15 December 2017
What will it be like doing business with Amazon Australia?
by Amanda Greenslade



Here at Australian Ebook Publisher, we've been doing business with Amazon for six years, and we are glad to see them finally opening a physical presence in Australia. However, you might be wondering what the situation has been for the past six years.

We sell books in print and ebook formats through Amazon. The ebooks have been on Amazon's Australian (Amazon.com.au) site since 2013 whereas, until now, the printed books would have to be ordered from Amazon.com (their USA site). This distinction hasn't necessarily been clear to buyers because, ultimately, they could go to Amazon.com and order products. It may have cost more though, and taken longer to reach Australia because it was actually an order through the US-based site.

So the new Amazon.com.au now has physical products, not just ebooks. The supply of printed books within Australia that are sold through Amazon.com.au is handled by Amazon's subsidiary Book Depository (which it acquired in 2011). 

So, what has it been like doing business with Amazon?
Amazon makes payments to us regularly for our book and ebook sales from the various marketplaces where our customers' books are selling. Amazon have always been helpful and courteous to us, as ebook developers, when we have enquired about a display issue with one of our ebooks or any other matters to do with ebook distribution on their ebook publishing platform. 

Compared to all other booksellers and ebook vendors, Amazon is the most important as it represents the most sales. It gives publishers and authors access to the biggest market. It does not always pay the best percentages--Apple and Kobo pay Australian eBook Publisher 70% of the net sale price for all ebook sales, whereas Amazon only pays 70% from certain marketplaces (mostly the major Western ones) and with ebooks priced between AUD$2.99-11.99. All other sales of ebooks through Amazon earn just 35% of the net sale price. 

Amazon exerts its control over the pricing of ebooks by limiting the opportunity to earn 70% net receipts to those books priced between AUD$2.99-11.99 (USD$1.99-9.99). With the sheer sales volume and reach of Amazon, however, it is no surprise they have a lot of power in the bookselling industry. 

Amazon provides daily sales data that we can look into at any time, and monthly sales reports we can parse in our royalties dashboard (which our clients can log into). 

Amazon is less picky than some other ebook vendors about the types of content it allows for sale. Its rules about what counts as explicit (18+) ebooks, for example, are more flexible than Apple's. There are some ebooks that we have been able to release on Amazon that Apple simply will not allow for sale due to excessive vulgarity. In self-publishing, we get to work on many varied kinds of publications, and it is in our interests to have a bit more freedom of expression, so our authors can have their say without fear of censorship. Amazon appears to have a healthy appetite for the unconventional. 

Many an independent author has made significant dough through 1) writing a book that people want and 2) using wise book marketing on Amazon, and other online booksellers. 

What will it be like now?
Now that Amazon has added a physical presence (distribution centre, warehouse and/or office) in Australia, we expect the online bookselling and ebook business to grow in leaps and bounds. There is no doubt about it now, Australia and Amazon are the hottest couple in town. It remains to be seen who will benefit the most from this arrangement, but authors will be among the first to enjoy a surge in the use of Amazon by Australian readers. 

It follows that self-publishing companies like Australian eBook Publisher and PublishMyBook.Online (our more print-centric arm) are also going to be winners. We are positioned to offer you the best way to handle Amazon, no matter if you're a business person, an independent author or a publisher. One of our best customers is Scholastic Australia and, even for them, Amazon is an important platform for sales of their ebooks. 

Whether you like it or not, Amazon is important to all publishing businesses. Profit or no, Amazon is getting it right in principle. By 'it' I mean the method of enabling readers to find and purchase what they want, and have it delivered to them. This applies to other kinds of products as well. In the coming years, as drone delivery rolls out, we will see Amazon become the go-to place for deliveries and I have no doubt that this company will eventually become profitable. 

Everybody in Australia knows that Amazon is the place to be. If you've got products to sell, get them onto Amazon. It's not going to ruin retail unless retail fails to utilise Amazon in much the same way they've utilised Ebay. 

Our access to Amazon Australia to sell printed books will only improve from here, and readers will be able to get cheaper books faster. There's no stopping this train, so why not do what Australian eBook Publisher has done and jump on the Amazon band-wagon?

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"I have really appreciated your support with my book, Amanda. I'm sure your other clients are of the same opinion. Quality professionalism is never in over supply, neither is generosity of spirit. You have both."—Henry Grossek, radio announcer and author of Game On: Building the Education Revolution

"Thank you, Australian eBook Publisher. I am delighted with the quality of the print edition of my novel, Beast-speaker. The service that Amanda and her team provide is exceptional: friendly, helpful and everything is delivered within the promised time-frame. The print on demand package is easy and affordable, and I highly recommend it to anyone considering publishing with Australian eBook Publisher, Greenslade Creations."—W. A. Noble, author of Beast-speaker

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