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How do I overcome this problem?

A lady has opened a bookshop for children's books and is very interested in stocking mine. Hooray! Finally... 

However, she has just asked how she would get hold of them, and is adamant that she won't buy from Amazon, only from me. 

The only thing I can think of is to buy stock myself and post them to her, and then she pays me... which seems a bit odd when she could order them direct and have free postage. 

Is there any way around this, do you think?


  • Will she accept you buying them from Amazon and having them delivered to her? 
  • I have just asked that. It does seem a long-winded way of doing things, though.
  • Do you have your own ISBN or is it Amazon's?

  • Amazon's.

    She is asking lots of very brief questions to which I have to give long answers - which she doesn't refer to again!
  • Is her objection to Amazon that she doesn't want to deal with them because of her morals, because if so it's a nonsense if she accepts them from you.

    It might just be she wants them cheaper, or thinks she can get them cheaper by applying through you - I know Iron Press have to sell so cheap to book shops it almost doesn't make it worth their while having the books stocked. She may not understand that you will have to pay the same price for your own book. Perhaps you should tell her that?

  • Are your author copies from Create Space not cheaper? They used to be.
  • It's not Creatspace any longer – but yes, author copies are cheaper. That's what I meant for TN to do, but have them delivered to the shop so she doesn't have to pay for the postage of sending them on.
  • Is that allowed under the terms and conditions? 
  • I have been to-ing and fro-ing all day!

    There is an option to buy with an author discount, heather:
    I looked into this once before, but for a UK author it turned out not to be viable.

    If I got 10 x copies of my most expensive book which is priced at £6, with the discount I would pay £32 (ish), which sounds very cheap. (The price changes depending on how large the order is...) 

    However, they then add tax and postage as they would be coming direct from the USA and, from past experience, I seem to think that this then works out more expensive than buying them from Amazon UK as an ordinary 'customer', especially as when you spend over £10 here, there is no postage.

    Unfortunately, without going right down the 'Go to checkout' route, I can't see how much the P & P would be to get hold of author copies.

    I have explained all this to her. It's not very easy to understand her replies, though.

    In the last email, I suddenly remembered, and mentioned, that I am actually able to lower the price per book to the very lowest option - as long as it's within Amazon's suggested price range. It won't be by much as I've kept the paperback prices low; at the moment, all the books cost around £5 to the general customer.

    Below is her last reply, which I don't exactly understand (she's asked me time and time again 'What is the rrp?' and I've quoted her my Amazon prices and have told her that she can set her own price):

    'Just let me know if you can get them
    What is the rrp £5 is cheap, I work on 50% '

    I have no idea what she means by the percentage! I mean, I know it's half, but of what?!
  • Yes, it's allowed, Liz.
  • That was my suggestion, PM, but I don't understand her response!
  • What she means is she takes half of the recommended retail price. So if you are selling them at £5, she takes £2:50. So you to make sure the price of your books is enough to cover what Amazon charges you so you have some profit. She's clearly not understanding that she will have to pay for them upfront. 
  • Well, I think that the idea is that I pay for them, have them delivered to her, she sells and someone makes money!

    So if she charges £6 and I have bought them for £5, and I get £3 back, am I in loss?
  • She expects the books to have a price on the cover. People like to see a price on the cover when they are choosing. 
  • Ah, so it really doesn't matter to her what I have paid for them, as long as she sets a price that she can sell them for.... I don't need to tell her, do I?
  • I have told her that there is no price on the covers. Maybe she will use stickers...
  • LizLiz
    edited March 2019
    Tiny Nell said:
    Well, I think that the idea is that I pay for them, have them delivered to her, she sells and someone makes money!

    So if she charges £6 and I have bought them for £5, and I get £3 back, am I in loss?
    If she charges £6 and you bought them for £5, that is not enough profit for her. She wants FIFTY percent of the price charged for the book. It's not worth her while selling a £6 book and only getting 50p profit from it. She doesn't mean fifty percent of the profit, she means fifty percent of what the book has sold for. So you would be at a massive loss.
  • But she's not paying me as well.

    I buy them, so I pay £5.
    I send them to her.
    She pays nothing.
    She sells them and gets £6.
    She gives me £3...

    So she makes £3 and I have made a loss of £2!
    Have I worked that out correctly?
  • Yes. You make a loss. The only way for you to get a profit is for her to buy the books straight from Amazon and you will get the profit you normally get from Amazon, and she can charge what she wants for the books. But it will make them very expensive in her shop, if she wants 50% profit. If she pays £5 each for them, she will be selling them at £10.  
  • Get Baggy here, she'll understand the maths!
  • Oh, 'eck!

    I'll have to see what the very cheapest I can price them for is, but I don't think I'll be able to get it down enough.
  • She won't buy from Amazon because she would pay the same price as any Amazon customer.

    Because you don't have your own ISBN, you are tied to them printing and supplying the books that you want to place in the shop.

    One option is to reduce the Amazon price temporarily and buy a batch. Then, when the order's processed, return the price to the original value. If you did that you could order enough to qualify for free postage.

    She won't want to sell them for more than Amazon. 

