U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: Beware of Amazon.com

Re: Beware of Amazon.com

Wow, so I went online Amazon and checked...

Yeah, my Tutti Nudi, an essentially $14 book is $65 (!)

So from the self-publishing standpoint, here are my thoughts (Tutti is not
self published).

I, too, like Thom below, buy many books from Amazon and really appreciate
their usual prices and their free shipping on orders over a certain price
AND I get the books immediately. But I can't believe they charge 60%. I
would have to raise the price of my books if I sold there.

I suffer from PhotoEye carrying my books and taking a 40% profit which
essentially makes me profit not even $5 a book. AND to top that one, they
now make us pay shipping to them AND we are not allowed to ask for payment
except once every 6 months. I only carry them there for exposure.

Experimental is $43 and Alt is $38.50 on Amazon I see--(both the latter are
available for $38 which includes shipping
in the U.S. on alternativephotography.com). But a plug for Petra Keller at
Camerabooks.com who is the seller--the only reason she has the latter two at
a bit inflated price is to
actually make a profit since Amazon charges so much.

I don't know who the heck is selling Tutti Nudi at $65--certainly not her!

So basically if people want my books I direct them to two places--Malin
Fabbri's website first, because it is Paypal and she is so efficient and
nice. I even prefer going through her than selling the book out of my own
house even though I pay her a percentage because I believe in her website.

Plus she is so nice and efficient and Paypal is hassle free! AND I
mail my books flat rate out to all over the world because her website is
global--expensive postage but incredibly efficient (except lately I have
found it to
take about 3 weeks to get to even Europe).

And next, Freestyle has both my books in their catalog and they are a total
joy to work with--they order 10 or 20 at a time, pay for shipping, and PAY
me in full Net30. Plus they have a 5000 catalog distribution a month.

The downside to self-publishing as I bet Judy can attest--big bucks out at
the offset, a lot of legwork for little money, and sometimes snafus--the
shipment of Alt I picked up yesterday has all color images in it collated
wrong....back to the printer.
----- Original Message ----- From: "Thom Mitchell" <tjmitch@ix.netcom.com>
To: <alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca>
Sent: Friday, September 07, 2007 1:33 PM
Subject: Re: Beware of Amazon.com

Think of Amazon as a Mall with lots of little stores. Whenever you see a
seller, usually labeled Amazon marketplace or just sellers, it isn't from

For example William Crawford's Keeper's of Light is out of print but
available on Amazon from other sellers.
This is much like the Ebay buy it now feature. Any seller can name any
price. It's the ultimate demonstration of caveat emptor.
Amazon is just a business - whose pricing and interactions are fairly
public unlike many other businesses. Like any business there are pros and
cons. 20 Years ago if you wanted an out-of-print book and didn't live in
NYC or Chicago - it was very difficult to get and involved many hours on
the telephone. Now you can quickly search and find most anything between
Amazon, Abe, bookfinder.com and Alibris.
Amazon is a big business but so was Kodak (not so big anymore). They
aren't a charity or a non-profit (although they didn't turn a profit for a
long time) so they can charge what they want in a free marketplace. I use
them as well as other bookstores. I find my transactions with them are
straight-forward, error-free, and consistent. I also support my local
bookstores but the local bookstore inventory is by necessity limited
whereas Amazon can aggregate it's own, and it's marketplace sellers into a
limitless selection.

Just my 3 cents worth. -thom

Judy Seigel wrote:
Some months ago, a colleague e-mailed to tell me that Amazon.com was
charging $150 for, I think it was Reilly's book of Albumen & Salted Paper

Absurd of course, so could I suggest some other source? I figured it was
simply an overblown estimate of value of an out-of-print book you could
download for free (I heard) from University of something in California.
Or find for $20 on Abe Books.

But today, speaking with my friend, publisher of Midmarch Press (small
press that umbrella-ed Post-Factory, among others), I learn that Amazon
is charging $150 for Midmarch's most recent book, which is actually
priced at $25 (deliberately low, so artists can afford it). She learned
this from the book's editor, who called, distraught, because a friend of
*hers* had tried to buy it and been quoted that price.

It seems that Amazon is like E-bay that Ryuji can't reach -- Cynthia (the
publisher) cannot get to speak to any person at Amazon, they ignore her
e-mails, and don't take phone calls, or surface mail.  She told her
friend the obvious, send a check for $25 to Midmarch, 300 Riverside Dr,
NYC 10025 (as I've mentioned on this list before, it's always preferable
to buy direct from author or small press as Amazon takes a 60% cut -- you
heard me, SIXTY PERCENT, plus publisher's cost to ship to them)...

But I wonder how many more such cases exist, whether it's a mere computer
glitch, or intentional. (How Amazon treats small publishers is anyway
outrageous... I'd bet the farm they don't treat large publishers that
badly. They get away with it because people are lazy...Don't want to
think or move their butt -- just order it on Amazon.)

This particular book by the way, is especially interesting to me and one
I intend to buy (and pay full price for!) myself... I've been asked so
many times about "The Club" (in part no doubt because there are panels
and snippets of its history in my own "Mutiny and the Main Stream" and
probably also because I've heard so much about it from, for instance,
Cynthia, whose late husband was also one of the founders, as I believe
was Harold Rosenberg). It's a memoir (title: "Club without Walls") from
the notes of the late Philip Pavia, another founder & longtime Club
secretary, edited by his wife, Natalie Edgar...

Meetings were on 10th street, ending at the Cedar Tavern, also in this
general neighborhood... Another spot for tourist groups to stand in front
of and listen to lectures of loosely related facts, tho my real estate
tax will feel it anyway. ... I don't remember but heard about the days
when you could get a nice studio on 10th Street for $20 or $30/month.
(You will I trust excuse the mention...  No communication from these
parts can go out by land sea or air without mention of real estate. It's
the law.)

But lest my point get lost:  beware of Amazon. com.  They're out of

love & kisses,