You may be aware of Automated Amazon Profits, my course from several years ago that centres on Fulfilment By Amazon (FBA).
If you purchased this course, you may have diligently followed my methodology involving buying books in bulk, packing them into boxes and sending them to an Amazon Fulfilment Centre.
Your books are stored at the centre and when they’re sold Amazon staff pick, pack and send the order to your customer on your behalf.
When the course was written, I was over the moon with Amazon’s flagship process. It basically means that your orders are processed any time day or night by Amazon staff, while you are doing whatever you like to do, e.g stretching out by the pool on holiday or doing other hobbies you enjoy.
When I first started doing FBA the profits made were much better than if I were to pick and post the orders myself using Royal Mail.
Unfortunately, as per the saying ‘all good things come to an end’, Amazon changed one of their selling policies, increasing pick and pack charges, and suddenly FBA was adversely affected. Due to the higher costs, few low-value books are worth bothering with.
Despite this drop in profits the cost of storing books have been covered by sales, with our FBA stock bobbing along despite not sending books to Amazon’s Fulfilment Centre for ages.
Of course, the FBA process still works if you send premium-priced products and quick-selling products… it’s just not for suited for all products such as low-value fiction and non-fiction books.
Amazon are currently – until August 15th – giving sellers the option of removing stock from their warehouse if it has been stored for over a year. They are reimbursing the cost of each removal.
The cost for removing books is 25p to be destroyed by Amazon or around 70p to be returned to your address. On this occasion these fees will be reimbursed to you.
If you have books sitting in one of their Fulfilment Centres that are selling slowly, this is a great time to consider removing stock that isn’t turning a profit.
I recently received an email from eletter subscriber Brian in relation to his topic. He asks:
“My concern is that after this promotion ends if I don’t remove them, do they intend to start charging storage on items that they consider being slow sellers that have been in storage for over a year…?”
This is a very pertinent question, one I considered myself. However, I think if Amazon intended charging extra or additional fees for the books you don’t remove they would have made this clear.
Several years ago, Amazon moved the goalposts on storing products when they stated any duplicate items not sold within one year would have an additional storage fee known as a ‘long-term storage charge’.
They allow one item with a standard storage fee but anything over one item (with the same ISBN) is charged extra and you have two periods within a year when duplicates can be removed before attracting extra charges.
When Amazon introduced the new policy they allowed sellers to remove any duplicate products free for a certain period. We had hundreds of items delivered back to us – and that was a nightmare.
Amazon may consider asking for any items not sold over one year to be removed if they are very keen on emptying their Fulfilment Centres of slow-moving products. But my guess is if they do so they will reimburse sellers as the ‘contract’ between themselves and the sellers will be changed.
However, if you are considering taking advantage of Amazon’s current free removal offer, don’t automatically think this is something that might be repeated every year and leave it.
You just don’t know if and when they will make this offer again – and if you have several thousand books in their Centres that aren’t exactly flying off the shelves, it is well worth taking advantage of the free removal policy.
And then you might wish to follow this final tip I have for you this week – how about considering putting books returned to you up for sale on eBay as a job lot or individual listings?