Tour’s Books Blog

November 15, 2014

One Day Sale at Books-a-Million for Members Only + New Amazon Shipping Policy

Filed under: Editorial — toursbooks @ 3:10 pm
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Books-A-Million (BAM) has a one day – November 15 – sale of 20% your entire purchase, except BAM Millionaire’s Club Member ship for $25 that gives free shipping plus random in store and online discounts all year.  If you’re not a member and pre-order lots of dead tree books like me, it’s worth going, joining and placing a big order.

Now BAM ships the day a book is released, not so the book arrives at your house on the release date.  But guess what?  Amazon is changing their shipping policy to ship when ‘Books are in stock’.  Is this new?  Yup.  Go to a ‘to be released book’ that you HAVEN’T ordered and a little drop down will appear at the top of the listing with the new policy!  It’s easy to miss, but take time and read it.  One of my pre-orders is already going to be 4 days later.  I thought it was the publisher till today.

So for anyone who finds they don’t make enough use of their Prime Membership and just wants free shipping, take a look at BAM.  The website is nowhere near a match for Amazon, and certainly can’t compete in the ebook area with Amazon’s CreateSpace platform, but for dead-tree-books, they’re fine.  And you can easily do what I do, use Amazon to find what you want, put it on a wish list, then buy from BAM.  In fact, I just moved a bunch of pre-ordered books over as well!  Now I have to go cancel the Amazon orders.  Hey, it’s my money.  I paid for the $25 BAM Millionaire’s Club with what I saved today, so the rest of the year is a gift.

$7.99 mmpb’s are $5.75 (BAM automatically prices them at $7.19, so it’s 20% off that existing discount)

Trade size varied depending on list, but averaged around $9.30

Hard cover also varied, but one dropped all the way to $16.63 from $20+

If you join BAM’s Millionaire Club today, the 20% whole order discount will apply.  Good way to get calendars as such too!  Happy shopping!  BUT HURRY!

PS – I just cancelled over $200 in pre-orders from Amazon and moved them to BAM and saved enough to order 4 more books + the pay for the BAM Millionaire’s Club Membership!

August 20, 2013

Another Entry in Book Wars – Part IV

Filed under: Editorial,Observations and Comments,opinion — toursbooks @ 3:39 pm
Tags: ,

I just read about non-book price advantages at Bed, Bath, and Beyond over Amazon, then Tom Gara of the Wall Street Journal added,

“It’s not just physical retailers putting Amazon in their sights — online competitors also seem focused on matching the company’s low prices. Today online retailer Overstock announced it would match all Amazon prices on books, in a move coming just a month after the company said it would undercut Amazon by 10% in the book market — a discount Amazon quickly matched.

“Last month we started a book pricing war with Amazon,” said Patrick Byrne, Overstock.’s chairman, in a statement announcing the price matching. “We’re hoping to continue that battle, in a way that lessens any harm to the mom-and-pop booksellers we consider our comrades in arms.””

Price wars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  And we, the consumer, might win – at least in the short term.  Companies can lose money forever and stay in business, but like airline price wars, get it while it’s hot!

I do order from Overstock, just not usually books, just household items.  I think I’ve bought 6 sheet sets, an end table, comforter set, and a number of other things, all at very good prices.  Like Amazon, Overstock is strictly mail order.  But Bed, Bath, and Beyond is NOT.  It’s a brick and mortar store that seems to be ubiquitous throughout the country.  Ranks up there with Pier 1.  I never bought much of anything from them, so I have no comment on their goods.  I’ve been in a few stores, but they rarely seem to have what I want.

So I did some checking:

  • The English Girl (HC  Aug 6th) –  Overstock – $15.81 +15% on Club O Dollars     Amazon, $19.28
  • Never Go Back (Jack Reacher) HC (Sept 3)  –  Overstock – $16.80 + 15% in Club O Dollar    Amazon  –  $16.80
  • World War Z (Trade size Oct 2007) –   Overstock  –  $7.86 + 15% on Club O dollars     Amazon  –  $7.86
  • Eylsian Fields (HC Aug 13) –   Ocerstock  –  $17.93 + 15% Club O dollars     Amazon  –  $17.93

Translation:  Like Amazon Prime, Overstock offers an annual membership for $19.95 (Amazon is $80 but includes lots of other perks) that includes free shipping on all orders AND at LEAST 5% on Club O dollars that can be used toward future purchases.  So even where Amazon has matched the price, and obviously they have, they lose in that Overstock members would get an ADDITIONAL $8.75 in discounts on future purchases.

