Amazon Advantage vs Amazon Marketplace

Amazon.com has two main selling systems for books, Amazon Advantage and Amazon Marketplace. First, read my descriptions of each one:

Selling Your Book on Amazon's Marketplace
Selling with Amazon Advantage


OK, so a question that many writers have is - Marketplace only charges 15% of the sale price. Advantage charges 55% of the list price. Why would I use one rather than the other?

First, just to be clear, your book or other item MUST have an ISBN or UPC code that is legally registered before it can sell via Amazon. So that is a must have. I explain in my pages how to do that.

Public Perception
When you use the Marketplace you are in essence a "used book seller". Someone else has created the description, the information, the images and so on. You just "ride on their coattails" and say "oh yes I have one too". You aren't shown as a main vendor. You only show up in the "other vendors" page which many people are quite nervous about using. Very few people go through the link to see about "other vendors". They simply buy from the main Amazon link.

A Marketplace entry is like a classified ad. Someone else had to do all the work to create and optimize the entry to make it perfect for sales. You just say "I have one of those" but the item has to already exist in the system.

When you sell with Amazon Advantage you load in the images, you send the physical books to the warehouse, you are now acting like a "publisher". It gives you a LOT of control about what images you present, what text you use to promote the book and so on. This is CRITICAL for a book to sell well. The book needs the absolute perfect images and text to catch the reader's attention.

Shipping
When you use Marketplace you are responsible for all shipping. That might seem fine at first. I do that to offer a signed version of my Weddings books for example, I ship signed copies from my house. However, it means 24 hours a day 7 days a week you must be at home. If you take a vacation for 3 days and someone orders a copy while you're gone, and the book doesn't ship immediately, people get furious. People very much expect instant shipping from Amazon. If you get sick and can't get out of bed for a day or two, it can cause serious problems.

You know what they say about the speed with which bad news travels. You don't want the reviews on your book to be negative grumpy people.

With Amazon Advantage their warehouse has all the items in stock. They ship out immediately. The users are always quite happy. A lot of Amazon clients are now "prime members" meaning they always get items with free 2 day shipping. You can't do that from your house easily.

Volume of Sales
If you're a used book seller, the buyer has to trust YOU as a person, and you are someone they don't know. They are unlikely to order through you even though you're on Amazon. They are far more likely to order from Amazon directly. So even though you theoretically "earn more" by being with Marketplace, you get far fewer sales. Only a tiny number of people buy through the Marketplace, vs the volume that clicks the "buy now" and orders direct from Amazon. So it's a volume game. You get tons of buyers from Amazon directly, and they take a chunk of the money to handle all the processing for you.

Test it Out
It's easy enough to test this out. Make a full entry for your book right in the Amazon system and have copies sent to them to have in their warehouse. Then make a marketplace entry to offer a special signed copy for people. See how many buy it via each method.

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