The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.
Did you write a book detailing your family’s history? Perhaps you wrote about the history of your town or perhaps a Civil War battle or almost any other topic. Another possibility is that your local genealogy society has extracted records from old documents and now wishes to publish them. Perhaps you self-published your book, had it printed, and now you have hundreds of copies stored in the basement. Indeed, one of the most difficult parts of self-publishing books is the marketing: how to advertise and sell the books. You may not know there is a powerful ally that would like to help: Amazon.
Amazon is the world’s largest online retailer. The company started as an online bookstore but soon diversified, and now sells all sorts of retail goods, from jewelry to toys to computers. In fact, Amazon is very willing to sell your books as well. The fact that Amazon already has hundreds of millions of customers provides a sales avenue that you probably cannot duplicate on your own. Even better, Amazon does not charge a fee to list your products on Amazon.com although the company does charge fees when the item is sold.
Amazon has been selling Kindle ebooks for some time, and that process is well documented elsewhere. For this article, I will focus on selling your self-published, printed books through Amazon’s online site.
While Amazon won’t do anything “extra” to promote your books, the fact that the books are listed on Amazon.com certainly will increase the visibility of your works. Not only will a search on Amazon.com find your books, but so will a search on Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines. Of course, you will want to continue whatever marketing efforts you have already started. Using Amazon.com simply leverages your efforts even more. The result will be increased sales for you, and your new customers will appreciate learning about the availability of your books.
Even better, Amazon handles all customer service queries. If a buyer has questions about shipment or needs to trace a missing shipment, the queries go directly to Amazon for resolution. Amazon will only forward questions to the seller if the buyer or would-be buyer asks questions about the content of the books or other products being sold.
According to a report published by Forrester, thirty percent of all online shoppers start at Amazon to research products. Eighty-six percent of Americans who have bought something online said they’ve purchased from Amazon before.
Note: I am focusing on printed books in this article, but almost all this info applies to almost anything else you wish to sell in quantities, ranging from books to manufactured goods you might produce in your garage.
Best of all, selling on Amazon is virtually risk-free. The most you can lose is some of your time plus (in a few, rare instances) shipping costs on items that are returned.
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