June 22nd, 2009 admin

I was amused (or should that be bemused) to find that Amazon is already listing We English for sale on their website, despite it not shipping until September, and with a 37% discount! How do they do that?

Amazon.com_ Simon Roberts_ We English_ Simon Roberts, Stephen Da


  1. I had a long conversation with Seth of Charles Lane Press about the Amazon effect. It’s true, how can they possibly do that? With small publishers, they have to choose whether or not to take the publicity of having a book featured on Amazon (without making any money, or in some extreme cases, losing money), or to not be featured on the site in order to make money on a purchase. This might be an over-generalization (I don’t know the in’s and out’s of the publishing industry), but it seems to be generally the case for small book publishers without large distributors.

    I’m curious to hear about the follow-up to this post- did Chris list with Amazon or did they just post the book anticipating it’s release? I imagine Chris Boot is distributed through DAP?

  2. Hi Daniel

    Having spoken with Chris he’s confirmed that this is all linked with the infrastructure with the American distributors (DAP) and there’s nothing he can do to stop it. Amazon have such industry clout that they can command very deep discounts on goods and it’s in the interest of distributors to agree to their terms.

    On the positive side, Amazon tend to sell a lot of books, and there tend to be very few returns – one of the big problems with supplying books to high street stores is that the rate of damaged returns can be very high (books which end up getting pulped at the cost of the publisher).

    I did hear a story once that if a distributor doesn’t offer Amazon a heavy discount, they’ll still stock the book in their warehouse, but it will often appear on the internet with a quoted delivery time of 4-6 weeks. Which of course puts customers from buying the book, encouraging them to look elsewhere!

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