Author’s note: I never excelled in math, so if I fuck up here, feel free to correct me. I won’t get angry. In this instance, I’d adore it if I was wrong. Furthermore, if you don’t give a fuck about publishing-industry news, you can skip this post. If you’re wondering what I’m going to be talking about, here’s the tl;dr:
Amazon is a bag of flaming dicks aimed at a prolapsed colon. Disaster imminent.
Last month I ran a little experiment. I dropped my novel BAY’S END down to the lowest I could set the price, which was $9.65 in the Amazon Marketplace. In case you don’t know, Kindle Direct Publishing only allows you to sell your books above a certain price so that they (and you, admittedly) still make something. This left me with a profit of $1.83 per book, and literally a penny ($0.01) if someone ordered through expanded distribution (Barnes & Noble, their local library, so forth). I then went over and ordered my book from Amazon as a customer, using Amazon Prime two-day shipping as my delivery method. The book arrived three days later because it took them a day to print/ready the book for shipment. Cool, cool. Onward.
Now, you’re supposed to be able to buy your books at a discount through KDP, where you’re only paying Amazon to print and ship, and you make nothing off the transaction. For reference, my cost per book for BAY’S END is $5.65 per, which will be important in 3…2…1:
I then ordered what’s called an “author’s copy” and paid the $5.65 plus $3.88 for shipping. The printing alone took two weeks, and then the book arrived five days later, which is a business week itself. Wow… Okay then.
Let’s recap with some math, shall we?
$9.65 – $1.83 = $7.82
If I’m to show my work, that’s the cost of my book, shipped to me free two-day shipping because I’m a Prime member, minus the royalty I eventually get for ordering my own book through Amazon Marketplace and not KDP. That’s a total cost to me (eventually, given the royalty reimbursement) of $7.65, and I get the book in a total of three days because it takes a day for them to actually print/ship the book.
Now, what happens if we do the math on the “cheaper/discounted” author copies?
$5.65 + $3.88 = $9.53
In this case, the “author copy” cost me $1.71 more…
Again, if I show my work, that’s the cost of the book, plus shipping, AND the book takes two weeks to print, plus another week to get to me because it’s coming USPS first-class mail. And in case you’re wondering, no, you cannot use Prime to order author copies.
I don’t think I have to add anything to that. It’s ridiculous. It makes zero sense. Absolutely inept fuckery on Amazon’s part.
Sorry for the business/industry post, but I’m legitimately pissed and confused. I save almost two dollars per book by circumventing the author copy nonsense, AND this method also affects ranking, because you’re buying copies from Amazon Marketplace and not KDP. So not only are you having to jump through hoops, but it can also been seen as you gaming the system to raise your ranking by ordering your own books, when all you’re trying to do is save money ordering copies of YOUR OWN BOOK.
I’m done. This is stupid. The Createspace merger is a clusterfuck, and I honestly have no idea if they’ll ever fix it, because no matter what, Amazon makes their money.
Take care of each other,