On this blog every Tuesday and Friday I write about story techniques, structure, and/or publishing. Comments and questions are welcome. I also have a personal blog, Amy Deardon, on which I write about a variety of topics purely as they catch my fancy.

I've written one novel, A Lever Long Enough, that I'm honored to say has won two awards. In my life BC (before children) I was a scientist who did bench research.

My book, The Story Template: Conquer Writer's Block Using the Universal Structure of Story, is now available in both hard-copy and e-book formats. I also coach would-be novelists and screenwriters to develop their story. YOU CAN CONTACT ME at amydeardon at yahoo dot com.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Jeff Bezos' Email Address

(Jeff's email addy is at the bottom of this blog entry)

Here is my update on Amazon's book pricing of THE STORY TEMPLATE.

You can read my first column about it HERE.

I found JEFF BEZOS' email address and wrote him the following letter:

Dear Mr Bezos:

I am a small publisher with two books for sale on your website. I am also very frustrated with amazon's pricing of my latest book, the print format of THE STORY TEMPLATE: CONQUER WRITER'S BLOCK USING THE UNIVERSAL STRUCTURE OF STORY by Amy Deardon.

Despite a publisher discount of 55%, and my book being listed at a lower price elsewhere on the internet, Amazon charges the full retail price of $15.95. I have spent some time talking with multiple Amazon representatives by telephone without receiving a clear answer as to how book prices are determined or whether the publisher discount on my book could be passed on to buyers as happens for most other books.

When first listed Template WAS discounted to $12.44, but the price pushed up a few months later. This price hike has killed my print sales.

I know I am not a big retailer on your site, but I hope you might be able to help me with this. What can I do for Amazon to discount my book?

I speak at writers conferences (1-3 per year) about self publishing, and also do fiction coaching. I might talk directly through classes or consults with about 100-200 writers per year who are eager to self publish. When I talk about self publishing, I discuss the wonderful opportunities on Amazon but then must always add a "but" to caution that Amazon does not seem to discount self-published print titles despite the standard publisher discount, and doesn't seem to be responsive to self publishers' concerns.

I am sorry that I have to be negative about Amazon because, as a customer, I love it. I have owned a Kindle since May 2010 and have many books in my Archived items. I have purchased Kindles for several older relatives and shown them how to use them. I have also bought several appliances and many print books from your company over the years, and have always been pleased with your low prices, fast delivery, and customer service.

Frankly, I'm surprised that your company isn't more accessible to small publishers. Can you help?

Here is the response I received:

From: Amazon.com Executive Customer Relations <ecr-replies@amazon.com>
Subject: Your Email to Jeff Bezos - Re: Frustrated Pricing: Can You Help?

I'm Deborah Hankins of Amazon.com's Executive Customer Relations team. Jeff Bezos received your email and asked me to respond on his behalf.

Thanks for your enthusiastic support of Amazon.com.  We're glad you've enjoyed shopping with us and shared this with others.

I can certainly understand you're interested in selling as many of your physical books as possible and we appreciate that you feel Amazon is a key player in this endeavor.  However, the information you've received from customer service is correct.

Our decision to discount books is based on a number of strategic considerations, which can vary over time. We cannot confirm when, if ever, a title will be discounted or for how long.

We have a team of people working to consistently improve our pricing model. We continue to do a significant amount of work in the area of pricing and are relentlessly focused on driving down prices.

It's possible that a future change in policy will result in a discount for your title. However, we're not going to discount your title at this time.

I hope this information is helpful. Please feel free to reply to this email if I can be of further assistance.


Deborah Hankins
Executive Customer Relations


Amazon is giving me a platform to make this book available for sale, and of course has the right to make any rules it wishes (I don't have to participate), but still this reply frustrates me. I'm wondering if this pricing policy for small publishers is from pressure from traditional publishers? Who knows?

There's not a whole lot I can do. You know what they say about the 800 pound gorilla. Still, in my small way I am letting people know about this by publishing our correspondence and the email addy's:

Jeff Bezos
CEO of Amazon

Deborah Hankins
Executive Customer Relations of Amazon

If you want to purchase THE STORY TEMPLATE, please go to http://www.interestingwriting.com/page41/page42/page42.html. It's $12 plus $2.67 S/H, cheaper than the full price of $15.95 that Amazon is charging. Furthermore, this particular seller is passing on a reasonable discount to the book buyer (you).

1 comment:

  1. You understand that they are in business to make money, right? ;)

    They discount books which they feel will give them an advantage to discount. That means, they discount consistent sellers. They discount books to stay competitive with other retailers, and they discount books they think will draw customers in.

    They don't discount all books, even all those from major publishers.

    Note, however, that they DO tend to discount Createspace books quite often, by 10-20%. And your book, if it was being printed on demand via Createspace, would be making you $5.60 a copy. You could even discount it down to $11.95 and still make $3.20 a copy, and even at that price they would likely discount it another 10-20% (with no impact on your profit per sale). They routinely discount my Createspace works.

    Another note: Your book is currently for sale for $9.38 on Amazon. So maybe your letter did some good after all!!! :) Best of luck.