Amazon availability…

Things are slowly getting back on track with the book sales at Amazon. The book shows as “In Stock” once again on, and has finally showed up as “In Stock” on too. Canada, France and Germany sites still show availability as “Usually ships within 3 to 5 weeks”, but I am hoping that this will change as soon as they receive stock from the printer.

However, I think there must have been quite a few sales waiting to be despatched from both the US Amazon warehouse and the UK one, as now shows “Only 5 copies left – order soon (more on the way)”. The UK site displays a similar message, but with only two copies remaining!

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While this is a little frustrating, I guess it is also encouraging too. I haven’t really made any concerted effort at marketing yet, as I would like availabilty not to be an issue when I do begin in ernest. I have a mailing list of over 4,000 people to contact, as well as about 100 press contacts, all gathered over the past couple of years.

I am going to chase up with Amazon again today, as I am a little confused about why availability is even an issue. With the book being supplied by one of the world’s largest Print On Demand suppliers, this shouldn’t really be an issue. LightningSource have print facilities in both the US and UK, and can print and despatch a book as soon as it is ordered. LS provide order fulfillment for online suppliers. This means that an online book store can offer a LS book, showing it as “In Stock”, even if they don’t hold any copies. When a customer places an order, the store simply forwards that order on to LS, who print the book and send it directly to the customer.

At the moment Amazon don’t seem to want to use this facility, preferring to hold a stock of books themselves. When these run out the book gets marked as potentially taking much longer to deliver. At times this would mean that I can order single copies of the book direct from the printer, as could any other online retailer, and despatch them direct to the customer quicker than Amazon can.

The whole point of going the Print On Demand route was to avoid having to handle stock. Come on Amazon – let’s try to keep up please! It’s going to get busier than this when I talk my way on to Oprah’s couch!!

Leave a Reply 2 comments

Joanna Penn - December 4, 2010 Reply

Hi Ian,
I saw your comment re Amazon's "only a few in stock". This seems to be the way they treat all print on demand books. They don't actually have any in stock as far as I can tell. It might be a marketing gimmick, but it happened to me too. It's not literally true so you can get people to order as normal!
Looking forward to speaking with you next week,
Thanks, Joanna

Ian Usher - A LIFE SOLD - December 4, 2010 Reply

Hi Joanna,
I too was wondering if it might be a marketing ploy. I also wonder if Amazon treat their own POD books preferrentially, when coming through their own POD company CreateSpace. They usually earn a bigger sales percentage from CreateSpace books than LightningSource, where to a degree you are able to choose the comission rate.
All is well now on and, but Amazon in Canada and Europe seem to be dragging their feet a little.
it is all very interesting to see the process in action. And very exciting too when it is your own book.
I look forward to speaking to you soon.

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