On April 26, 2023, Amazon will close Book Depository. Many people weren’t even aware that Amazon owned the company. They purchased it in 2011.
Amazon allows third party sellers to acquire the main buy buttons for books on Amazon’s website. If Amazon isn’t selling a book directly, or if the Amazon.com purchase button isn’t the main buy button, customers often see a higher price for the book. And, they often don’t get free shipping.
Over the years, many publishers and authors noticed that the main buy buttons on Amazon.com, for some of their books, were listed as being sold by Book Depository. Again, these book prices were greatly inflated. If a customer happened to click on the small link under the book’s price box, on the listings that are labeled “used” and “new,” they might find the actual Amazon.com listing for a new copy, and the book would be priced correctly (at the list price set by the publisher and/or author).
Publishers and authors were incensed because the prices being charged by Book Depository were far too high – higher than those publishers’ and authors’ customers likely wanted to pay for a book. There was also no free shipping. Amazon owned the company! What was going on?!?!
It made no sense to any of us in the industry why Amazon (through Book Depository) would charge more for books…meaning fewer books would be sold. Do the math, Amazon!
I wrote about this back in 2019:
I guess Book Depository wasn’t working out for Amazon (no surprise there!) because Amazon is killing that part of their business as part of numerous cost-cutting measures at the firm. I’m still not sure why Amazon even bought the company in the first place.
I’m hoping, with the Book Depository listings gone from Amazon.com, that the Amazon listings for books will be the ones customers see front and center – where the main buy button is. However, Amazon still allows third party sellers (not Amazon-owned) to take control of some of their main buy buttons. We have never learned if those resellers simply buy the rights to do that, or qualify in some other way.
And, don’t think Amazon KDP’s authors are immune from the third-party seller conundrums. They are not.
Amazon has also been laying folks off, and closing warehouses. Perhaps they’re positioning themselves to be more of a middle-man type operation, where they process a sale, and simply send the order to a third party retailer or distributor.
Regardless, we are THRILLED that Book Depository is closing. I have fielded countless complaints from authors about the Book Depository listings on Amazon and I’ll be very happy to never see that company’s name in an email ever again.
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