over my dealers that have been with me for years for the bright lights of Amazon. Amazon will not get these books for any cheaper than other dealers. Just because they are big does not mean that we all need to abandon our morals and relationships to lie down with them. ESPECIALLY losing money to do it.


i call bullshit. amazon doesn't screw over small publishers - it screws over ANYONE (small or large publisher) who doesn't have a basic conception of price structure and profit margin.

it's no secret that amazon bleeds people that supply them, just like every large retailer on the planet. the only difference is that amazon provides a forum for smaller publishers to do business with them, whereas most large retailers don't. in the industry i work in, one of the biggest players is 'the sports authority' - they are very difficult to do business with on purpose, because they are really smart about every little place they can make money. amazon is the same way - but if you're a small cottage manufacturer of basketballs (not sure these even exist, but bear with me), no one at the sports authority is going to take your calls. before you can even get your foot in the door, you have to prove to them that you can offer fulfillment up to their standards. but what happens with amazon is that someone with absolutely no business sense winds up in a business relationship with them, and they get reamed.

amazon isn't the only way to sell books. to act like it is and then whine about it just plays into amazon's hand solidifying them as the only viable way a bookseller can make money. continuing with my strained analogies, if you own an organic farm, you sell your produce at farmers' markets, not through wal-mart. the author of that post is awfully self-satisfied with the quality of her books (employing 'brilliant' designers and all), yet she doesn't talk about how she markets her books, how she supports her authors, or any of the other aspects of being a publisher. it's a hallmark of the american idol generation of entitlement to think that your work is so good (whether its your singing, your writing, or the books you publish) that everyone should bow down to it, and that you become fabulously wealthy as a result. but not every business model is sustainable. sorry. if she's doing the following things:
a) gambling on unknown authors
b) paying top dollar for design and editing services
c) printing her books as un-economically as possible
d) setting an MSRP that is around 3x her total cost per book
SHE WILL NOT MAKE MONEY through amazon. this is not amazon's fault. this is her fault, because she has a terrible business model. if she insists on A through D, then she has to find a way to sell books (like through her website, but without discounting them in order to "compete" with one of the largest retailers on the planet) that doesn't involve them.

if the MSRP on her books was $35, she'd make money hand over fist every time one sold... although that probably wouldn't happen, because no one wants to pay that much on a book from an author they've never heard of. is that amazon's fault too? i guess reading that blog, i was struck by how ridiculous her central theme was: namely, that amazon should put aside its goals of making money in order to make sure that small presses that publish hidden or minority voices are able to thrive. they're a business. they fuck people over. that's how they got that big in the first place. bill gets this - that's why he says they can either capitulate to his terms or fuck right off. if chance press got a little bigger and was in a position to sell to them, the same would hold true. if it's that important to me to get exposure for my books by selling them on amazon, and i lose money, then it's a marketing expense.

i just think it is SO OVERDONE this criticism of amazon bending people over backwards in order to get as much money out of them as possible. it's been happening since the dawn of commerce, and amazon is certainly not the first or last. that's the pendulum swinging in one way, with presses like bill's representing the swing in the other direction. for anyone willing to look past what's available on amazon, there's a whole world of amazing literature available direct from the author or the publisher. personally, i don't really give a shit about selling to people who don't care what is available beyond the big box etailers - there are enough people in today's etsy-diy-slow food world who do care, that we can sell a few books here and there to support our press, and for me that's great. okay, sorry this is long... but that blog post made me ranty.
Amazon is certainly not the only big company doing these things, but what so unappealing and predatory is that they change a MUCH higher percentage to the small guys. I guarantee you that Random house does not give them anywhere close to 60% discount. Of course, they actually SELL a lot of books from Random house, but the point is that it costs them NOTHING to sell my books, really as they do not stock them. They know that there are enough small publishers out there that are so desperate for "legitimacy" that they will PAY amazon to take their books.

I think that it is more than fair to give them a 40% on books that they are not even stocking, but to give them a 60% discount off the price that they sell it for (and then have them discount it 30% to their sellers), plus for me to pay for postage both ways AND then IF they sell a book, I have to PAY for them to even cut me a check.

In 8 years, I have never sold one book on Amazon, although I have a few books listed with them. Anyone that reads the authors that I publish knows where to get the books.

this is also amazon UK, which is different than amazon US, since the discounts off MSRP are nowhere near as high. i wouldn't be surprised if amazon UK did demand a pretty high discount from the big boys, since they are much stricter in the UK and France about discounted prices, since publishers support brick and mortar stores much better there than here. so amazon needs to recoup lost money from lower unit sales via better margins. it would be interesting to see amazon's agreements with the big publishers in the US, though, since i wouldn't be surprised if they were pretty aggressive with them. big or small, amazon holds the power in the relationship - and even moreso for a big publisher, since that publisher operates on a scale that absolutely demands that amazon sells their stuff - and amazon knows this.
It's ugly capitalism, the law of the jungle. I'm not against companies maximizing their profits, but not to the degree they are starving their sources. I'd never make it in business.
It is the problem with rabid capitalism. Companies SHOULD be ashamed of charging the poor MORE that the rich for everything, but they are not. They may even be proud of it. Imagine standing in line to buy a pizza. They charge your lower-middle class family $40 for a couple pies, then you hear Donald Trump place his order, only to hear that he does not have to pay for it. This is how it works. The rich pay little, if anything for things that you have to scrimp and save to afford. Banks only loan money to people that don't need money. Those that do need the money need to go to the check cashing places to get a short term title loan at what is about 300% interest, if you let the loan hang out for a year.

I guess, all things considered, Amazon is a great company compared to the other ones out there.

amen to that - i read the new book "Broke USA" recently, and amazon positively look like saints compared to check cashers, so-called "instant tax refund" shops, subprime lenders, etc.
But the biggest crooks of all are the big banks.

Capitalists ruined this company, moving factories to other countries to profit from the cheap labor and lax laws, outsourcing everything possible, and now America is becoming a third world country. We still may have SUVs and big houses, but it's all a house of cards, mired in massive debt at every level, and we're headed down. A few rich guys got richer, and the rest of us got poorer.

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