Thursday, April 8, 2010
WHY NO AMAZON?
Last week I got a phone call asking why I don't sell Thinkers' Press, inc. products in a big way on Amazon or in Borders and Barnes&Noble. My answer:
1. Amazon takes most of the money, 55% for their wholesale division and we also pay postage!
2. They order in quantities as small as 1. Not 1 of several titles, but ONE book! They frequently do this. I pay the postage. Now I gang two or three orders together when possible... otherwise I just lose the "sale."
3. They are seriously SLOW payers. I've got thousands owed me. When they sell a book, they pay in 30-90 days. I get small checks deposited into my account most months. This has been going on for some time.
4. Their purchasing algorithm is flawed. In a big way. They must be using dead mathematicians to compute what they will be needing at this or that warehouse.
5. Their big discount allows them to compete favorably (very) against the publisher if they decide to do that (and they often do).
Question? Where's the upside for me?
IF a chess book should happen to be wildly popular they can move a lot of titles and in the process, promote OTHER books not connected to me. They still can win big. The "upside" is an illusion. David Rudel did very well because he took the bull by the horns and made several books on the College Zukertort, a very neglected system. AND, he made it interesting.
Is there ANY advantage in TPi using Amazon? No, not until they start ordering in larger quantities (the paperwork for me is crazy) and start paying for what they essentially have on consignment.
Two other points:
A. They would like to think they can go "viral" for the seller. Not much. The other day I saw that YouTube had posted a video of some deranged kid who had paid $500 for an iPad and then ostensibly proceeded to SMASH it! It was a joke, fake, or idiocy. At no point did the video show him smashing it with anything (just a dented corpse). If this is viral, what does it prove?
B. It's a one way street with Amazon. Schach Niggemann in Germany has over 60,000 people on its e-mail list. They don't need Amazon! If I do anything it will be to create my own Amazon because I know the subject and believe I can do a better job.
As to Barnes & Noble and Borders. Look at their shelves. "Rummy" books which aren't selling. Then later they return huge numbers. More paperwork, slow pay (100 days or more in many cases.) Sometimes I am seriously convinced I sell more books than they do. The returns from Borders are often screwed up, including books I don't publish, misscounts, paperwork totals wrong... and damaged books!
If I don't make money, I am history. No more books, no more DVDs, no newsletters. Some Americans are very suspicious of anyone (except them) who makes or tries to make a profit (living) from business. I've actually met some who think stuff should be free with no regard as to how this can be done. We've given away a lot of our manufacturing to China. Is anything free? No, and it won't be. People who run companies like mine buy cars, clothes, groceries, and on an on, and we also help fuel the economy. But first, it has to be paid for.
So for all the kind folks who are by my side, and like my products and business sentiments, thank you. I will keep innovating. I have one coming tomorrow!