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Guest Kiran Dellimore

Fresh Ereba: A Collection of Caribbean Bedtime Stories for Children

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Guest Kiran Dellimore

Hello everyone! I have recently published the second edition of my children's book Fresh Ereba: A Collection of Caribbean Bedtime Stories for Children (ISBN-13: 979-8642874554|Also found here on Amazon). Fresh Ereba is an anthology of ten bedtime stories for children told in the style of traditional Caribbean folk tales. In this revised edition several stories have been enriched with dialogue and ten fun educational activities for kids have been added. Fresh Ereba is intended as a storytelling resource for parents and grandparents alike seeking to entertain as well as stimulate the enquiring minds of children aged four to ten years old. It is hoped that this book will promote: 1. More active and frequent (grand)parent-(grand)child interaction through a nightly bedtime storytelling ritual. 2. Passive learning about history, nature and science on the part of the children. 3. Greater appreciation and awareness of Caribbean culture and cuisine by children in the diaspora. More info can be found on my author website. Thank you for your time and consideration.

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Sorry Kiran please feel free to link to your own website. When Amazon allows links to aalbc.com I'll allow links from AALBC to Amazon.

 

 

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I know this has nothing to do with your book @Kiran H. J. Dellimore, but hopefully you and others interested in your ebook, reading this will indulge me.

 

Does Amazon still pay you a royalty for the ebooks you give away for free?

 

Is your eBook currently available on any other platforms (Kobo, Apple, Nook, etc.)?

 

 

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Hi @Troy thanks for the great questions, which are relevant to other authors on AALBC! I am fairly new to Amazon KDP (I only joined back in October 2019) and there is currently no royalty for free ebooks (although you do get royalties if your book is borrowed from KU [Kindle Unlimited] and KOLL [Kindle Owners’ Lending Library]). Free give-aways do count towards your Amazon Best Sellers Rank and are therefore a helpful promotion tool. A requirement of the KDP Select Program is that the e-book must be exclusively available on Amazon Kindle for the 90 day period of enrolment in the program (which is renewable thereafter). So other platforms like Apple iBookstore, Kobo, and Nook are not possible as long as your are enrolled.  However, the paperback version is not bound by this rule. So far the paperback version of my book has been more popular than the e-book, so this arrangement seems to be working out OK for me. Perhaps it is because Fresh Ereba is a children's book and kids are more captivated by something they can touch and feel.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Kiran H. J. Dellimore said:

which are relevant to other authors on AALBC!

 

I agree, which is why I hijacked your post. Hopefully I will make worth your while.

 

Is it possible to promote your book on Amazon without giving it away?

 

Is the idea that giving your book away would ultimately encourage the reader to pay for the ebook, or physical book, down the road?

 

Do you believe giving something away depresses the percieved value of it?

 

Why do you think Amazon encourages authors to give away their entire book rather than just a few chapters?

 

Is your physical book in distribution? If so, please post the ISBN13, I'll add it to the website.

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You are asking all the right questions @Troy! There is another way to promote your book for free on Amazon other than giving it a way for free. Previously, I have used a countdown deal, in which the price of the e-book starts off low, say 99c, and is gradually increased in stages until it returns to the normal price. However, I did not see many sales with the latter approach, while after the free book giveaway I did see a boost in sales, especially of the paperback. For completeness, one can also pay for advertisements on Amazon to promote your book. Although I have not yet tried this out, since I am first exploring unpaid options. As I plan to publish more books in the future I am using Fresh Ereba (ISBN-13: 979-8642874554) as a learning book so that I can better understand how Amazon works. 

 

Your questions speak ultimately to the psychology of book buying. On one hand giving away a book for free encourages buyers to have a lower perceived value for books by creating a norm around cheap or free books, and may discourage them from paying for books in the future. On the flip side most buyers purchase books based on the buying behavior of others, i.e., based on a herd mentality. This makes sense since many books are written by people the buyers do not know, and are of uncertain quality. As a consequence of this most buyers rely on the Amazon Best Sellers rank and reviews by previous buyers to inform their book purchasing decision. Giving a book away for free increases the book's Amazon best sellers rank and the likelihood that your book will be reviewed, which should help in the long run to sell more books. By the way it is important to mention here that the free book give away is only temporary. It is allowed for a maximum of 5 not necessarily consecutive days out of the 90 day enrollment in the KDP Select program.  There are also a couple of other effects at play  on Amazon such as the "30-day cliff" (the first 30 days are the most important for a newly published book on Amazon) and the "also bought" purchasing behavior of customers (the other items purchased along with your book influences whether Amazon will recommend your book to other potential customers in the future) . There are also seasonal factors linked to holidays since more books are sold before long weekends and holiday periods. However, I suspect the main logic of the Amazon algorithm is driven by the herd mentality. 

 

By the way I have previously published my memoir Walking in Footsteps of Promise on Amazon (ISBN-13: 978-0244570392), when I had even less understanding of Amazon. That book has thus far not done nearly as well as Fresh Ereba, despite the fact that it took me 14 years to write it. So that experience spurred me to experiment and to learn as much as I can from blogs of more seasoned writers.

