(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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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.
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:
CEO of Amazon
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).