Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Why My E-book Is Not Listed on Amazon

Recently someone asked why my e-book, Online Promotion Made Easy, Book Marketing in the Digital Age, isn't it available on Amazon.com. She was concerned that I was undermining my sales potential and credibility regarding online book promotion. “Don’t most people look there for books when purchasing online?” she asked.

Yes, they do look there for books as well as e-books, yet they do nothing to promote the book for the author. Even if a book is listed on Amazon, people don't necessarily find it randomly. More than likely they have seen the book promoted elsewhere and they assume it is in the Amazon store. Most people do not know that Amazon buys books at a 55% discount in order to resale it to their customers for 30% off retail (the number of sales is going to be higher where the purchase price is lower). A great deal for the reader, but a raw deal for the author/publisher. The profit margin is so small color-printed books that by the time Amazon takes more than half and the publisher takes a cut, the author might not break even. Throw in an affiliate program, and the author could actually be in the hole!

With printed books, it is much easier to let Amazon handle the distribution. To distribute printed books on my own, I would need to warehouse a supply, have envelopes or boxes on hand, and then acquire postage or make a trip to the post office—none of which is required for an e-book. For that reason, I have all four of my print books listed on Amazon. I decided to become my own publisher for my latest book, The Sid Series ~ Collection of Holistic Stories for Children. I set a short discount of 30 percent for that book, which means Amazon has to list my book at full retail price in order to make their profit. That way, they are selling it for the same price as it lists on my Web site. Even and fair.

Most e-books are an electronic version of a print book. Mine is not. Book Marketing in the Digital Age is available only in PDF. People may purchase it on my blog (http://onlinepromotionmadeeasy.blogspot.com/) for $25 using a credit card via PayPal just as easily as they can on Amazon. It can be loaded to an electronic reading device that accepts PDFs.

My networking friend, Carolyn Howard-Johnson, reports that Amazon is now setting limits on the price for the Kindle digital version of books listed on their site. E-books must be listed between $2.99 and $9.99 and that price must be at least 20% lower than the same book in its print edition. If I offered my e-book on Amazon, I would lose 75% of the price it is now easily bringing on my blog
Plus, the author loses some rights when listing an e-book on Amazon. The book mega-giant reserves the right to turn the digital book into an audio book and allow Kindle to use it on future generations of the Kindle reader. Nothing for the author in that deal!

I refuse to drive sales away from my Web site to Amazon’s so they can sell it for less money and net more profit than the author who spent time and money to write, publish, and promote the book. Amazon is the author’s best friend and worst enemy.

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