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@Kiran H. J. Dellimore, thanks again for your thoughtful and informative response.

 

I said I would add Fresh Ereba to the website if the book is in distribution.  Unfortunately the book is not in distribution; it is not in the database of America's largest distributor Ingram. In fact the only place the physical book can be found is by going to Amazon and searching direct for it there.  

 

A Google search on the ISBN you provided : https://www.google.com/search?q=979-8642874554 turns up only AALBC (the page with the post you made a few days ago).  All booksellers are most concerned about the ISBN13, as it uniquely identifies a book bringing in all the book's metadata (provided the publisher provides it). Now I do sell books that are not in distribution, but this is a very small percentage of my inventory.  In most cases, when I get an order for a book not in distribution I email the author, they send the book to the customer, and I send the author 50% of the retail price and shipping costs.  

 

Now most readers will search for the book's title https://www.google.com/search?q=Fresh+Ereba which brings up a variety of conflicting information different publication dates, book covers, etc.   Readers could also search on your name, but name and title searches presume that the reader already knows that information in advance -- which means they discovered the book or author in some other manner before running the query. 

 

So how does an author get their book noticed?

 

Amazon encourages authors to give aways their books because it help to get their books noticed.  Amazon used these "free" books they encourage authors to give away, because it bolsters the value of their Nook ebook platform. Amazon attracts subscribers because they provide access to so many free books. Amazon limits this for their benefit not author's.  If you think it through you'll easily conclude why.

 

I was able to find Walking in Footsteps of Promise in distribution and have added it to the website.  It is available for sale now.  But here is the problem with selling  Walking in Footsteps of Promise: First, check out the screen shot from Ingram's database (shown below). You'll see that the book can not be returned once purchased by a bookseller.  This all but guarantees that the book will not be stocked by any bookstore -- especially a physical bookstore.

 

Since the book is in distribution, if someone goes to a physical bookstore, asks the store to order it, the store can do it, but they run into the next problem with the book; and that is the book's 15% discount.  That means the bookseller will clear $2.84 for the sale on this book.  This does not cover the shipping, handling, and insurance to get the book from the distributor to the store.  Now a large bookseller will have shipments coming into the store all the time so the until cost of insuring and shiping the book is offset by being bundled with other books being ordered.  For smaller booksellers this may not be the case.

 

As mentioned AALBC would not stock this book; I would have the distributor "drop ship" this book, but again $2.80 simply does not cover the least expensive way I ship books, which is media mail insured.  Now I could ship the book media mail without insurance which costs $2.80, which means I would break even (make 4 cents) on the sale but incur the risk of the book getting lost in transit. So while this book has distribution, for all practical purposes it really does not.

 

But here is the real kicker.  Ingram has about 500 copies of these book in stock.  What happens if these book do not sell?  Given the terms described, the likelihood of Ingram selling all 500 copies to bookstores does not seem very good.  (*Now of course some Black books may being very well in stores, unbeknownst to me, despite these terms. That seems unlikely -- but I can't know how well all Black books are doing 🙂 )

 

Basically all of these unsold books go back to the publisher and are usually destroyed (maybe remaindered I don't know much about this side of the business), but in any event the authors royalties are adversely impacted.

 

Of course all of this discourages authors from even seeking distribution, which booksellers can not easily sell their books.  All of this encourages authors to go to Amazon to publish print and even exclusively retail their books.

 

Amazon has been brilliant in aligning author, and consumer motivation and behavior to maximize Amazon's own revenue while freezing out potential competitors.  Any perceived benefit by the reader and  author/publisher is purely incidental. 

 

That said, Kiran I would be happy to add Fresh Ereba to the website please complete this form.  I can also complete your author profile page: https://aalbc.com/authors/author.php?author_name=Kiran+H.+J.+Dellimore of you'd be kind enough to complete this form.

 

 

 

Walking in footsteps of promise

 

 

 

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@Troy Thanks for following up so quickly and in such detail. I am very impressed and grateful to you for your detailed response. Your depth of knowledge and experience really shines through in your post. I still have a lot to learn about the book printing and selling business beyond Amazon. 

 

In regards the ISBN for Fresh Ereba, the Google search should have also pulled up the Amazon listing (See screenshot). Fresh Ereba is also published on LuluPress, however, it is pending distribution. So perhaps it will take another month or so for it to show up on Ingram Sparks. 

 

By the way I was honestly unaware of the do not return policy of Ingram. It is likely due to the fact that the book is printed on demand by LuluPress. To the best of my knowledge the book should not be kept in stock, so I am surprised to read that there are 500 in stock. That does seems inconsistent with the print-on-demand concept of Lulu. 

 

I see (now) from the numbers that you have shared that the book distribution channels are not highly effective or profitable. I think this highlights a key challenge (and drawback) for self-published authors. It is hard pretty darn near impossible (and unwise) for brick and mortar stores to stock a non-traditionally published book. This is why Amazon's platform is quite attractive. As you rightly mention Amazon definitely gets their slice of the pie. I don't dispute that. However, I do feel that some authors successfully leverage Amazon's platform and market size (~50% of the print book market) to make money.  

