Wednesday, April 23, 2014

AMAZON BOOK PRICING vv AUTHOR COST

As an author who is both traditionally published by a leading Canadian publisher and self-published, I get as cross as a wet hen when paying for copies of my traditionally pubbed titles to sell at events. I'll tell you why.

I get a discount of 40% from the distributor of my commercially pubbed books, So I pay 60% of retail per copy. For example, my centennial edition of Through a Canadian Periscope retails for $26.99. I pay $16.19 per copy, earn NO royalties on them, and also pay shipping on top of this. (All quoted prices are in Canadian dollars)

BUT ... Amazon sells the paperback for $16.92.
AND ... Costco sells my book for even less at $15.79.

So my burning question is: Do I sell at the Amazon or Costco price to those who want to buy a signed copy from me or do I charge them the full price or something in between?

I decided to sell my book at $21 at signings and other events, explaining to buyers that they didn't have to pay shipping. But one customer even objected to that saying, "I never pay shipping as I order several books at a time from Amazon." Stymied, all I could respond was, "Then buy it from them." At least, I thought, I'll get a reduced royalty of $1.69.

Then there are the associations, museums, and indie bookstores who want copies of my nonfiction titles from me. What do I charge them?

  • Indie bookstores, if I'm there in person, always expect the 40% discount and the usual return policy they'd receive if they ordered from the distributor and the book fails to sell. 
  • Associations and museums' giftshops? With these I'm in a perpetual dilemma. Do I bill these groups full price + shipping and handling, which is no small amount these days, or should they get the same break as indie bookstores? 

WHAT DO YOU CHARGE FOR THE BOOKS YOU BUY FROM YOUR PUBLISHER AT A 40% DISCOUNT?