When can you ignore the 1p book trend?

By Sharon Fussell, September 24, 2012

When buyers go onto Amazon to purchase books sometimes it’s not immediately obvious why they actually choose a particular copy.

You would assume that the following factors come into play:

Price, Condition, Feedback, Location (e.g. UK v USA).

If anything you would think that price is the major factor, but I think most buyers are keen to receive their items quickly and in good condition before other considerations. For this reason often price can be a secondary factor.

Many sellers understandably assume it’s all down to pricing alone and put most of their stock onto Amazon for low value, most often 1p. They start a price trend in the belief they will sell their books first over the competition because their copy is priced cheaper. (Of course I am not discussing rare books here as prices do tend to reflect rarity, although not always).

When can you ignore the trend for 1p books (and price your book copy at a higher rate?)

Firstly, do remember that you can price your book how you like, although of course if you want them to sell you do need optimise conditions for buyers to choose your book to purchase.

How can you do this?

Firstly feedback comments should reflect quick delivery and ‘as described’ on your feedback page, this demonstrates you post quickly and that you are honest in relation to describing your books.

Also it helps if your actual ratings are higher than your competition, the more books you sell the more lifetime ratings you accrue which demonstrates longevity in the marketplace and that you’re not a ‘fly-by-night’. Thus buyers feel they can trust buying from you.

Ensure you are very strict regarding condition of books. Don’t be tempted to cut corners or pass on tatty, musty, mouldy books with loose pages. You will be caught out and your feedback may well suffer for this failing. If anything it is best to err or caution and list at a category below the condition you may like to list it at.

For example you may want to list a book as ‘very good’, but if it has creases I’d recommend listing it as just ‘good’. If it has severe page tanning or / and creasing on cover I’d list it as ‘acceptable’. You may attract comments such as ‘better than described’ onto your feedback page, which is attractive to other buyers.

When it comes to buying books, if speed is the essence, then most UK/European buyers are unlikely to opt to buy from USA sellers. So if you see that the only competition is from the USA then you can list your books at a higher rate, unless of course you see that the USA sellers have put a ridiculously high price against their product. When they do this I list my item much lower, but still at a good price.

For example, if a USA seller has priced a book at £125 and I can see that the particular book is not particularly rare, just perhaps uncommon, I will price at between £24.99 and £49.99 depending on the niche subject relating to the book.

Obviously it is not always possible to buck the pricing trend, especially with FBA sellers able to sell their books at a much lower price that you can because supply out strips demand.

Therefore if there are hundreds of copies, including new ones, it may not be feasible to ask a higher price as your copy will not be on the front listing page and may well be on page 10 or worse – which is not much use to you.

However, if there are only a few copies available, click on the list of books for sale scroll down the page as soon as you see a book offered at a higher price, place your offer price around this, either price match or undercut, taking into account your book condition and your feedback rating compared to your competitors.

The main thing is to ensure your book is on page one of the selling pages. Now Amazon have reduced this page from 25 to 15 listings, it is harder to remain on the first page and get a competitive price for your item.

Actually Amazon stated they reduced the selling page capacity to give buyers more choice!! Still it is the way it is.

It’s not so bad if you are selling via FBA as you can at least ensure (on most occasions) that your books stays on page one above merchant sellers, by pricing just below (often only 1p) competitors.

Food for thought!


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