    Unfortunately this is the main problem with KDP - selling in shops is not a money-earner.

    Not having the price on the cover is not an issue. She will use the barcode and set the price.
  • Ah, thank you, Baggy.

    I need to get my husband on to this. I need a spreadsheet - different prices for different quantities.


    And it's going to be fiddly, constantly price-changing.


    I tried to have a look at price editing this morning and I think it involves all the republishing palaver, waiting 24 or 48 hours (whatever it is) to have it okayed and then hit publish again.

    *puts head in hands and gives up*
  • edited March 2019
    TN, what you've described sounds like Createspace, not the new system which is much better in this respect.

    You can now select to have the books sent from Amazon in the UK, so there's no import tax. You do have to put that and the quantity in to get the postage cost, but you're not committed at that stage.
  • I think you need to accept that you will make little, if any, money from this deal. 
  • Do you know where the link is for that, PM?

    I suppose I don't really care about the money, Baggy. It would be nice to have an increase in sales, though - if they register when I buy. Also, it might earn me a few more fans who look out for my books...
  • Exactly. It's a good marketing exercise. 
  • Tiny Nell said:
    Do you know where the link is for that, PM?

    Go to your bookshelf, select the appropriate title and the paperback version. You'll get various options for changing the content, promoting etc. One is to get author copies. Just click it, choose Amazon.uk and the number of copies - repeat for all the titles you want, then go to checkout (make sure you don't have 1 click selected) and it'll give you the postage costs and delivery options.
  • I don't know if your ranking will go up when you buy author copies. If you do it and notice whether it has as a result please let me know as I'm interested.
  • I'd be interested too. In CS, the author copies didn't affect the sales - only those bought via the Amazon shop were included. 
  • Thank you. I need to know how many she'd want, but I can't ask her that until I have a price... 


    I can try out different quantities, I suppose, and send a suggested quantity for whatever seems most lucrative.
  • Your problem might be that she want 3. Most book shops don't have that many on display. The most I've ver sold myself to book stores or other stores is 3. 
  • Yes, 3 is difficult, although she seemed to like all of them. I offered 7 titles, so she might take 21... or 20.
  • You need to ask the question.
  • Baggy Books said:. In CS, the author copies didn't affect the sales
    I don't think they change the rankings under the new system either, but it's hard to tell when they've been bought when others are buying too – even just a few sales can show as a massive spike.
  • I have just spoken to my husband about it. He thinks it's not worth going ahead, as I'm almost guaranteed to make a loss. I'd also be out of pocket, he thinks, if she only gives me 50% after sales, and if the business doesn't take off (Scotland - how much passing trade? People buy from Amazon), then I might never get my share.
  • edited March 2019
    I agree with him. Even if you had bought your own ISBNs (for a fee) and could supply the books from your own stock, a printer would want to do a 100-book run and that requires an investment. You could go down the Ingram Spark route (for a fee on top of the ISBN) and that would provide access to bookshop databases, but there's still no guarantee a shop will stock you. Authors have a choice - to stay at the CS/KDP level for virtually no costs, or step up a tier and pay out more money. Ingram Spark are a POD company - but shops will expect you to absorb the cost of returns.
  • Yes, you're right. I have just emailed to tell her I can't proceed without making a loss. It's a shame, but there we are. We checked out the bookshop on Google, and although it looks very attractive, it's down a side street with lots of shut up shops, and further along into the centre doesn't look very lively at all. I think I've done the right thing.

    That was very stressful! (Too much maths!)
  • That's a shame, but I agree it's the right decision. Risking some money up front might be worthwhile, or foregoing a profit in order to get more readers, but selling knowing you'll make a loss doesn't make any sense.
  • The location isn't really a factor - it's selling at a loss that's the problem. Even if she had a high street shop, selling at a loss shouldn't be part of your plans. Selling a larger quantity at a loss is a bigger loss. 
  • I feel as though a weight has been lifted!
  • Oh, TN, I wish that wasn't the case, that you have to feel like that. 
  • It's so out of my comfort zone, Liz!

    I am very out of my depth with technology, marketing, remembering to take up opportunities (World Book Day has surprised me yet again...), etc, etc.

    All I can really do is spell, write a bit and make a nice Victoria sandwich.
  • There are many authors like you. 
  • Well, that's one up on me TN - I can't bake for toffee!
  • edited March 2019
    TN have you ever listened to any of the Alli podcasts? 

  • heather said:
    Well, that's one up on me TN - I can't bake for toffee!
    But you can do hard sums, heather...
  • Oh yes, there is that!
  • Oh, I so wish I could do hard sums! I should have married someone capable of stuff like that. instead i have dyscalculia and he has no ability in that area either. Just found out he hadn't named me as the recipient on his BBC pension... not that it's much as he left, but still...
  • We all have things we can't do. (I have lots!!)

    Some things seem to be more acceptable than others. People who can't read often hide it, whereas people who aren't good at sums seem quite happy to say 'Oh I'm not good at maths'.

    Same with other areas where people are judged for poor abilities in some things whereas similar things are treated sympathetically. I wonder why that is.

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