|Save a book from this fate: buy it for a penny|
The secret, my friend, is in the price being charged to the buyer for shipping...what the shysters on TV like to call "postage and handling," with "handling" perhaps providing the largest portion of the profit being made on the entire transaction. Why else would every single TV seller be so eager to give you two items for the price of one PLUS another charge for postage and handling?
Well, according to The Guardian, it works pretty much the same way on Amazon.com when it comes to the sale of used books by third-party sellers. Acquire them cheaply in bulk, slap a penny price tag on each book, charge the standard $3.99 shipping fee, and there's money to be made there for both the seller and for Amazon.
(The most surprising bit in the article might just be that so many charity shops are giving away donated books in bulk if someone is just willing to haul them away on a regular basis.)The price point is partly a result of the market’s downward pressure: at a certain level of supply and demand the race to the lowest price swiftly plummets to the bottom. What remains inflexible is the $3.99 fee Amazon charges the buyer for shipping. From that $4, Amazon takes what they call a “variable closing fee” of $1.35. They also charge the seller 15% of the item’s price – which in the case of a penny book is zero. That leaves $2.64 to cover postage, acquisition cost and overhead.“All told,” Mike Ward concedes, “we only make a few cents on a penny book sale like that.” Now that hardly seems like much, true. “But keep in mind,” he adds, “that last year we sold 11.5m books.”
Do read the article because it might just get you in the proper mood to see what you can add to your own collection for only $4 a whack. Some very good deals are to be had.