DISCLAIMER: Angela Hoy is the co-owner of BookLocker.com, a POD publisher.
I received this email from an unhappy POD author:
“I’ve really, really disliked Lulu, and have been very discouraged by the process. I don’t think a paperback of this book should cost so much (they claimed it’s necessary for the Amazon distribution). I actually haven’t marketed this book at all because I’m upset by the costs.
She provided me with her book’s information online. It’s a 390-page paperback (fiction) and it costs (are you sitting down?) more than $25! She’s right. That is WAY too expensive. Why would any POD publisher want to price a book out of the market like that?
I looked online and found two POD publishers that have some (not all) of their books appearing on Amazon with significant price differences compared to the list price on the publishers’ own websites. The fact is, most people order books online on Amazon.com and they’re not going to be too happy if they later discover they paid WAY too much for a book. They may even blame the publisher or even the author for the discrepancy. In fact, high prices like these might (and likely do) frighten off buyers altogether.
Publishers provide their recommended list prices to Ingram, which sends a feed to online stores like Amazon, and also, in certain cases, to the online store itself. Amazon will usually then discount that list price a bit to make their prices more attractive to buyers. However, Amazon may not know if/when a publisher is providing them with a higher list price than the publisher is using on their own website.
Here’s what I found during my research –
The Witchdoctor (312-page paperback)
On AuthorHouse.com – $12.30
On Amazon – $22.99
Master-E: Travel into Mystical Dragon Dimensions (212-page paperback)
On AuthorHouse.com – $30.10
On Amazon – 49.49
The King of Kafooni: ..and other stories in rhyming verse (108-page paperback)
On AuthorHouse.com – $17.50
On Amazon – $33.49
Between the Bars (228-page paperback)
On AuthorHouse.com – $12.99
On Amazon – $15.99
In Laws and Play Cousins (287-page paperback)
On Lulu.com – $13.49
On Amazon – 21.95
The Haitian Drama, history taking the wrong turn (400-page paperback)
On Lulu.com – $17.85
On Amazon – 25.50
Storm Clouds Over Sexton (514-page paperback)
On Lulu.com – $22.53
On Amazon – 26.50
The Keepers of the Rods (248-page paperback, 2010 edition)
On Lulu.com – $14.06
On Amazon – 24.15
While some authors are given the option of choosing different list prices that correspond with different royalty rates, having price differences like those above is insulting to the book buyer and, again, may price your book out of the market if the book buyer only sees your book’s high-priced Amazon listing. They may not go searching for a lower price elsewhere, and may, instead, simply buy a different, less-expensive book while shopping on Amazon. After all, most of Amazon’s book pages also feature ads for competing books. Why buy a $50 paperback when you’re given a choice of several competing books priced far lower?
For example, Amazon’s page for In Laws and Play Cousins (priced at $21.95) states: Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed
It then features four competing books that are priced from $9.36 to $16.31, all well below the $21.95 list price for In Laws and Play Cousins. If the book’s price on Amazon was the same as the price on Lulu ($13.95), it would be much more competitive when appearing alongside the other featured books.
Authors should ALWAYS demand to know the highest list price that will be provided to online bookstores BEFORE they sign that publisher’s contract and, of course, long before they send them any money.
Angela Hoy is the Publisher of WritersWeekly.com and co-owner of the POD firm BookLocker.com. WritersWeekly.com is the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday. According to attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print, BookLocker is: “As close to perfection as you’re going to find in the world of ebook and POD publishing. The ebook royalties are the highest I’ve ever seen, and the print royalties are better than average. BookLocker understands what new authors experience, and have put together a package that is the best in the business. You can’t go wrong here. Plus, they’re selective and won’t publish any manuscript just because it’s accompanied by a check. Also, the web site is well trafficked. If you can find a POD or epublisher with as much integrity and dedication to selling authors’ books, but with lower POD publishing fees, please let me know.”
Angela’s P.O.D. Secrets Revealed Series can be found HERE.
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