Now Overstock does not have the range or the long pre-order capability of Amazon, and I had much better pricing on Elysian Fields on pre-order at BAM even with the 15% O dollars calculated in.  But taken over all, I’d have to say on recent releases, and soon to be released titles, you’d do better at Overstock.

Who knew?  I always think of them for bed, bath and household stuff, not books or movies.  It’s worth a look and if you’re planning household purchased, you’ll find those O-dollars adding up fast.  Not bad for $20/year.

By the way, I got The English Girl the cheapest way possible, through Paperback Swap, for free.   Pardon me while I gloat.

August 19, 2013

The Game is ON! (Again) – Amazon Price Roulette and Bookseller News

Filed under: Editorial,General,opinion — toursbooks @ 2:27 pm
Tags: ,

Well, for awhile there after eliminating Amazon’s 4-for-3 program on mmpb’s Amazon did deep discounts – in the $4.39 to $5.39 per book range in a completely random fashion.  It was strictly $7.99 books, but some $8.99 and $9.99 ones got a few discounts beyond their now standard 10%.

I left a number of books on pre-order at Amazon and until the last 2 weeks not ONE had more than the 10% discount.  Suddenly, the site had these great buys, mostly on cozy mysteries and some paranormal.  Like the last time, it might $4.79 today, $5.39 tomorrow or anywhere up to the old $7.19.  Now, if you wanted to take a chance that the book you wanted would get a deep discount, you could ore-order it, but judging by the fact that only 2 of the 20+ books I rec’d from the pre-order pile  had it, I wouldn’t place any bets on the pre-order price guarantee kicking in to any substantial savings.

On top of that, Amazon’s UK division was offering discounts on DIFFERENT books, including the new Cassie Palmer installment due out soon.  That was NOT on sale on the US site.

I found the whole timing bizarre since it came on the heels of the announcement that Amazon sales had fallen 3% for the first time.  It was blamed, rightly or wrongly, on the Kindle Fire sales slump and the saturation of the tablet market and preference for the iPad.  There is supposedly some big secret project in the works at Amazon, but whether it’s new technology or some other change, who knows.

Meanwhile, Book Closeouts is changing its name and its website.  Starting September 7 it will be Book Outlet.  They will also open a brick and mortar store in Buffalo, NY.  Watch for sale and mark the new website.  They do have some good deals and fall is their big discount time.  They are promising a more user friendly website.  I hope so, because the one they have now sucks.

As for Books-A-Million and how they’re doing with my orders ………….. well, there’s good and bad coming out there.

Pros:

  • Regular discounts of up to an additional 20% are emailed to their Millionaire’s Club members.  (Requires minimum purchase)
  • Sent UPS or USPS same as Amazon
  • Well packed and no damage to books
  • With their extra discounts, 10-18% cheaper than Amazon on mmpb’s, a substantial difference

Cons:

  • Once an order is placed, you CANNOT cancel or change it, so if you accidentally order a book more than once, you’re screwed
  • When you pre-order a book and it released under a different ISBN, they just cancel it – affecting your discount based of dollars spent
  • The books are not SHIPPED till THE RELEASE DATE, which means you get them 2-3 days after your Amazon order would arrive
  • There is no ‘Pre-order price guarantee’, so if their price drops, too bad.
  • Website does NOT show you if you have already ordered a specific book
  • Does not add new titles as early as Amazon

So, where does this leave the book buyer?  With a surefire discount on BAM, but with more work, orders cast in stone, extra record keeping, and later delivery, OR price point roulette on Amazon, who DOES allow cancellations till an order is on the floor for pick and pack?  I have found BAM’s order system very inflexible, but their pricing is good when you use the additional discounts.  I find Amazon’s ‘price Point Roulette’ erratic, unreliable, unpredictable, and not something I’m entirely comfortable with.  In short, I’m not real impressed by either company, though Amazon has the customer service and website ease of use edge big time.

