Sunday, January 23, 2011

Why Amazon?

Why Amazon?

In order for you to understand “just how relevant” Amazon is to your book’s social media initiative I want to highlight some key components of the Amazon business model.

Marketing your book takes both large amounts of patience and work. You have to know where to direct your efforts in the most efficient way possible to maximize your book’s presence. So why invest your time on Amazon? Easy half the work is already done for you. Let’s look at how:

#1:  Amazon has already created a successful business model and proven that it works. If you walk into a restaurant and ask anyone there if they know what is, the typical response is yes. That being said by marketing your book directly on Amazon you instantly have access to all if its users.

-Implication: These are people who use Amazon regularly, so you can focus on promoting your book rather than also trying to obtain a steady following and maintain user interactions.  

#2:  Amazon has the ability to display and sell over 5,000,000 books.  Because Amazon is an online distribution channel for books they are not confined to the space restrictions of physical book stores. We all know how hard it can be to get your book into, say Barnes & Nobles, because on average each store stocks only 20,000 titles. Of those 20,000 half are reserved for re-prints and best-sellers, giving only 10,000 spots for newly published or un-known authors. The odds are not in your favor considering in the U.S alone there are over 190,000 new published books a year. (Note this does not include those books that do not require ISBN numbers). 

-Implication: As long as your book has a valid ISBN number you can typically have your book uploaded for sale on Amazon.  Thus you do not have to spend weeks or months soliciting book stores to carry your work. Your publisher ( or self-published author ) simply has to submit your book’s data to Amazon and it will usually be uploaded to the site.

#3: Amazon’s unique customer shopping experience. As we all know buying products on the internet has become the norm and people around the world are enjoying the ease of “click and buy”. However in order to increase and retain customer usage, Amazon wants to give each shopper their own customized experience. Hence their infamous “Recommendations”.

-Implication: In order to help assist buyers in their decisions and enlighten shoppers on new books they may or may not have ever heard of, Amazon will often when a purchase is made recommend “like products”. Basically,  if you buy product A on Amazon they will recommend you product B and C because those products are of similar nature to A.  You can easily get your book into the product B and C categories by learning how to operate and promote your book on Amazon.

#3: Customer Feedback: Amazon wants its users to let them know what they like and don’t like. They allow their customers to vote on products they like, vote on reviews as helpful, tag books with associated key words, create Lismanias of favorite books and much more.

-Implication: You can tell Amazon what your book compares to. If you can get enough activity going for your book and direct it in a manner that helps with promotion you can manipulate your standings so they will be picked up by Amazon’s algorithms and then integrated into their recommendation systems. Thus increasing your odds for potential sales.

#4: Increased International Awareness of Amazon’s Validity: Due to the success Amazon has demonstrated over the last 5 years the book industry (whether marketing or production) realizes that Amazon is a source for finding new content.

-Implication:  Foreign rights buyers use Amazon as a reference point when researching new titles to purchase. By having a dominant Amazon presence you will ensure your book is well represented to foreign rights buyers. Reviews are key here so you need to make sure your book has quality reviews, I would suggest 5-8 as a bare minimum for un-known authors.

#5: Amazon Marketplace: Amazon is consistently updating their system and adding new functions. This should indicate to you their stability and give you an idea of their future expansion. Not something you can ignore.

-Implication: Amazon already has a notable market share of revenue when it comes to book sales. Their forward movements should indicate to you that they will continue to grow and their presence is not going anywhere.  This should help you realize the importance of establishing a relevant presence on Amazon now and what it will lead to in the future.

#6 E-books and the Kindle: E-books in themselves are transforming the book industry as we know it and it is happening right now.  Kindle has become Amazon’s #1 best-selling product.

-Implication: If you have an e-version of your book, having it listed with Amazon is a pathway to sales. Books available on the Kindle are often cheaper than Hardback or Softcover versions allowing consumers to buy more with less. With over 500,000 Kindle editions being sold, this is a market you cannot afford to ignore.

What I have mentioned above are some of the more obvious reasons why Amazon can benefit your book. Next week I will introduce you with two steps you can do from your computer to help jump start your author presence. Remember Amazon needs to be treated as a social media site just like you would for Facebook and Twitter. This means you need to establish an author presence aside from your book promotion efforts.



  1. Kaitlyn,

    This was really interesting, and I agree with a lot of the perks you detailed. Amazon offers a lot to independent sellers, with the ease of selling a book--the Amazon Marketplace makes it as easy (maybe even easier) to sell a book than eBay does. A lot of internet users make Amazon their first stop when they're looking for anything from books to hardware tools, so it's safe to say that Amazon has quite a reach with internet shoppers.

    One thing I think hurts Amazon is the function of the Kindle and its e-books. Since Amazon's e-books can only be read on the Kindle, it limits the reach of e-books sold on their website. If a consumer has a different e-reader (such as a Nook), they won't be able to purchase their e-books off of Amazon. While the Kindle is still leading that e-reader market, the growth of the Nook may make that a significant problem in the near future.

  2. Erin, thanks for the comment! I agree with you Amazon is definitely a go to site for purchasing books. However the Nook (in my opinion) is in no way going to be able to compare to the Kindle, if any product will it will be the IPAD. Amazon locked in on the first e-reader machine and B&N had to follow suit because they would be missing out on a huge market if they did not participate. Amazon has first mover advantage on this and have a much larger internet customer base than B&N. But what a lot of people dont realize is that the formatting of an e-book is practically "universal", meaning once an author converts his/her manuscript into an e-book it can be uploaded and sold on any site, i.e. you can buy it on the Nook, Kindle, IPAD, Computer, etc. The benefit here is for the author because their e-book can be purchased from any retailer who offers products in this manner.

  3. I'm a new follower from Edge of Escape
    Keep the information flowing. This is good stuff.

  4. Don't have a Kindle? No sweat. Get a free copy of Calibre. It coverts files (downloads) to almost anything you like.