Print on Demand pricing

One thing I’ve noticed in my brief experience with Print on Demand publishing: Amazon seems to vary its pricing constantly.  The list price of the book (set by my publisher) is $15.99.  When I bought the book from Amazon last Saturday, it cost me about $15.50.  When it arrived on Wednesday, I checked, and Amazon was charging $12.89.  Today they’re charging $14.39.  Meanwhile other vendors (available via Amazon) are charging from $12.04 to $13.55 (plus $3.99 shipping and handling).  Barnes & Noble is charging $12.89.  It’s entirely possible that I’m the only one who has bought the book so far, and that is somehow making Amazon decide to raise its price.  Come on, people!

Every vendor is claiming that the book is “in stock.”  What that means in this context, I suppose, is that they have access to the book via Lightning Source, the book manufacturer.  They obviously don’t have the physical book on their shelves.

By the way, the unit cost my publisher will charge me is $5.77 per book, plus shipping and handling.  The cost to me for a carton (24 books) comes out to $7.77 per book.

I was sorta hoping the book would be available via Paige M. Gutenborg, the POD machine at Harvard Bookstore in Cambridge. Alas, she only seems to handle books from Google Books. Here’s what Paige looks like:

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2 thoughts on “Print on Demand pricing

  1. Thanks for posting that photo! I’ve never seen a POD local unit like that.
    Do you think that Amazon might be shifting the price to match other retailers as they do with self-published ebooks?

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    • Yes, they must run some kind of algorithm that’s based on competitors’s pricing and (probably) sales. One difference from ebooks is that I get my royalty based on the retail price, not the discounted price. So it’s fine with me if they discount my book as much as they like.

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