In all of this, Book Closeouts, soon to be Book Outlets, has improved their shipping operation – thank heavens.  They get an order picked and packed quickly these days, rather than a week to 10 days after the order is placed.  They still use USPS Media Mail, but otherwise, it’s fine.  And you still get GREAT buys at low prices and no ‘per book’ shipping cost!  Those $3.99/bk fees can really eat up the savings on a multi-book order.  I just got 4 books from them (thru their website, though they also sell on Amazon) and the shipping was still only $3.99.

So there you have it, my latest adventures in book buying.  It all kind of sucks, just in different ways, and that whole sales tax thing ……………. well that does impact my buying, make no mistake.  It looks like I’ll continue to split my business among sellers.  I’m not completely happy with any any of them!

May 4, 2013

The Never Ending Story of Amazon

Filed under: Editorial,General — toursbooks @ 5:20 pm
Tags: , ,

Start up companies are business soap operas.  The emotional highs, and tearful demise happen every day.  From the day Jeff Bezos started Amazon, its profit margins have been the subject of questions.  For years there were no profits, just huge losses, yet each time Amazon provided quarterly figures, the stock would jump.  Those were the good old days before ‘back to basics’ investing took the glow off start-ups and began asking, “Where’s the money?” It’s why people question new stock offerings so closely now – excluding that FaceBook debacle.

Amazon saves a lot of money by not having brick and mortar stores, but it has got a lot of warehouses in different states and employs over 20,000 to 70,000 people in their 40 US based fulfillment centers, depending on the season.  Actually, their order fulfillment operations are considered a benchmark against which others are measured.  Unfortunately, it also has a remarkably inefficient way of warehousing, picking, and packing orders.  It’s not unusual for me to order 3 books and get them from 3 different locations in 3 separate packages.  Now this is not pre-orders, this is in print books, often the same genre.  I questioned how they could make money even with the deep discounts small package carries offer large volume shippers and this week, I read an article about just that – Amazon Prime’s free 2 day shipping.

Amazon Prime isn’t cheap at $80/year, but you get free movies, cloud computing, can borrow a Kindle book a month free, and the biggie – free shipping.  Buy 40 print books a year, and that’s cheap when you consider other companies charge $3.50 for the first book and $1.95 or more for each additional book.  Now, as a PBS (PaperBack Swap) member, I ship a LOT of books via media mail so I know how much shipping that little mystery mmpb can be.  And how cheap that heavy box of hardcovers is by comparison.  A small cozy mystery between 250 and 350 pages will run under $3 first class and about the same media mail.  That 10 pound box of hardcovers will run about $6 media mail for 5 hefty books.  Parcel post would be about twice that or more.  Yes, you have the cost of the shipping envelopes or corrugate cartons and wrapping the books in plastic to protect from water hazards, but we’re talking under $0.50 in materials, so shipping one little mmpb is a break even and shipping those hardcovers you make a profit on the shipping costs.

Check the freight costs for UPS or Fed Ex and you’ll faint.  So yeah, I get Amazon’s switch to FedEx Smartpost, an efficient compromise between small package at door delivery and using the postal service that probably saved them millions.  But what it isn’t saving is their pick-pack operation and the number of packages shipped.  So they use bubble envelopes for a small number of shipments, but the majority are in corrugate cartons shrink wrapped to a corrugate pad.  One book per box.  I cringe on a big release day when I find myself with 10-15 individual boxes 80-90% with 1 lone book.  As a customer, I love the efficiency of release day delivery.  As a package engineer, I shudder at the waste and shipping cost for mmpb’s.

Apparently, I’m not the only one wondering how the hell Amazon can make money off of their Prime customers, stock analysts have been looking at their profits and think the stock is over-valued.  I’m no market guru, but when profit margins are 7-8%, the REAL cost of Prime memberships has to be questioned.  One analyst opined that Amazon would NEVER improve their profits margins as long as they kept the Prime program as it stands!  But changing it is a risk, especially when Books-A-Million is offering the same free shipping for $20/year.  So Amazon is looking at options of getting that cost under control – the reason behind the recent switch to FedEx Smartpost and the new locker system.  Smartpost is a compromise, one Amazon knows will result in delivery delays since the last mile is managed by the USPS, not a small package carrier.  The post office has cut staffing to the bone, so the surges on major release dates really strains facilities in many locations, including where I live.  Combine that with temporary summer or Christmas holiday help and you have chaos.  I already have to check my mail because I get so many mis-delivered first class items and parcels.  If it’s an immediate neighbor, I’ll walk it over, but if it’s on another street in the complex, I take back to the PO and they can find the proper owner. In five years of UPS delivery, I think one package went astray.  So Amazon has already traded down on the service ladder to get some cost efficiency.

