Amazon put the cosh on sellers again
I sell some books on Amazon, and they've just decided that you can only sell on their site if your prices there are at, or lower than, the prices you charge elsewhere: eg ebay, or abe (which they own, for goodness' sake) or your own site (and they also own Chrislands, who provide my sales site, so goodness knows what the long term implications are there).
This is added to the fact that Amazon already hit you for 17.5% commission every time you sell a book, in addition to the hit on the postage credit - currently 49p. So yes, the buyer may think every time you pay the £2.75 that that's going to the seller, but Amazon take their cut of it. Why? They're not buying the packaging, doing the packaging or taking the postage. And you pay a monthly fee (£28.75) as well for the privilege of listing on their site.
On my site I deliberately charge less than Amazon so that I actually sell paperback books. I think my paperbacks are generally very good value compared with Amazon: the vast majority come in at less than the penny books on Amazon once you add in postage, and the difference is even better if you buy more than one book, as I have a special paperback rate.
I am fed up with having the cosh of Amazon continually wielded around my head. My paperbacks are better value than Amazon, and with me you get a specialist service; the website; the forum and the blog. You will NEVER get all of that from Amazon.
Amazon have far more power than they ought, and they're not above trying to wield it. They tried with Print on Demand books, and it was only due to the perseverance of a small American publisher pushing Amazon to court that Amazon eventually backed down. Amazon have threatened to remove the Buy Now button for publishers who won't agree to their terms.
It makes me wonder about the long term future of Abe, which Amazon own, and on which many book dealers also sell. Amazon must be aware that their new policy will have an affect on Abe as well. One of the major differences Abe allows the seller over Amazon is that you can set your own postage charge: so no £2.75 no matter how often or how much postage prices go up. So, if you sell on Abe and Amazon, you will have to either raise your prices on Amazon so they equal your Abe price, or drop your Abe price substantially.
If Ebay have even half an ounce of sense, they will currently be working out how to attract booksellers over to them. Even Ebay have at last realised that their policy of imposing free postage on sellers in an attempt to compete with Amazon was a non runner.
Well, from now on I am boycotting Amazon, and I fully expect that as this policy will not have been reversed by 31 March, when I have to adhere to it, my books will no longer be listed on Amazon. I have cleared my Amazon shopping basket, and it will stay that way. If I have to wait to get a book, I'll wait.
More on the how the corporates are squeezing the independents here.