Thursday, 5 January 2012
Spending it like the 70s 2
I've put three 1930s detective novels in my Amazon basket, but I've not pressed go yet because I've got unread books around that I want to get stuck into, and if I bought new ones that would just distract me.
But I've sold a book on my Amazon seller account. That's a very interesting place, because it's supply and demand in the raw.
Your book's value is based on rarity and condition. Some people want a book that's brand new, and if they get it direct from Amazon they can get free postage. If they buy it from another seller it's £2.75 p&p. That means that the seller has to reduce the price by £2.75 to attract a buyer.
I was selling a book of iron-on transfers that was in perfect condition, so I decided to sell it at 5p less than the lowest available at the time. That worked and it sold last night.
I looked up the other books I'd put up at the lowest price, and found that other people have decided to sell their copies at a lower price, so it's unlikely mine will sell until theirs have all gone, unless I reduce mine further. Price war. Price skirmish anyway.
It cost me £1.46 to post my thing today (at the 250-500g large envelope Post Office rate) and Amazon takes a chunk of the price, but I do get a couple of quid in the bank. With hardback books, unless you sell them for around £5, or have your own account with one of the alternative delivery services, you'll make a loss on the postage.
So what we've got are thousands of popular books selling for 1p each (+£2.75 postage and packing of course). That's their true market value. There's very little sense of loyalty when all Amazon online sellers look pretty much the same on screen. The only reason to pay more is to get a copy that's in better condition. The only way to make a profit is to sell something that's in better condition than all the others.
I won't buy books for one penny.
I get the system, but I don't like it. I understand that there's no point paying more, but I still do. I pick what I think is a fair price for the book, and I pay that. Books are worth more than a penny. You've got to stand up for what you think is right.