This week’s ezine is picks up where last week’s left off. We were discussing the fact that selling books is not immune to change within the marketplace.
As a seller you have to recognise market condition and, in most cases, adapt or suffer the consequences of not doing so. In real terms this means the likelihood of losing out on income.
Of course, not all change results in less favourable conditions; sometimes market changes will improve conditions. But in the main, unless you adjust your selling practices to take market changes into account, you can expect a less prosperous business.
Selling books using Amazon’s market place has resulted in many changes over the ten years I have been doing it.
The main changes have been the changes outside Amazon marketplace, such as:
- Royal Mail changes to postage: creating large letters and packets rates and yearly increases to postage charges.
- Overseas postage increasing way beyond postage credits.
- VAT changes due to EU rules.
Let’s take a look at these three changes and how we adapted to them…
Back in the day, we would buy almost any size of book and the weight of that book dictated the cost of sending it. In most cases we could make a profit on any book after postage costs, even when selling the book for 1p plus £2.75 postage credit: a total of £2.76 (even after deducting after Amazon’s fees and commissions from that total).
When profits are affected by the size as well as the weight of sending a book, then you just have adapt to ensure you price your books accordingly: increases cannot be passed on to customers when selling 1p books, they have to be absorbed by the seller, leading to a fall in profit.
To be honest, when Royal Mail made the change, it was still possible to send packets and make a small profit on 1p books, especially when Amazon increased the postage credit from £2.75 to £2.80.
Now it’s impossible to profit from sending packet-sized books when sold for 1p plus £2.80, unless you are a big seller receiving favourable postage rates.
It is currently still possible to make a small profit when listing low-value books if you ensure they weigh less than 750 grams and are a large letter sized book – only, though, if you are a Pro-Merchant seller. If you are not, I would not recommend it due to higher fees paid to Amazon per item.
When I first listed books on Amazon, I enabled most books to be purchased by overseas buyers. I no longer do this. Amazon’s European postage credit is £4.02 less fees. The cost of sending books overseas using Royal Mail would not cover most sized items when only sold for 1p plus £4.02.
When selling low-value books, every penny counts. Amazon recently increased VAT fees for their services, due to an EU directive. This has impacted on the total amount received for a 1p book: it’s only a few pence, but it still comes out of your pocket, and it cannot be passed onto the customer.
So in summary, is it worth your while selling books on Amazon market place?
Yes! It’s still a vibrant forum to sell books; you just have to be careful of weights and sizes when listing to ensure you will make a profit when you sell the books.