Let’s face it. We like to check ourselves out on Amazon from time to time. Sometimes we’re hunting through the reviews, anguishing over the 1s and jumping for joy at the 5s, and something catches our eye. Here we see new/used copies of our book for sale.
“How are people selling my book for double the list price? I haven’t sold a paperback for months?” Or some variance of the OMG questions filter through your mind. Sometimes the price on these are astronomical figures higher than if they went to your site and bought signed copies and shipped anywhere in the world. One author I know has seen books go for over a hundred dollars.
Take a deep breath. These are relisting bots. They go through and auto pull info from Amazon and push it through their shop. To fulfill any orders, they will still have to order the book from Amazon, IngramSpark, etc.
Hearsay—Some writers swear those inflated prices are really a money laundering scheme by the mob. *shrugs* I haven’t seen proof of this.
So, let’s cover it in a nutshell:
- It’s not a scam. Sure, they charge an insane price, but they’ll deliver the book to the customer if it’s in stock. If you’ve pulled that edition, when the customer goes to order, they’ll get an “out of stock” notice.
- There is a small chance that these sellers are used bookstores and some of your given away/previously sold books are being resold. Sorry. There’s not much you can do. It isn’t illegal for them to resell books unless it is an ARC copy that is clearly labeled. How rare is this to happen? You’re more likely to get struck by lightning, eaten by a shark, win the lottery, and shack up with a Hollywood star at the same time unless you’re moving 10,000 units or more of a book. Which if you’re doing that, why are you worried about resellers?
- You’re not getting ripped off. You’ll still get your royalty if someone is unfortunate or stupid enough to buy from them instead of through Amazon’s big button section.
- Sometimes these sellers have more wiggle room on price, and they can offer it for a lower price while you still get your piece of the pie. This can actually help when your book is colored/photo books and you can’t lower the price any lower. Amazon sometimes prices matches if someone is buying the lower priced copies, and you still get the royalty from it.
Maybe take a moment to educate your followers how important it is to pay attention to the “Ships from and sold by” area of the buy box.
Some people don’t think to check author websites for signed copies. Consider signing a few copies and posting them for sale on eBay. Worst-case scenario, you sell nothing. Best-case scenario, maybe you make more than you would have or make secondary sales on Amazon, Kobo, Google Play, etc by all the people who stop to look at the book while it’s up on eBay.
**The image of Moonlight City Drive 1 and 2 is a screenshot from Ebay of a friend of mine’s book.**
I hope this eases the lead weight in your gut. Unlike e-Book pirates, paperbacks are rather easy to trace, and you’ll get your share of the pie.
**Update As of July 11, 2019 EXTREMELY RARE
It came to light in early July 2019 that an author is suing Amazon/BookSurge because someone was selling copies of her print book which violates copyright. https://writersweekly.com/angela-desk/author-sues-amazonbooksurge-alleging-copyright-infringement