By Amy Collins
Man, Amazon is changing things up again and we have to make adjustments to how we work with IngramSpark and CreateSpace.
What They Did
Amazon is no longer listing books supplied from IngramSpark as “in stock.” In the past, Amazon would list IngramSpark sourced books as “in stock” because they knew that they could order the book and get them in a day. In the last few months, Amazon has changed this practice. They will only order enough POD IngramSpark sourced books to fill existing orders. Occasionally, they will order a few more when demand shows that they will sell them. Books that previously were listed as “in stock” are no longer and it is dramatically affecting sales.
Books that are also listed with CreateSpace (owned by Amazon) are not affected and shown as “in stock”. (Draw your own conclusions.)
Why We Use IngramSpark for Amazon
CreateSpace does not offer the option for pre-sales so those of us who want to sell and market our books leading up to a release date have to use IngramSpark. IngramSpark makes the book available to bookstores, Libraries, and Amazon ahead of time. For some folks this is a vital point in their marketing plans. Other people want to have hardcover books and CreateSpace does not offer that option. If they want a hardcover version of their books POD on Amazon, then they have to use IngramSpark.
What You Can Do Instead
After the release date, I council folks to then upload their files to CreateSpace. Once the files are accepted, contact CreateSpace and Amazon and ask them to source your Amazon listing through CreateSpace. If you upload the files and DO NOT contact Amazon and CreateSpace to ask them to start sourcing from CreateSpace, then it will be a month or more before the switch-over happens.
For the hardcover books, I would contact Amazon through your Author Central account and ask them to stock up a few copies. The link to author central is: https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/home
Speaking of Amazon, the searchability and findability of new books on Amazon has fallen UNBELIEVABLY. Amazon is trying to get folks to use the AMS (Amazon Marketing Services) which charges for keyword clicks and searches.
What They Did
For the last year, Amazon’s marketing keyword search bidding was relatively straightforward:
- Find 1000 authors, book titles, keywords and phrases, and put them up in an ad campaign.
- Set a small budget.
- Tweak a few times until your have a good list and watch the money ROLL IN.
But now, the same budgets and keyword work is not resulting in the same profits. It may be that too many authors are competing for the same keywords. It may be that Amazon is purposely submerging the search results to encourage authors to spend MORE money per search. It may be that Amazon is no longer giving the independently published books the same chances against the big guys and their OWN published books that they were. (Again, draw your own conclusions.)
What We Can Do Now
Amazon suggests a starting budget of $30 a day and a per click bid of $0.50. DO IT. Start with their suggested budget.
Then, it is time to experiment!
- Put 1000 search terms up and run an ad for a few days.
- Then go in and increase your budget by 50% for the campaign.
- And then bump up the bid for each keyword that is getting you a lot of impressions. (Increase 50% as well.)
What we are finding here is that an increase in expenditure is resulting in a higher profit margin.
If you have a new book and are not happy with the sales and exposure your book is getting, I would recommend that TRYING Amazon AMS programs might make a big impact on your book’s exposure.