Author Topic: About those Marketplace sellers  (Read 397 times)  

Offline notjohn

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About those Marketplace sellers
« on: April 21, 2017, 09:16:37 AM »
Over on the KDP forums, there is interesting speculation about those Marketplace sellers who instantly match (or underprice or offer books higher than) our retail price for paperbacks. I'd always brushed them off as an annoyance somewhere south of the fly that's buzzing around my screen. But the hypothesis is that they are buying wholesale through Createspace, hence sharply reducing our royalty. I don't get many "expanded distribution" sales -- they seem to come in lumps every three months or so -- and I've always assumed they were all or mostly from Barnes & Noble online.

Does CreateSpace sell directly to booksellers through their general catalog? Would their discount be great enough to pay for shipping and still allow for a profit? (I'm not talking about the "CreateSpace Store" that authors can set up. There's no discount there for the shopper.) Don't forget that the Marketplace seller pays a fairly stiff commission to Amazon. Like most things Amazon, the payout started well but got chipped away as time went on.

Offline ilamont

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Re: About those Marketplace sellers
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2017, 11:53:05 AM »
I think there are two things going on:

1. Some are basically drop-shipping through Ingram's catalogue, using the discount set by authors/publishers via Spark or Lightning Source. Although money still goes to the author, it can undercut Amazon sales that would net more for the author. I had this situation going on for a long time, until I reduced the discount in Ingram.

2. Another trend that's extremely disturbing are pirates leveraging Createspace or other POD services to reprint books without permission and take over the "buy box" on Amazon. I know of two authors who have reported this: Dave Burgess (pirated copy of "Talk Like a Pirate" pictured here) and Bill Pollock (picture of pirated copy of "Python for Kids" here

Offline KelliWolfe

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Re: About those Marketplace sellers
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2017, 12:50:33 PM »
Oh, wow. If they're doing that with tradpub books the big publishers are going to start squealing in a hurry. That might actually get some attention.

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Offline Bards and Sages (Julie)

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Re: About those Marketplace sellers
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2017, 01:05:20 PM »
Just to clarify a few points:

One, anyone who wishes to start a bookselling business can set up with Createspace to buy books directly. If you look in your settings under channels, one of them is Createspace Direct. If you are genuinely that concerned about it, turn off that option. Problem solved.

Two, yes, expanded distribution sales will always appear in lumps because they are sales to RETAILERS not CONSUMERS. If B&N buys ten copies of your book to keep in inventory, those sales will be recorded when B&N buys the books. It might take them 10 months to sell those books. But it doesn't matter. You get paid when the retailer buys the book.

Three, no, trade publishers do not have the same set-up with Amazon that we do. They have a traditional wholesale arrangement. Amazon pays X for the books and then sells them for whatever they want. So SImon and Schuster doesn't particularly care if Jane Doe the 3rd party seller undercuts Amazon's price. They got their money from Amazon already for the wholesale books.

Four, indies tend to set their paperback prices way too low anyway. Set your paperback prices at normal retail rates and you can make a decent profit regardless of who sells it. If your margins are so low that you can't make money on third-party or expanded distro sales, you aren't pricing correctly. The thing is: print sales are driven by the appearance of sales. Set your prices at normal retail and then PRAY the retailers place your book on sale. Because your royalty on PRINT is based on your retail price, not the price the book sells for.

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Offline notjohn

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Re: About those Marketplace sellers
« Reply #4 on: Yesterday at 10:41:47 AM »
Quote
Four, indies tend to set their paperback prices way too low anyway. Set your paperback prices at normal retail rates and you can make a decent profit regardless of who sells it. If your margins are so low that you can't make money on third-party or expanded distro sales, you aren't pricing correctly. The thing is: print sales are driven by the appearance of sales. Set your prices at normal retail and then PRAY the retailers place your book on sale. Because your royalty on PRINT is based on your retail price, not the price the book sells for.

Interesting point. I used to strive hard to keep the price at $9.95, because ten bucks seemed too much. Then I had to price one at $10.95, and guess what? -- it looked perfectly acceptable, maybe even preferable.


Offline LilyBLily

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Re: About those Marketplace sellers
« Reply #5 on: Yesterday at 11:42:25 AM »
People who want to buy a paperback book over a less expensive ebook are not going to quibble over a book being priced at $12.99 instead of $9.99. I moved up all my CreateSpace prices and I still get the same number of sales--which is to say, only a few of the fiction, and a steady stream of the nonfiction.

Offline Mark Gardner

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Re: About those Marketplace sellers
« Reply #6 on: Yesterday at 03:12:32 PM »
Interesting point. I used to strive hard to keep the price at $9.95, because ten bucks seemed too much. Then I had to price one at $10.95, and guess what? -- it looked perfectly acceptable, maybe even preferable.

I price my createspace books so that I get a $3 royalty through extended distribution.

Offline Write.Dream.Repeat.

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Re: About those Marketplace sellers
« Reply #7 on: Yesterday at 03:16:38 PM »
I price ~400 page epic fantasy at 14.99, and it's never been a problem.


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Online Lefevre

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Re: About those Marketplace sellers
« Reply #8 on: Today at 01:41:42 AM »
I always kill the expanded distribution category in CS because this is often abused by drop shippers. Why should they get to use my sales page and leverage my marketing efforts? Eliminate the opportunity.
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