If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

September Interviews

9/2 Dianne Freeman, A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Murder

9/9 Ellen Byron, Murder in the Bayou Boneyard

9/16 Marilyn Levinson, writing as Allison Brook, Checked Out for Murder

9/23 Rhys Bowen, The Last Mrs. Summers

9/30 Sherry Harris, From Beer To Eternity

September Guest Bloggers

9/19 Judy Alter

WWK Weekend Bloggers

9/5 V. M. Burns

9/12 Jennifer J. Chow

9/26 Kait Carson


Keenan Powell recently signed with agent Amy Collins of Talcott Notch. Congratulations, Keenan!

KM Rockwood's "Secrets To The Grave" will appear in the new SinC Chesapeake Chapter's new anthology Invitation To Murder, which will be released by Wildside Press on 10/6.

Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!

Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!

Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!

Look Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."

Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, was released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here from April 29th.

Annette Dashofy's 10th Zoe Chambers mystery, Til Death, will be released on June 16th. Look for the interview here on June 17.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Understanding Amazon’s Book Pricing

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?

~ Jim


carl brookins said...

In answer to your question, I have no idea and you know what? Since I have zero influence on the matter I spend only a tad more than that in time looking at and wondering about it. Not to be snarky, but I think we authors can better spend our energies dealing with marketing and writing aspects over which we do have a say.

Jim Jackson said...


The author part of me also spends no time worrying about their pricing. However, the finance geek part of me is curious to understand the economics behind what they do--not that it will change what I do, but just because I'm a curious sort.

~ Jim

Warren Bull said...

If the pricing is strange, the ranking is downright unfathomable. My experience with Amazon includes having my work disappear from their site with no explanation ever given.

Linda Rodriguez said...

I don't have a clue about the Amazon pricing used for my book, Jim. All I know is I had to squeeze out a bunch of characters plus spaces, so they wouldn't have to price the hardcover even higher. They were happy with the book as it was, but it needed to come in under a certain character plus space limit, or the "price point" for the book would have to go higher. Since hardcovers are so darn expensive anyway, I didn't want my book any higher-priced than it had to be, so I squeezed those words out an already tight book.

And the rankings are part-voodoo, I think, Warren.

Jim Jackson said...


I suspect the ratings are actually based on an algorithm -- the specifics of which may indeed have elements of voodoo.

I'm sure there are legions of Marketing MBAs out there who design the "optimal" pricing for hardcovers, paperbacks, etc. But it should would be interesting to peek under the hood.

~ Jim

Anita Page said...

Jim, Amazon originally sold my book at the publisher's list, 14.95, then dropped the price when the book became available at B&N for a couple of dollars less. The last time I looked it was selling for list at both sites.

I think "only blank left" is pure balderdash, to be polite. Equally mysterious are the Amazon rankings. The greatest mystery of all is why the Justice Department hasn't acted against a company which, to my admittedly non-lawyer mind, is in violation of the Sherman Act.

Anonymous said...

I think the number left is pure marketing hype. This has started appearing on Amazon.com in the past few months for virtually all books. Either that, or Amazon.com is decreasing their inventory markedly.