I’m done being Amazon’s fool

Do you see this picture? This is Jeff Bezos laughing at John Brown. Because John Brown was a fool.

Let me explain.

When I sell my ebooks on Amazon for $2.99 to $9.99, Amazon charges me 30% of the price. I keep 70%. That’s a decent deal. I’m happy to do business with them as a partner with my ebooks.

But Amazon’s got some alter ego going when dealing with folks selling used books. When I sell used books, Amazon somehow thinks it’s a swell deal for all of us little guys if they take a huge chunk of the pie. Look at the numbers below.

Order date: 04/08/2017
Price: $3.98
Shipping: $3.99
Amazon fees: -$3.99 (100% of sale price)
Your earnings: $3.98

Order date: 04/05/2017
Price: $5.50
Shipping: $3.99
Amazon fees: -$4.21 (77% of sale price)
Your earnings: $5.28

Order date: 03/23/2017
Price: $3.50
Shipping: $3.99
Amazon fees: -$3.91 (112% of sale price)
Your earnings: $3.58

Order date: 03/15/2017
Price: $1.49
Shipping: $3.99
Amazon fees: -$3.61 (242% of sale price)
Your earnings: $1.87

You might think, hey, John, you’re making a few bucks on each. But no, what you see above is what I get from Amazon. I still have to ship the product. And if I purchased the book somewhere, I have to cover those costs as well.

For example, look at the last one. Amazon feels that not only do they need to charge me the total sale price of the book, they also need more than half of the shipping costs. That book cost over three dollars to ship plus a little for a bubble mailer because I actually care that the book is in great shape when the buyer opens the package. So I lost money. But Amazon did just fine.

And Bezos was laughing because John Brown, the fool, was paying Amazon for the pleasure of taking time to list the book, shelve the book at his house, package it, and then post it. It was as good as going to Disneyland!

The fees used to be lower.

Order date: 06/26/2014
Price: $3.59
Amazon fees: -$2.88 (a mere 80% of the sale price)
Shipping: $3.99
Your earnings: $4.70

I hated the fees they were charging then, but after postage, we could still make a buck or so on books priced at this level. Not anymore.

So adios Amazon. I’m done being your fool. And shame on me for taking so long to recognize it. I’m moving all my used book stock to Half.com because they actually have a good thing going. Look at what they charge for their services.

$0.75 – $50.00: 25.0%
$50.01 – $100.00: 22.5%
$100.01 – $250.00: 20.0%
$250.01 – $500.00: 17.5%
> $500.00: 15.0%

That means on that $1.49 book, they would have charged me a whopping 37 cents.

Hey, profit for them AND me. And a great price for the buyer. Win-win-win.

How nice.

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6 Responses to I’m done being Amazon’s fool

  1. Jana Brown says:

    Yeah, the fees are ridiculous. It’s to the point I’d rather save the books and donate them to needy libraries or the doctor’s office or the jail because it’s not worth hoop jumping and making nothing all at once.

  2. John Brown says:

    I know, right?

  3. Jerm says:

    Perhaps they are trying to intentionally minimize or limit their used book sales for whatever reason. Mission accomplished, it seems.

  4. Suzanne says:

    Those fees are crazy. Have you tried paperback swap? Might not be what you need, but then again, maybe it would!

  5. Steve says:

    Good for you, John! Good life lesson here. We all pay something for convenience every day -and sometimes its worth it. But if i had a nickle for every goofy “deal” (good generally for the other guy!) that I allowed to go on for too long; well, i could retire now. And i can’t. So i need to be reminded by good posts as these to “WAKE UP” from time to time. Thanks for sharing.

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