Since I first published my book in 2011, I have sold both the paperback and Kindle versions on Amazon. Each sells through a different venue: the Kindle version via Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), and the paperback book via Amazon Advantage. I never did feel that Amazon Advantage was a great deal for me as a small vendor–I must pay shipping fees, a higher than usual wholesale discount of 55%, and an annual fee of $29–but a book that’s not on Amazon just hasn’t made it, right? I justified the extra cost by considering my access to the huge international market, name recognition, and one-stop shopping Amazon provides. They would stock a few of my books and order more as some sold. I haven’t had any complaints.
Until recently, that is. On April 14, I received an email from Amazon touting a host of new marketing services such as pay-per-click ads, vine reviews, and special “A+ detail pages” to give my buyers a rich shopping experience. Sounds good, right? Well, they also mention that the fee will be going up to $99 per year in May. That’s just over two weeks away from when they sent the email.
There is no option to remain at the lower fee and opt-out of the new services. It appears that Amazon is trying to weed out their small vendors. If I close my Advantage account with them, I can never re-open under the same company name and contact information. I don’t quite understand why it must be such an ultimatum, but it is their policy.
I will continue to sell my paperback version on my website here at Starflight Press, and the Kindle ebook on Amazon. Wholesale print orders will continue to flight schools and shops. But the print book on Amazon, sadly, will be a thing of the past. I have to wonder how many other small vendors have also decided to leave the Amazon Advantage program this week. It’s unfortunate that Amazon is making their Advantage program not so much of an advantage for me anymore, but change can often bring new opportunities. At the very least, it’s got me writing my blog again. We’ll see what other advantages I can take away.