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Selling on

Let me tell you some of my thoughts on working with Amazon and why I absolutely love it.

  1. No returns--ever.
  2. Minimal or no paperwork. Everything's electronic.
  3. One paycheck--on time--every month--for sales within the last 30-60 days. (For us this is anywhere from $300-$800. We now have 15 books listed with them.)
  4. Commission for books sold to people who click through to them from our site, for which we receive one check--on time--every quarter. (For us, approx. $50, plus interesting stats on what kinds of books, in addition to our own, that people that visit our site are buying.)
  5. The opportunity to include the information we want about our books on a site that we don't have to pay for that reaches millions of customers in a way we never, ever could. All accomplished for a nominal expenditure of time and $0. Additionally, Amazon's search features, category listings, customer reviews, and best-selling lists all direct people to our books that never even knew they exited. Not something easily achieved in a conventional bookstore setting.
  6. The ability to sell our new books, damaged books, and signed autographed copies directly to customers through the "I have one to sell"/blue box program. This adds another $200-$300 to our pockets each month, with the benefit of learning who's buying our books online and where they are from. As a publisher of books on Chicago history, we are stunned to see through this that over half of the people buying our Chicago books online are from far beyond the greater Chicago area. This may be the cheapest and most effective way for us to reach those isolated individuals all over the country who want to keep up with new Chicago material. Our sales through the Amazon advantage program have not diminished since our participation in the Amazon marketplace program. In both instances, our authors earn their standard royalty and are not missing out.
  7. Yes, along with our damaged books, we sell our new books "used" on Amazon, because we make more money per book that way--we list them as "like new" and explain that they are "brand new"; our customer page explains that we are the book's publisher. However a customer decides is best for them to order our book, they do, and we've made the money we need to make on it. When they order "used" from us we send along a catalog of our other Chicago books and keep their name on our mailing list.
  8. I have also sold books from my own collection used on Amazon and have made an additional $250 (after all expenses/fees paid) each month for the last six months.

To me, all this is more than worth a 55% discount. It's a lot of extra cash--over $1,000 each month, almost guaranteed, for almost no work and a whole ton of exposure. In its own ways this is a different and better arrangement than we have with other customers.

As far as reviewers re-selling free copies on Amazon, I like to remember something I learned on this list several years ago when I was just starting out: a book is the best and cheapest ad for itself. If other people want to spend their money and energy re-circulating that ad (book), that's fine by me.

I read a lot of books; I buy a lot of books from a lot of different sources; I sell a lot of books in a lot of different ways; I give a lot of books away free and as gifts; I recommend books, talk about books, and write about books; I have a book exchange in front of our office for the public to swap their old books. I just see the new opportunities Amazon offers individuals and companies as more great ways to keep the world of books humming.

Just some thoughts on how I've made Amazon work for me.

Sharon Woodhouse, publisher
Lake Claremont Press

James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

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