Amazon don't tell their customers how much they take from a small publisher like me, nor do they advertise the fact that I have to pay the postage on the books sent to them.[...]
Linen Press books cost £4 a copy to produce, for several reasons...The RRP is £11.99. The postage is £2.50. On my website I sell the books for £8.99, so I'm not ripping you off; I'm just trying to persuade you not to buy from Amazon.All of this is bad enough (and, yes, the arithmetic shown above is a tad misstated although its bottom line is the same), but the scariest statement in the article is this one:
Here are the scary sums:
Amazon takes 60% of my RRP (in the book trade, the bigger the sales outfit, the bigger the discount they demand from the publisher: Amazon 60%; Waterstones 50%; independent bookshop 35%). On a £11.99 book, Amazon's takings are £7.20. Mine are £4.80.
Out of this comes £2.50 to pack and post the book to Amazon, and the author's royalties on a heavily discounted book reduced to 50p. My writers lose out on an Amazon sale, too. That leaves 82p for Linen Press, but the book cost £4 to produce. So I lose £2.18 on every sale by Amazon.
For all its vast catalogue, Amazon's market domination is actually reducing choice by squeezing out small publishers who are prepared to take risks.So for publishers with the per-book cost that is built in to small press runs, selling through Amazon is a whole lot like an individual selling something through eBay. After paying postage fees to deliver an item and the advertising fees demanded by eBay, there's very little left to claim as profit for the seller. That's why I no longer deal with eBay other than as a buyer. I wonder how many small, independent booksellers will reach the same conclusion about dealing with Amazon.