Goalposts change yet again
The change has to do with little box on the right-hand side of Amazon product pages called the “Buy Box.” that lets you buy products through the company’s retail side.
Recently, when you bought a new copy of a book and clicked “Add to Cart,” you were buying the book from Amazon itself, who had bought the book from its publisher or its publisher’s wholesalers, just like if you went to any other bookstore selling new copies of books. There was a clear supply chain that sent your money directly into the pockets of the people who wrote and published the book you were buying. Now thats all changed, as to all intents and purposes you might be buying it from a third-party seller, who has probably not bought the book from the publisher.
Which means the publisher and the Author might not get paid. Understandably, I am deeply unhappy about this change.
If the author and publisher aren’t making money from book sales on Amazon, who is?
When you buy a book from Amazon, a certain percentage of the cost goes to the publisher. (usually 65%-70%). The publisher then uses that money to pay the author, cover its expenses, and contribute to its profit margins. Amazon usually keeps 30% percent for its own purposes.
Here’s what happens to your money when you buy a book through Amazon but from a third-party seller: Amazon gets 15 percent of the total sales price, including shipping, plus a flat rate of £1.50 per item. The rest goes to the third-party seller. Not a single penny goes to the publisher, which means nothing goes to the author — but Amazon has made a profit either way, and without having to shoulder the expense of shipping and warehousing, whereas the third party who has not done an ounce of creativity makes money. Why does CAPITALISM work like that? I hate Agencies who mainly feed off Firms and people and OUTSOURCE.
Why aren’t third-party sellers paying publishers?
Amazon’s third-party sellers have to offer new books, not used ones, but in many cases they do not buy from publishers. No one is quite sure where their books come from, including, it seems, Amazon itself. As usual the devil is in the detail and no one is quite sure. It doesn’t matter, where the books come from, so long as they are new, unmarked, and sold cheaply. The back door route that third-party sellers are going down, is selling some of the free promotional copies that publishers routinely send out to critics and bloggers just before a book is published — not the galleys, which are clearly marked “not for resale,” but the free promotional copies of the finished book, which have no such marking on their covers and often end up sold to bookstores like the Strand. I am pretty sure that they might be buying books that are slightly damaged from warehouses, just damaged enough to be discounted but not so damaged that Amazon stops considering them “new. Publishers have sent a series of emails to third-party sellers inquiring as to where and how they acquired the books they’re selling, and have shared the results with Amazon who has committed itself to weeding out the rogue cowboys. As usual in this scenario, valuable books that are unlikely to make a profit are less likely to ever make their way to you, the reader.
Amazon’s are doing their best to drive down the price of books.
If Amazon succeeds, fewer people will be able to make their living as writers. That means fewer and worse books will make it to the marketplace.
Amazon take a hit on book sales often charging customers less per book than it pays publishers and swallowing the difference. It’s a priority for the company to be your preferred bookseller, even if it has to take a hit; its business model can accommodate the loss, because it generally makes up the extra dollars on the last-minute impulse buys customers toss into their shopping carts. Meanwhile, on the e-book side of things, Amazon’s low prices help drive sales of its Kindle, even though the reader experience is very low, so the customer expects that books should now be cheap — cheaper to buy than they are to make.
It is already rare for writers to make enough money without taking a second job, so Amazon driving down the cost of books, it will become impossible. That means fewer people will be able to invest the time and effort it takes into becoming a writer, which means a lot of talented writers — especially working-class writers — will go unheard. All of which means that you, the reader, will be missing out on some excellent potential books.