According to a study by Sitecore, 40% of U.S. shoppers would like to reduce the amount of shopping they do on Amazon and 30% feel guilty after they’ve shopped on Amazon.
About a week and a half ago, I released my book Entreprenerd on different sales channels. For the eBook, I promote Leanpub after a strange experience with Apple Books. The paperback is printed by Amazon; it's only available online at Amazon. The hardcover is printed by Blurb and I released it on the Ingram Global Retail Network, which means that it should—in theory—be available in every bookstore. In practice, Amazon was the first sales channel that picked it up. Other channels followed with some delay.
Because of this delay, I received quite some questions from people asking me: "Can we buy the book without putting more money in Jeff Bezos' pockets?"
The answer is: "Yes, you can buy the book on bol.com, Barnes & Noble, Abebooks, and a couple of other stores." Check the Entreprenerd sales page for an overview of the options I discovered searching the Internet.
I am all in favor of independent book stores. I even mention one in my book:
I shared this page on the Facebook page of the Alexander Book Company and on Twitter:
That was five days ago, but no one from AlexanderBookCo liked that FB post or Tweet, nor did they share it or respond to it.
Hence my new Tweet:
When I sell an eBook on Amazon, I get a royalty between 35% and 70% on every sale; when I sell an eBook on Leanpub, I get a royalty of 80%—which allows me to make the book less expensive on Leanpub. Choosing the best sales channel for eBooks is a no-brainer.
It's different for paper books. When I released the book, I have defined a price of 32 euro, but each sales channel is free to sell it at a higher or lower price. A short survey today, showed that bol.com offered the best deal (32.42 euro) whereas it was most expensive at alibris (41.47 euro). On US sites, I saw prices ranging from $39.63 (32.41 euro) on amazon.com to $44.95 (36.47 euro) on Powell's books. On amazon.ca, it's priced at $48.11, but I'm not sure if those are American or Canadian dollars—I hope Canadian, which would correspond with 32.54 euro. This is a snapshot of the current price; I've already noticed that these prices can vary from day to day.
The book is printed on demand by Blurb, so I am surprised to see some online web shop promise that it is "in stock" or "can be delivered in 1 to 3 days." I don't think that's honest, because when I order books straight from Blurb, it takes at least one week before they are printed and shipped. Bol.com mentions 3 to 4 weeks. I think that's a tad too pessimistic, but it's certainly more honest. Online book shops don't take any risk with my book. They only order it when someone buys it.
That's why it's hard for an author to get his book included in the offer of an independent brick and mortar book store. They can't afford spending money on a stock of which they don't know in advance if they will be able to sell any of the books they bought.
Again, I fully understand readers who don't want to fill Jeff Bezos' pockets, but don't blame authors if their books are only available on Amazon. Instead of complaining about the poor availability of a book, you can help authors by ordering their books from an independent book store. In the case of my book, you can easily do this by asking your favorite book store to order the book with ISBN number 9781006996368.