The locker system is a whole different animal.  Now they are pushing the cost for the ‘last mile’ of delivery onto the customer under the guise of ‘pick it up today!’  Yup, makes sense for me to waste my time and gas running heaven knows where to go to some soulless locker and get my order.  But by pushing the cost of that last leg onto the customer, Amazon would save big time.  The lock system is still in process and its success is not a given.  People order books to avoid the hassle of going to the store, but driving to a locker really isn’t any different – and could be very inconvenient, especially during bad weather.  So this program is not a sure bet for success.

One of the options that Amazon seems loathe to consider is a more efficient is multiple order consolidation – combining  multiple orders from one customer into a single order for new releases.  The vast majority of my pre-orders are mystery and paranormal/UF in a mix that’s 70% mmpb and the rest split between trade and hard cover.  Now books with the same release date might enter Amazon’s sales catalog at different times, so I might 5 – 8 orders with product being released the same day.  It is rare indeed for these orders to be combined in a single box, but common for one order to arrive in multiple parts on the same day in some cases partly by UPS and partly by FedEx Smartpost!  Now anyone who has walked a warehouse knows how complex shelf placement gets, but instead of placing items by demand – obviously new releases will have a demand surge – they place them randomly by space.  There are people on bikes that pedal to the far end of warehouses to fetch goods.  Orders bounce from one facility to another based on inventory.  And that’s how I end up with over a dozen individual boxes from 4 different states on a major release date.  The cost of that is huge.

That’s also the reason Amazon is looking at a neutral stock rating, and some analysts are rating it ‘sell’ because they think it’s over-priced at $258/share.

Does this mean Amazon’s customer base is not growing?  Maybe.  Or maybe it’s just slowing as they saturate a market already crowded by electronic devices, holding back of their Fire tablet.  Certainly the number of prints books sold will be down as ebooks bite into that market more each year and the new generation of readers get more and more dependent on electronics for their entertainment.  And ebooks are VERY attractive since the goods are delivered wirelessly, take up only computer space, and there’s no packing or shipping involved.  I expect the profit margins are better for both publishers and sellers – but not authors.  What I did find surprising is the small drop in profit despite the attractively priced Fire tablet and overall increase in ebook sales ve print books.  Are shipping costs growing faster than they can be contained by the growth in ebooks?  Given fuel costs, that’s very likely.  That was reflected in a quarter percent or more drop in profits.  Something that really gnaws on some investment types, despite all the innovation and new toys, Amazon’s profits have flatlined.

Does this mean the days of Amazon Prime are numbered?  Or does it mean the annual cost will go up?  Or a change in service to USPS media mail, delaying the books arrival?  Amazon owns The Book Depository in the UK.  I buy there since they carry British authors hard to find in any US store, especially thriller, mystery, and espionage.  I do get free shipping, but it comes international ground.  I see some of those titles on Amazon – with 1 to 3 weeks delivery dates, meaning they source from Book Depository.  Is this something Amazon would consider in their US operations for Prime?  Or maybe just free shipping with standard ground delivery, 2-5 days with no guarantee of release date delivery?  Interesting questions, but so far, Amazon has offered few answers.  I have to assume the ‘price point roulette’ they’re playing with mmpb’s is one way to up profits.  But the loss of 4-for-3 still is inhibiting my buying fairly dramatically.  Maybe that’s the intent.  Push more customers to consider ebooks.  Of course, there will always be the risk of losing business, but is it PROFITABLE business?  Maybe customers like me who prefer print books are no great loss to Amazon’s bottom line.  Investing gurus seem to believe that Prime is the albatross around Amazon’s neck.  That’s not something they can ignore.

All this makes me wonder about the future of print books in general.  Libraries have cut way back on purchases as they deal with budget cuts and increase their ebook inventory.  It saves purchase costs, manhours, and space – all reductions in overhead.   Another interesting development is the quick sellout of copies of some books.  Now Amazon has to be the single largest retailer of books in the US, if not the world, but are they reducing their order quantities based on pre-release sales and allowing the books to go out of stock?  It happens more often then you might think.  It is a boon to used book sellers who can ask staggering prices for a print book.  Is this another cost containment move?  It seems so to me.  Or maybe small press publishers just don’t have the willingness to risk print overruns.  Neither do some larger ones.

