Publishing mysteries

Having only just brought out my first book (not, I hope, my last), I find myself totally baffled by the publishing industry. When the book went to press, I agreed, in consultation with Authors Online, to a retail price of £7.99. My own return, on that price, is a little over £1 per copy (unless I buy copies myself at around £4.20 and flog them direct).

In due course the title appeared on Amazon, at the full list price. After two or three weeks, however, it was offered at £7.59 – a 5% discount. Fair enough; but, on the same page, is a note saying “11 used and new from £3.58”.  When I click on this I find a list of eleven sellers offering my book, new, at prices ranging from £3.58 to £9.30.

How, I ask myself, is anyone going to make a worthwhile profit at £3.58? And who, in their right mind, is going buy a book for £9.30 when, on the same page, it is advertised at £7.59, or even less?

Can anyone explain this? Or is it all a cyber-fantasy, in which nobody is actually buying or selling anything?

For a few days, Amazon had my book ranked as ‘#4 best-seller’ in the Biography – Dancers category. This seemed rather thrilling; but did  it mean anything? Or did it just imply that no other books in the category were selling at that time?

If any wiser head than mine can explain all this, I will be grateful.


1 Response to “Publishing mysteries”

  1. 1 isaiah30v8 March 5, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    Some people buy used books by the truck load.

    They just price them all the same in the hope to make a profit not giving attention to those which might be collectable and therefore worth a better price. Or to those which are garbage.

    They use a barcode scanner to help them get listed on a fulfillment web site such as ABE books without having to even know the title, author or content. ABE books will then extend the listing to Amazon, Barnes and Noble ect.

    Some fulfillment web sites such as “Alibris” also offer automatic pricing which they claim will help them compete. In many cases the people selling the book might actually price it at $00.01 In these situations the only way they can make a profit is through the shipping cost.

    In order to properly understand the selling price of the book, shipping has to also be calculated.

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