 

Thank you very much for listing Walking in Footsteps of Promise and for being willing to take a risk on Fresh Ereba. I sincerely appreciate the support. I will fill out the form shortly. Thanks @Troy!!

FreshEreba_ISBN.png

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Hi @Troy perhaps it is useful to continue the discussion further for the benefit of all on AALBC. I agree that Amazon and it's dominance of the retail book market has drastically changed the economics of the book publishing business which has adversely impacted small printing presses/publishing houses as well as authors.

 

What are your thoughts on what authors and small publishers can do to combat this?

 

How can authors better support smaller publishers?

 

To be devil's advocate is there perhaps also a way for authors and publishers alike to leverage Amazon's dominance for their benefit? What barriers must be overcome? 

 

Thanks for the lively and informative discussion.

 

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@Kiran H. J. Dellimore, Yes I realize the google search (https://www.google.com/search?q=979-8642874554) should have pulled up Amazon.  The question is why didn't it.  I think the answer is because Amazon would rather people use Amazon to search for books rather than the Google search engine.  

 

On 5/23/2020 at 2:46 PM, Kiran H. J. Dellimore said:

I was honestly unaware of the do not return policy of Ingram.

 

I under that you might not be aware of this.  This is why I'm bringing it up, so that you and other authors are aware.  The terms are set by the publish not Ingram, at least this is what Ingram told me when inquired why all the Amazon published books have such bad terms. 

 

Again Amazon touts their titles as being in distribution while this is technically true, the terms are so bad as to make the books unattractive to booksellers. Amazon surely knows this and are clearly misleading authors, which make them untrustworthy as a business partner.

 

Of course Ingram is not the only distributor.  I also deal with Lushena Books out of chicago, who gives me better terms than Ingram, but Ingram has a much larger inventory and of course they have the software to track and move books.

 

On 5/23/2020 at 2:46 PM, Kiran H. J. Dellimore said:

I am surprised to read that there are 500 in stock.

 

Honestly I was surprised to see that many books in stock (or backorder myself). This is a relatively high number.  Are you aware of any extra demand for Walking in Footsteps of Promise? It is worth  checking with Lulu.  Why so many titles were printed and send to Ingram's warehouses?  If this is indeed a POD book, ask them who pays the printing costs and who is responsible for the returns?

 

kiran2.jpg

 

On 5/23/2020 at 2:46 PM, Kiran H. J. Dellimore said:

However, I do feel that some authors successfully leverage Amazon's platform and market size (~50% of the print book market) to make money.  

 

Yes some absolutely do.  Even some booksellers leverage Amazon's site to make money -- largely because no one knows there site exists and Amazon provides the only venue these websites can make real money.  But the is at the expense of the the collective benefit of the entire book economy -- especially the Black book economy.  (you wrote that Amazon has approximately 50% of the entire print book market, for Black books the number if probably closer to 90%)

 

 

23 hours ago, Kiran H. J. Dellimore said:

What are your thoughts on what authors and small publishers can do to combat this?

 

Simple, we all have to stop using Amazon.  Reader will have to leave Amazon too because they will have to go to where the books are being sold.  The pandemic has made it clear that there are indeed people willing to support independent booksellers.

 

23 hours ago, Kiran H. J. Dellimore said:

To be devil's advocate is there perhaps also a way for authors and publishers alike to leverage Amazon's dominance for their benefit?

 

No, I do not believe this can be done. Nothing short of a boycott will make a difference.  

 

I understand that consider the prospect of boycotting Amazon scary -- especially for authors who have published and now sell exclusively through Amazon.  Look even major publishers cower under Amazon's power.

 

But again, nothing short of us not using Amazon will make a difference.  So either you want an Amazon to be the only company who can sell Black books or you don't.  The loss of physical and even web based booksellers is incalculable.

 

 

  

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Thanks @Troy for sharing your wealth of knowledge. Much appreciated 😃! I have learned a lot in this brief exchange. You certainly have very visionary ideas. I hope that they can help to change book the publishing industry one day. 

On 5/25/2020 at 9:36 PM, Troy said:

So either you want an Amazon to be the only company who can sell Black books or you don't.  The loss of physical and even web based booksellers is incalculable.

Definitely agree. However, despite Amazon's behemoth size I don't think they can shut out independent Black book sellers completely. 

 

On 5/25/2020 at 9:36 PM, Troy said:

Nothing short of a boycott will make a difference.

This will be scary and hard. Many authors will lose money by doing this. Perhaps it will take some of the biggest names in Black books today to lead the way. Like: Alice Walker, Yaa Gyasi (btw her book Homegoing was a great read!), Ta-Nehesi Coates, Michelle Alexander, Walter Moseley etc. Do you think they can be brought on board?

 

I also saw your post about this thread on the AALBC Facebook fanpage. I guess any publicity is better than no publicity 🙃!

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