I must confess, I don’t understand Amazon’s book pricing. I never felt a need to understand it before Master Point Press offered my bridge book for sale on Amazon’s website. As a baseline, the price listed on the back cover of One Trick at a Time: how to start winning at bridge is $18.95. Amazon first listed it for a preorder price of $12.67. Wow, I thought, anyone can order my book for less than I can get it from the publisher with my 40% discount, taking into consideration that Amazon ships free on orders over $25 and my publisher charges for shipping.
As consolation, I did receive my books almost six weeks before anyone could buy them on Amazon. As soon as Amazon actually fessed up to having the book in stock (7 available! – hurry, order soon) the price increased to $14.37. Two days later they had nine books available and four days after that their inventory doubled to eighteen. Now why, I asked myself, would they order my book in dribs and drabs? I’m sure they have a stocking algorithm, but since I don’t get daily sales statistics from Amazon, I don’t know how many they have actually sold. Incidentally, during this period Barnes & Noble had the book listed for $13.50.
I forgot to look at Amazon’s prices for almost two months because I was migrating between winter and summer homes, playing in several bridge tournaments and giving bridge lectures (oh, and hoping to sell a few books). When I remembered to check, Amazon’s price had jumped to $18.59; Barnes and Noble listed it for only $16.87. Someone must have clicked on the link Amazon has to “tell us about a lower price,” because within a week Amazon lowered their price to match Barnes & Nobles’. As of this writing, Amazon’s reported inventory is down to six books.
Incidentally, Amazon lists other sellers of the book besides themselves. At some US retailers you can buy the book, purportedly brand new, for $11.48 plus $3.99 S&H, which comes out to less than Amazon’s price. If you are looking to really enrich someone, you can pay as much as $32.51 plus $3.99 S&H!!
As I wrote the first draft of this blog, Amazon’s listingfor Catherine Coulter’s Backfire (An FBI Thriller) showed an expected release date of July 10, 2012. The hardcover list price is $26.95 and the preorder price was $16.17. The Kindle edition, which was released the same date, was available for preorder at $12.99. I’ll follow this best-selling author’s novel for three months to see what happens. If it’s interesting I’ll report on it in a follow-up blog around late October.
If you have a traditionally published book on Amazon, do you have any clue how they decide to price it?