Amazon is known for its low prices and there is a good chance it will discount your book’s retail price, especially if the book is selling well. The pricing Amazon chooses for your book can also change periodically. A $20 book might be listed for $18.59 one week and $16.50 another week. There is nothing you can do to affect this price and it doesn’t change your compensation from Amazon—they still purchase your books at the wholesale price you or your publisher have set with them (usually 40% to 55% off of retail).
You may also notice that your book is listed for sale from third-party sellers in the New and Used categories. This can be alarming to new authors, especially when you haven’t yet generated enough sales to have used copies in circulation. What happens most often here is that small independent booksellers have listed your book for sale. They have access to Ingram, which is the largest supplier of books to bookstores. If your book is available through Ingram (and it will be if you’ve published with a reputable publisher), then other booksellers can list your book in Amazon’s marketplace and then drop-ship it from Ingram if and when it sells.
These third parties often try to compete with Amazon by pricing your book even lower than Amazon’s list price. If your book sells through a third-party, you still earn revenue from the sale when it is reported back from Ingram. And you may actually find that your book is listed in independent bookstore sites across the internet because they are able to drop-ship from Ingram. Unfortunately, these booksellers don’t have to buy your book before they list it and they are just pulling data from Ingram’s catalog, but at least you are still compensated when a copy sells.
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