How a little research can boost your bottom line

By Sharon Fussell, October 19, 2012

When buyers go onto Amazon to purchase books sometimes it is not obvious why they choose the copy they buy. You would generally assume that the following factors come into play:

  • Price
  • Condition
  • Feedback
  • Location

If anything you would think that price is the main factor, but I believe that most buyers are more keen to receive their items quickly and in good condition before taking into account other considerations – including price!

I believe many sellers fail to see this and put most of their stock onto Amazon for low prices, most often 1p, thus starting 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 talking about rare books here, as prices do tend to reflect rarity).

So, when can you ignore the trend of 1p books and price your book copy at a higher rate and when is it not really feasible?

Firstly, do remember that you can price your books however you like – although of course if you want them to sell you do need to make them appealing to buyers!

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 you are 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 sell 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 on the side of caution and list in a category below the condition you actually want to list it at. E.g. you may like to list a book as ‘very good’, but if it has creases list it as ‘good’. If it has severe page tanning or/ and creasing on the cover, list it as ‘acceptable’. You may attract comments such as ‘better than described’ on your feedback page, which is attractive to other buyers.

When it comes to buying books, if speed is of the essence, then I would assume UK/European buyers would not 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 that 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, 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 end up on page 10 or something -which is not much use to you.

However, if there are only a few copies available, click on the list of books for sale and look to see how many 1p copies are listed. If you see that prices vary on the front page, list your book at the price that reflects your book condition and your feedback ratings. I do not advise getting in a race with other sellers to see who can make the least amount of profit, that’s for sure!


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