Regardless, Amazon will need to improve their margins to get a ‘Buy’ recommendation on their stock.  It will be interesting to see how the next year or two plays out for Amazon Prime and their profit margins.  Who knew selling books could be a soap opera?

April 3, 2013

Books on Order – and not from Amazon

Filed under: Editorial,General — toursbooks @ 5:48 pm
Tags: ,

It was inevitable – carved into Amazon’s ‘catch me if can’ pricing game.  I am slowly beginning to move orders from Amazon to BAM (Books-a-Million).  Along with my $20 membership fee – which means free shipping – I got $10 off on any order of $50 or more.  I did what any sane person would do and moved books from Amazon pre-order to BAM.  Then I got a $20 off coupon for $100 or more order and did it again!  This time, mostly pre-order hardcover books and trade paperback.  Today BAM had a 4 hour flash sale with ALL MMPB’s at 30% off.  Yup, two MORE paperbacks moved from Amazon to BAM!

What does this mean?  It means that I have become an aggressive comparison shopper for my books.  Before, the convenience of Amazon’s system, with the 4-for-3 program might not have been the BEST deal, but it was easy to keep everything in one place and make sure I at least got a GOOD deal.  Now, they drive me nuts with their pricing games.  I ordered 3 books on Amazon:

1 of: One Lucky Vampire: An Argeneau Novel, Lynsay Sands  PRICE: $4.98
1 of: Hunter’s Heart: An Alpha Pack Novel, J.D. Tyler PRICE: $4.69
1 of: The Vampire With the Dragon Tattoo, Kerrelyn Sparks PRICE: $4.88

Look at those 3 books on Amazon today and all are $7.99.  Next week they might be $7.19 or $6.88 or some damn thing.  That order stays with Amazon.  But other books, well, what can I say.  I’m getting better pricing on BAM’s site.  Todays books averaged below $5.60, which is less than the 4-for-3 pricing at Amazon.  Normally, it wouldn’t be enough, but with the looming addition of sales tax and the lower price at BAM, the playing field has not just leveled off, it’s tipped to BAM on mass market.

For hardcover and trade paperbacks, Amazon remains very competitive, usually a few cents cheaper or more, not enough to bother about.  But mass markets?  Now that is a different story.  I haven’t been with BAM long enough to know how well they treat customers, but it couldn’t be much worse than Amazon’s horrifying maze of overseas ‘help center’ personnel.  Plus, I can easily drive to the local store and get things fixed fast.  And not with a guy calling himself ‘Alice’.

There is NO question that Amazon had the BEST search feature, the best ‘recommended books’ links, and the best site layout. All huge pluses.  But getting customers annoyed?  Bad decision.  I go to Amazon, use all their resources – then shop the best price – which is sometimes Amazon, and sometimes not.  A year ago I could not have imagined myself doing this.  Now, it’s like Amazon challenged me, and I’ve taken up the challenge and started looking at pricing.  And why not?  “The Most Customer-centric” company in the world, isn’t anymore.  So if Amazon wants to play games with its customers, I’ll play – and screw customer loyalty, something they had for years.  Phffffit!  Gone.

For that $20 a year, I get the same free shipping Amazon offers and the same ‘ship to arrive by release date’ service.  And since Amazon moved to FedEx Smartpost, well, that’s another advantage they gave up.  BAM uses it, so what’s the difference?  Again, the advantage was theirs and Amazon gave it up.

I’m certain my little personal war has zero impact on a company like Amazon, but it reminds me of the Ebay hubris that has been their undoing.  A place that I hunted and bid and bought from for years and I barely visit the website.  Why?  The smaller players on which Ebay built its business got screwed.  Well, guess what, they screwed the buyers too because they drove away the very sellers I usually bought from.  Half.com, their used book site, is about the only place I bother with.  Again and again, companies, especially tech based ones, lose sight of what customers want.  And slowly, the business morphs into something the original people who made the company a success leave.  I’ve seen this with other online sites – Trip Advisor being one.

