Selling Books Through Amazon Advantage
by Ron Kurtus (revised 18 September 2015)
If you have gone through a printer and have a number of your books on hand, you can try to sell them through the Amazon Advantage Program, where you sell your books on consignment. This program is meant for self-publishers who are not affiliated with a book distributor.
The way it works is that you apply for the Advantage Program and pay a $29.95 year fee. Amazon will request a number of books to send to them. When they sell your books, they keep a 55% commission, send you payment, and order more books.
Unfortunately, since you pay to ship the books to Amazon.com, the economics of this program may not be too good. There may be better choices.
Questions you may have include:
- How do you join the Advantage Program?
- How do they sell your books?
- How do you get paid?
This lesson will answer those questions.
How to join
Requirements for joining the Amazon.com Advantage Program are that you have North American distribution rights for your books, barcodes with the ISBN or EAN on the back cover, and online access to manage your account.
The fee to join is $29.95 per year. Plus, you must agree to a 55% standard commission on the sale of your items.
Advantage is nonexclusive, allowing you to sell your books through other channels.
You can start the application process from Join Advantage.
You should receive your first order within one to two weeks of your account being approved and your titles being fully enrolled.
Amazon.com will stock one to five books in their distribution center. You are required to pay for all shipping charges incurred in sending your titles to their distribution centers.
Your titles are then listed with immediate availability on Amazon.com.
Through your online Advantage account, you can access sales and inventory reports updated daily, add new titles, contact their Vendor Services team and control most of the information customers see on the detail page for your title.
Amazon.com sells your books
Amazon.com will then list your book, as they do other books in their catalog.
You must promote your book
Of course, you must promote book yourself to make people aware and get interest in it. Being on Amazon.com is a convenient outlet. Also, you may be able to sell for people looking for a good book in that subject area.
It is a good idea to get positive reviews about your book listed in Amazon.com. A common strategy is to send copies of your book to friends and associates, asking them to send in a review to Amazon.com.
When your book is sold through Amazon.com, they will take a 55% commission on the retail price of your book. They will then send you the remaining 45% payment.
This means that if you list a book for $15.95, Amazon.com will send you $7.18 for each book sold. You must subtract printing and mailing costs from that number to determine your profit.
For example, if it costs your $5.00 per book for printing and $1.50 each to mail them to Amazon.com, you would only be making $0.68 a book profit. Getting your printing cost down to $2.00 per book and mailing down to $1.00 per book would give you $4.18 profit per book. But that means you would have to have many printed at once to reduce your costs that much.
Ordering more books
When your inventory starts to sell, Amazon.com will send you an e-mail letting you know that you need to send more books to them.
At the end of each month, Amazon.com automatically will pay you for the copies that sold during the previous month.
A major disadvantage of using the Amazon Advantage program is that you must ship books to Amazon when needed. This is an extra cost that cuts into your profits. It is especially costly if your book does not sell well, and they only order a few at a time.
I had my first book printed by Lulu.com and then used Amazon Advantage to sell the books through Amazon. Unfortunately, I had to pay shipping from Lulu and then pay shipping again to Amazon. They typically only ordered one or two books at a time. I ended up losing $1 on each book sold (which is not good business).
I then opted to have the books printed by Amazon's CreateSpace, eliminating the shipping costs, as well as the $29.95 a year fee.
Unless you have a large stock of books, I recommend using CreateSpace to print and sell your books through Amazon.
The Amazon.com Advantage Program allows self-publishers to get their titles listed and sold through through their site. The program costs $29.95 year, and they keep a 55% commission on books sold. Amazon.com will send you payments on sales and then order more books.
Joining the Advantage program can help you sell more books by improving your title's availability and exposure on Amazon.com. However, for many publishers, there are better outlets for printing and distribution, such as CreateSpace.
Use every avenue you can to succeed
Resources and references
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