Selling Boatloads Of Books

This (hopefully temporary) Amazon pricing glitch is a fine excuse to revist some thoughts about publishing and selling books. The connection is that the higher prices, about two dollar per book on average, haven't shown any tremendous impact on my Amazon sales yet, while direct mail order sales have picked up since I'm now the cheaper source. The problem is, I don't price my books based on an analysis of what the market will bear, I just go with the price I'd be happy paying for a similar book. I'm less concerned with the sales total than I am with having control over my happy price. Apparently, I'm pretty happy at $14.95, though I'm hoping to convince myself that I deserve better:-)

I just got around to sorting through a boatload of junk mail, and it included a flyer titled "Sell Books By The Truckload". The telephone seminar was scheduled for a couple weeks ago, so it looks like I missed out on becoming a millionaire, but the flyer itself was interesting. The pitch seems to imply that ANY self publisher can sell huge quantities of books to corporations who will give them away to employees. There's even a line about raising money for charities by forming some sort of alliance.

Here's the problem I have with it. I don't want to sell books by the anything-load. As much as I enjoy earning a living writing, giving corporations a cheap employee perk is not a personal goal of mine. Perhaps if I wrote motivational or feel good type books, I'd be happy to get them out there under any circumstance, and who cares if 95% of them end up in the company recycling bins without leaving the building. I can just picture a major corporation holding their annual company wide meeting (close circuit TV and Internet video), and the president speaking:

"And so, in lieu of a bonus this Christmas, we're giving you all free copies of Morris Rosenthal's book, 'How to feel good about earning less.' It's actually a book about self employment, and we thought it would help you review your career options over this holiday season. Since we purchased the book in large quantity, we earned the option to add our own subtitle, namely, 'The option is to earn nothing and lose your house.' Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all."

Some publishers make a living selling boatloads of phone books, it's just not for me. I know there are some literary publishers out there who look at my how-to titles as phone books, so I don't mean it as a put-down. I'm just pointing out that if your goal in publishing is more getting by than getting rich, there's no need to sell out at the first opportunity.

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