APSS - Association of Publishers for Special Sales

Helping Publishers Sell More Books in More Ways

FAQ: Online Bookstores

FAQ Index
Selling through Amazon and B&N.com

Thank you to Creative Minds Press for providing the content for this FAQ

Contents

•  How do I get into Barnes&Noble.com?
• Can I link to my Barnes&Noble page via my own website?


• How do I get into Amazon.com?

• How can I add content to my Amazon page?
• What does my ranking mean?
• Can I link to my Amazon page from my website?

Hey! There's someone selling copies of my book on Amazon Marketplace!
Hey! There's someone selling review copies of my book on Amazon Marketplace!

• Why should I link to Amazon and Barnes&Noble.com?

How do I get into Barnes&Noble.com?

If you are carried by Baker & Taylor or Ingram, you will be listed and stocked through those services.

You can sign up to become a Vendor of Record with Barnes&Noble.com.

NOTE: be aware that getting into Barnes&Noble.com does not mean you are automatically in Barnes and Noble's brick and mortar stores.

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I have a website, can I get people to buy from B&N.com?

It's an amazing thing, but few people will buy from a strange website. However, if you have a link to one of the known on-line bookstores, they will click on that and buy with joy. Here's an even more amazing thing: Barnes&Noble.com will actually pay you a commission to sell your own book! By joining the affiliate program, you can put a link to Barnes&Noble.com on your website.

NOTE: Barnes&Noble.com specifically states that you are ineligible to participate in their affiliate program if you have any other affiliate (ie: Amazon). But they don't seem to check. If they do catch you, they will remove your affiliate status. It's up to you.

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How do I get into Amazon.com?

If you are carried by Baker & Taylor or Ingram, you will be listed and stocked through those services.

Or you can join Amazon Advantage. They charge an annual fee of $29.95 and they are the only retailer in the industry that demands a 55% discount. Be aware that most listings on Amazon Advantage are at full price--which matters a lot to Amazon's price sensitive customers.

Or you can just list your books on Amazon's Marketplace. See an article on the subject.

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How can I add content to my Amazon page? (It looks kind of bare!)

Add reviews, comments, author bio and an overview of the book here.

If you would like browsers to Search Inside Your Book (and be aware that any time your copyrighted material is posted on the web, someone can hack into it--not matter how well protected--and copy it for free).

Another way to make your book page look better is to encourage friends, family and readers who like your book to post a review on your page. Note: Amazon has changed its policies, so that customer reviews are no longer fully anonymous. That means you can't post one for yourself--as used to be the case a while ago.

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What does my ranking mean?

Amazon will not reveal the details of how the ranking system works. Here is the best information we have: Your book will start at about 2 million. As books are sold, it will notch downward. This not only reflects your sales, but your sales in relation to similar books. A lot of activity will make your book dip down into the 4-, even 3 digits. This will likely return to a higher number when activity slacks off.

A book ranked in the 5 digits is usually selling 5-6 a month. This includes Marketplace copies.
Ranking in the 4 digits indicate 3-6 books sold per week. Lower numbers indicate sales per day, even per hour. Ranking can be updated hourly on fast-moving books, but is usually only updated daily on slower moving titles.

Customer reviews do affect ranking, but not as much as a sale.

Here is a website that attempts to explain this better than I have.

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I have a website; can I get people to buy from Amazon.com?

It's an amazing thing, but few people will buy from a strange website.. However, if you have a link to one of the known on-line bookstores, they will click on that and buy with joy. Here's an even more amazing thing: Amazon will actually pay you a commission to sell your own book if you are an Associate!

Further, they will pay you a commission on anything a customer buys when they come from your site. A purchase direct from your site (your book) is 7.5%, other items are 5%, Marketplace purchases earn 2.5%. Commission per item is limited to $10., so don't start dreaming of your 5% commission on a Segway.

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Hey! There's someone selling copies of my book on Amazon!

Relax! Unless they are clearly marked review copies, not only is it OK, but you are getting paid! These books will be listed on Amazon's "Marketplace" section. This is the part of Amazon that allows other sellers to offer the same title at or below the price Amazon does. See below on what to do about review copies. See my article about how your book gets into Marketplace and "Z-Shop" sellers' hands.

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Hey! There's someone selling my review copies on Amazon! Can they do that?

Here is Amazon's policy on review copies (galleys or F&Gs):

"Prohibited Content

"a. Promotional media. Promotional versions of all media—including books (advance reading copies and uncorrected proofs), music, and videos (screeners)—are prohibited. These items are distributed for promotional consideration and are not authorized for retail distribution or sale.

"b. Unauthorized and unlicensed merchandise. All media—including books, CDs, VHS tapes, and DVDs sold through Amazon Marketplace—must be fully licensed and authorized versions. All items sold through Amazon Marketplace must be commercially produced and authorized or licensed as a retail product."

You can write each person selling your review copies and advise them that they are in violation of their agreement with Amazon. Many will desist (about 1 in 5 remove the listing).

If they persist, you can send a message to Amazon here and on the form, set the subject line to "Report an Intellectual Property Violation." Put the vendor's screen name, e-mail address, the ISBN, title (and author) of your book and the steps you took to remedy the situation on your own within the explanation of the problem. About 1 in 3 times this works.

Now, that's the way you can deal with it. But ask yourself if it is worth your time and effort to do so. Getting rid of the galley sellers will just make most of them move to eBay—which could care less if a book is a galley or a retail sale.

If you send out finished books and only put a stamp "review copy" inside, your chances of getting much cooperation from the sellers is almost nil. If it looks like a retail-ready book, they'll sell it. Some will even disclose the stamp is there in their description. All you can hope to do is drive enough customers to your page to buy those up plus your regular offering. Not all that many people like or buy used books on Amazon, as it turns out, so it's not a disaster.

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If I have a website, why should I send customers to Amazon or B&N when I sell it at full retail?

You can put up a website. and have no affiliate links at all. You may even get a fair amount of sales. But you’ll get more if you have those affiliate links, giving your buyers a choice of how to purchase. People are a bit worried about ordering from a "no name" website, but they have no problem buying from established names like Amazon, B&N, Powell’s or Books-a-Million. And you get a commission for selling your own book!

Still not convinced? Say you set up a neighborhood lemonade stand on your block. You sell glasses for $1. Maybe you sell 2-3. Imagine if Bobbie down the street puts up a stand and starts selling his glasses for $.50. You know he'll sell lots more. Enough so that the discount is more than made up for in volume.

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Thank you to Creative Minds Press for providing the content for this FAQ

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