Identifying Amazon’s Primary Weakness

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If you’ve been writing for any length of time then you’ve been (hopefully) doing some promotion in order to sell your book–or in the absence of sales, get your book read by an audience–then you’ve probably gotten into Amazon. Why else would you write and then publish as an indie unless you want to be read?

I’ve advocated and blogged quite a bit about Createspace and using it as an avenue to getting published for free… I’m still baffled by the services advertising pay-for “publishing packages” etc… but then again, every year there is a new crop of starry-eyed writers hoping to break out as the next great author.

Createspace pushes straight to Amazon and is free; Amazon accounts for about 70% of the sales for indie published books.If you are going to sell online, then you MUST be on Amazon, and there is no easier and more efficient way to do this than to harness the power of Createspace.

So where’s the weakness? What if your goal is to be carried on bookshelves at local or chain bookstores? Here’s the weakness that you will discover: distribution.

But Createspace distributes through Ingram, the largest network there is–Ingram’s got everyone, right? Well, yes… but there is something called Returnability… bookstores can’t sell back any unpurchased stock if it came from Createspace. And there’s the rub… most brick and mortars WILL NOT carry a title without the option to return old stock, thus keeping you off most shelves.

That’s a problem for may… however, there is a way to get your title carried in Ingram AND have returnability… use Ingram Spark. I will talk about that in a future blog–but the take away for this week for my fellow Indies is this: Createspace alone will rarely be sufficient to get your shiny books onto the shelves down the streets, allow you to do book signings and promo events at those places, etc. I’ll blog more about it in the future.

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