Why You Want Your Book to be on Amazon.com

One of our authors asked a good question this week after we discussed the high percentage that’s given up by selling in bookstores, including Amazon.com. She asked, “Why would I want to be in Amazon.com?”

I told her that Amazon.com reaches readers she wouldn’t otherwise reach. It’s become such a fixture in the book world that even our local librarian goes to Amazon.com to look up book titles. Why? Shrinking library budgets mean paying subscription fees to look up book titles isn’t the best use of library money anymore. Looking up books on Amazon.com is free, so librarians use it.

Of course, authors who sell directly to readers (rather than through a bookstore) make the most profit per book. But they still want their books to be on Amazon.com so readers everywhere can find them.

Does the same hold true for other online stores like bn.com? Do readers look there as readily as they look on Amazon.com? The jury’s still out on that. Some authors think working with bn.com makes it too difficult to set up their accounts because bn.com appears to want to work with the publisher more than with the author. Amazon.com is more user-friendly in setting up accounts with authors.

Yes, you want to be on Amazon.com and even bn.com, but most of all you want to make sure that if you invest in publishing your book, you keep the unit cost low enough so you can afford to sell your book in online bookstores (or brick and mortar stores, for that matter).

Always look at your book publishing as business, not dream fulfillment. Figure out how you’ll recover your investment. Then enjoy the journey of sharing your expertise and having people appreciate your work while your credibility increases. Sometimes you make more money on the new business you generate from your book than you do from the book itself. Great! It all counts and adds to your bottom line.

Be careful you don’t get short-sighted by thinking you have to recover all your publishing investment through book sales. You may recover it by getting a new client, a new project, or more work. And your book tipped the scale in your favor.

Yes, Amazon.com takes a chunk of change, but you definitely want your book to be there.

Happy writing!

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5 Responses to “Why You Want Your Book to be on Amazon.com”


  1. 1 Carol Ann Hoel October 27, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    Of course, I want my book on Amazon! I buy everything, including books, from Amazon. This is the first place people that buy anything online go to check out anything they wish to purchase. They may end up somewhere else, but they start out on Amazon. This is what I think, anyway. For me, personally, this is true.

    • 2 expertbookpublishing October 28, 2010 at 9:30 am

      Glad to get your comment. The business decision for the author comes when he/she has to decide whether to give up 55 percent of the book price to get the sale. Some authors would rather not do that and I understand why. If publishing their book cost more than 45 percent of the cover price, they lose money on every sale made on Amazon. That’s not good business!

      That’s why we work with our authors to make sure the cost per book stays reasonable so they don’t lose money on those sales.

      The puppy mill presses don’t necessarily want authors to include the pre-printing costs in the cost of the book. If the author only thinks about the printing cost and not the hundreds of dollars they spend on before printing, they don’t realize how expensive publishing with the puppy mill presses really is.

  2. 3 Carol Ann Hoel October 28, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    Wow! Sounds like publishing a book is a losing deal. Too bad. Maybe I shouldn’t be losing any sleep if I don’t get published.

    • 4 expertbookpublishing November 1, 2010 at 9:08 am

      Publishing a book can be a losing deal–if you sell only in bookstores (and that was the point I was trying to make). On the other hand, it can make you lots of money if you really think through the reason you’re publishing, then figure out ways to sell books in other venues. Of course, selling direct to readers means you don’t have to share any of the profits with anyone else, so that makes you the most money.

      If you use your book to position yourself as an expert, your book can bring you lots of business you wouldn’t otherwise get and that’s a good thing. On the other hand, if you expect your book to move you to the next income level by book sales alone, you’ll most likely be disappointed.

      Fiction writers have the toughest time making money because people pass around fiction books to their friends or sell them for pittance in garage sales once they’re done reading them. Every book recycled or resold in a garage sale is a book that the author didn’t receive any payment for, yet the reader reaped the benefit of the author’s work.

      If you make a list of writers who support themselves by writing fiction, the list would be short indeed. However, some have succeeded, and they all started as unpublished writers first, so if you enjoy working on your book and if you believe in your work, don’t stop writing! You may even get published.

      One thing is for sure. You won’t get published if you don’t write first.


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