Is Amazon fulfillment for you? It depends, so let’s review …
Amazon fulfillment can be perplexing for new authors. We’ve been in this business since 1999, and in that time, and talk to a lot of authors about their means of distribution and fulfillment. We see authors test different scenarios, both using Amazon for fulfillment as well as sales, or using Amazon or Barnes & Noble for sales only.
First and foremost, we always say:
Print books with Star Print Brokers for the best printed found books anywhere. Sell on Amazon because they have the most traffic anywhere.
Selling books on Amazon does not necessarily mean using Amazon to fulfill books.
We do think it important to reach the largest audience to market and sell your books. But, new authors especially need to watch their costs.
Remember this: The more books you print, the lower the unit cost.
We’ve found authors who just went ahead with Amazon fulfillment as it was easy, and they would not have to fulfill orders. If you choose Amazon fulfillment for book orders as well as sales, then know they are taking a big chunk out of your profit.
The quantity matters.
1,000 books – fulfill yourself.
Most new authors who want books professionally printed on press, choose between printing 1,000 and 3,000 copies. Reminder; the more books you print, the lower the unit cost. Therefore, if you are printing only 1,000 or 2,000 books, it is best to fulfill the orders yourself.
Advice: Let’s say your retail book cost is $30. Amazon will want to sell your book at a discount price of around $20. Subtract your costs for design, editing, printing, and so forth. It is helpful to work with a cost per copy, based on the printing quantity. Amazon charges around 15 percent just to show the book online. The fulfillment cost is much higher percentage/cost. You should get a cost from Amazon, so you can see the cost for your book.
Be sure to charge for shipping and handling if you are doing the fulfillment. Are you sending the books out using the post office’s media mail? Are books going out in a bubble wrap envelope, a plain envelope (avoid the corner crunch), or a mail in a box?
10,000 books – Amazon fulfillment is likely the best choice.
It can be challenging to fulfill that many books on your own! This is when it is a good idea to use Amazon. The books are all sent to an Amazon fulfillment center. You will need to find out in advance where we should send the books, as we include DDP costs in most printing quotes. We just need a zip code. Back to costs …
Advice: Since the more books you print means the lower the unit cost, you will have a lot more profit on 10,000 books than 1,000 books. Self-publishers can afford to have Amazon do the fulfillment. Also remember that the cost for book design, cover design, editing, ISBN and barcode, are the same for 1,000 books or 10,000 books. The more books you print, the lower your unit cost. If doing a reprint, your won’t have to invest in the basic costs again. We advice buying your own ISBN and barcode. Read more about this!
Anything in between.
Do the math! Get quotes together and see what makes sense for your book. If you expect books to move more slowly, fulfilling yourself is a better way to go. The more likely scenario is that you print smaller runs, and know how fast the books will sell. If they move quickly, then yes, use Amazon fulfillment.
Let’s define our terms …
Distribution is the process of supplying books to a store or other outlet. If you use an on-demand service, do you actually get your book into brick-and-mortar bookstores, or just have access to those bookstores? We have a secret for you. If you have your own ISBN and barcode, you already have access to brick-and-mortar bookstores. You are in the database already.
Fulfillment is the act of providing the book order, typically to an individual.
So, just remember. You do not have to use Amazon fulfillment. You can do it yourself and save more of your profit. But, if you should end up with a hot book, a bestseller, then certainly use Amazon fulfillment. Start now, and check out your process with Star Print Brokers.