In 2004 I took a trip to Costa Rica with a friend and her 2 teen daughters (now college graduates and working).  I used Trip Advisor and its forums to help me find hotels and restaurants and places to see.  The content was driven by travelers, not chamber of commerce or travel companies.  Now – Trip Advisor is owned by the same folks who own Hotels.com and Expedia.  It’s chock full of advertising, has Traveler Articles that have been rewritten till all those little warning that are so damn helpful have gone.  Now restaurants, small businesses, and B&B’s BUY reviews to get their ratings up.  And TA’s vaunted algorithm that supposedly detects these fake reviews, fails.  It’s so rampant, you can’t come CLOSE to relying on them.  Now a competitor is starting up with VERIFIED reviews, like Amazon’s ‘Verified purchase’ logo, where there is PROOF the person stayed or ate or visited the attraction!  Chowhound and Yelp! give them some competition, but like Amazon, they remain the big dog on the block.  It’s like those Harriet Klauser reviews on Amazon, don’t believe it unless you can see a pattern of long use by the reviewer.  And ‘one and done’ should be ignored – and allow me to just say, I am a former Destination Expert so I feel I can speak to these issues.  And I’m ‘former’ because of the rampant commercialism.  And the site moderators are not only capacious and arbitrary, but dumb as a stump too – and I think I just insulted the stump.

All things change and nothing changes quite like internet based businesses.  They come, they dominate, they dwindle.  Amazon hasn’t meet a real contender, but then I’m sure Microsoft believed they never would either.  So did Yahoo.  Amazon will change, and keep changing, until, like Ebay, one day they look around and realize a big chunk of their core business and the customers it brought in are gone, baby, gone.  The moment you send customers looking for cheaper alternatives, you’ve lost.  Ask Barnes and Nobel.  Ask Borders.  Oh, wait, Borders Books is gone and B&N is closing stores all over the place.  But BAM, now they can laugh all the way to the bank with what USED to be Amazon’s money!

March 28, 2013

Amazon Buys GoodReads

Filed under: Editorial — toursbooks @ 9:54 pm
Tags: , ,

I’m not that active on GoodReads, not like a lot of folks.  I am however, a member and have been for sometime.  I was depressed and slightly disgusted to see Amazon has bought the company for an undisclosed price.  See the Forbes article here.

GoodReads was a haven for hardcore reads of all stripe, whatever your genre, from smut (Romantica, chick porn, whatever), to mystery, to paranormal, to fantasy, to romance, to non-fiction of all kinds.  There were groups that discussed books, reviews by readers, author chats – hey, nothing better than authors talking about writing.

I’m over my smut cycle, with a few exceptions, in large part due to the recent concentration on male/male, and BDSM, neither of which do anything for me.  So, I’m mostly sticking with mysteries, UF, paranormal, and the occasional romance – usually of the paranormal type.

I’m also giving BAM! a shot, but that’s a separate post.  Since everything there is pre-order, we’ll see how it works out.  In the meantime, I have to wonder if Amazon will once again force ALL buying links to their website now that they own GoodReads.  Seriously, Amazon is starting to really get on my nerves.  the volatile pricing games – buy in advance and pray we discount before it comes – and their arrogant domination of all things books is grating.  Yes, I respect the vision of Jeff Bezos, but I am a great believer in a healthy competitive market.  Publishers owned it for decades, holding booksellers by the short and curlies, now Amazon is doing that to the publishers and they hate the shoe being on the other foot.  But who will grab Amazon by the corporate gonads and twist?  If nothing else, it’s proving once again, single company domination is NOT healthy for the consumer.

March 1, 2013

Amazon’s Newest Marketing Ploy – Random Discounts

Filed under: Editorial,On Order,opinion — toursbooks @ 4:01 am
Tags: ,

Well, I guess we know what is taking the place of Amazon’s 4-for-3, a bizarre and apparently random pattern of discounts, mostly on mass market paperbacks (MMPB).  There are a few trade books affected, but they seem few and far between.

In the past week I reviewed my open orders on Amazon and cancelled those books that weren’t high on my want list.  Time to strip down this insanely large TBR pile.  Why?  I noticed some of the 4-for-3 discounts on pre-order were getting odd discounts that made 1 book cheap and the others more expensive.  Thing is, the others weren’t that high on my book lust list.

In perusing books I found prices within a genre and general release date priced anywhere from full list to as little as $4.69 for a $7.99 book.  I bought 3 in the $4-5 range.  Some in the low $6 range – a little more than the 4-for-3 rate, and ignored those with 5-10% discounts.  Was there are consistency in the rate, % off off?  None at all.

Go take a look.  There are some great buys, but what this means and how long will the hold the price. who knows?  It’s always been a crap shoot on the trade sizes, but now MMPB seems to be kind of a big hit or complete miss.  I honestly don’t know what to make of it all.  Books that were full price last week have 15% to 39% discounts this week, others have 3% to 10%, many none at all.  Are we expected to order and hope the Amazon ‘lowest price’ guarantee will mean we get a bargain by the time the book is published?  I’m not sure I like that whole ‘blind faith’ thing.  Or do we constantly check our wishlists to see if discounts are happening on titles we want?

Oh, as an added twist – there are also deep discounts on Kindle ebooks too, some as low as $2.99 on $7.99 list and $4.62 print price books in pre-order!!!!!!!!  I find the whole thing confusing.  I feel like it’s some game that I don’t have the rule book for – and truthfully, it’s a bit of a turn off.  Yeah, I’ll take advantage for a 30% or more discount on MMPBs, who wouldn’t?  But to be honest, I think I’d like a consistent policy on discounts over random ones that come and go.  And I sure don’t have enough faith in Amazon’s continuing the deep discounts to pre-order a large number of books and sit around hoping they get the benefit of a price cut somewhere along the way.

So I guess it’s time for me to watch, wait and snag some great buys as they pop up on the site.  And wonder how long THIS marketing ploy will last.

February 22, 2013

An Interesting Note on Kindle e-Books

Filed under: ebooks,Editorial — toursbooks @ 8:14 pm
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I saw this do a fly-by earlier this week in some news outlet.  Amazon has filed a patent for creating a kind ‘used e-book’ market for their Kindle e-books.  See the article here.

I find it interesting that unlike most digital content, Amazon NEVER surrenders their rights to your ebooks.  I can sell or give away almost anything under digital material, especially games and movies, but NOT Kindle books.  Oh, you can ‘loan’ them out thru an an Amazon controlled system, but you can’t give them away.  Now if I buy a book and find I don’t care for it, I can pass it on to my neighbor who like that kind of thing, or ship it and let my brother and SIL who decide if they like it, or just give it to Goodwill for sale. But not Kindle e-books.  I can’t ‘give’ it away.  I certainly can’t sell.  The only thing I can do is ‘loan’ it for 2 weeks to someone with a Kindle or Kindle PC/mac/phone app.

OK, I guess I can see some of that, at least about the selling, but why can’t I give it away?  No, my brother and SIL have no interest in e-readers or laptops and like me, find print books easier on the eyes, but I guess it’s the principle of the thing.  You don’t really ‘own’ an Amazon Kindle e-book, you acquire a long term lease where all the rights are theirs and you ………… well, no, you don’t really have any.  You bought the right to read the book, you didn’t really buy the ‘book’, the content itself like you would buy a software package.  It’s kind of like a museum, you can see it, but you’ll never really own it.  And they CAN take it away.

So, let’s see if Amazon sets up a ‘used’ e-book marketplace for Kindle books and then let’s see how many takers there are.  Amazon is getting as good as a soap opera – we just need a JR Ewing to make it really interesting!

April 12, 2009

Amazon Alert – De-Ranking some erotic romance

Filed under: Editorial,General — toursbooks @ 4:12 pm
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The ladies at Dear Author have once again brought to romance reader’s attention a serious issue with Amazon – the system wide de-ranking of erotic romance books with certain ‘adult content’.  Their thread explains it all.  Just click here

I have sent an email to Amazon on this subject and the complete lack of common sense around their decision.  Here is the text of that email sent:

To:  erc@amazon.com

Dear Customer Service

As a long time Amazon customer, and a damn good one, I was shocked to find out that Amazon is systematically de-ranking books it deems to have too much ‘adult content’.  All I can say is, HUH?  Let me see if I have this logic right.  Ménage books are OK, even ones with abusive or coercive (dubious consent) elements in them are OK.  Sadistic killers with disturbing sexual dysfunctions that whack off watching people die (read the opening chapter of Lora Leigh’s Maverick), those are OK.  Books that have vampires, werewolves and demons having all kinds of sex with females – human or not – they’re OK.  But Brokeback Mountain isn’t? (more…)

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