Why is your book so expensive on Amazon.com?

What is the OFFICE_BOOKSHELF connection?

I recently ran across my book being sold on Amazon.com by OFFICE_BOOKSHELF for $29.00 at Amazon.com. The list price is $15.95. A Google search turned up an association with African American Literature Book Club. Another search turned up my book for the same price at Sci-Fi Emporium (recently changed). I even found it at a Star Astrologer web site and Sexual Astrology web site. A search of OFFICE_BOOKSHELF turns up an association with Flying Compass Books. And the list goes on. Most of these sites have a link that says In Association With Amazon.com. This is interesting, to say the least, since my ISBN has not even cleared yet.

An article appearing on Techcrunch accuses that Amazon.com would only sell books from their POD service. The site, on March 27, 2008 said, “Amazon has announced that it will only sell print-on-demand books printed by its own print-on-demand service BookSurge.
“The print-on-demand book business has thrived in the last few years as players such as Lulu, Blurb and others have catered to publishers looking to reduce overhead on inventory. It will be very difficult for anyone to compete with Amazon in the print-on-demand space.
“The decision may also cause book prices to rise with the Wall Street Journal reporting that Amazon BookSurge prices are higher than other print-on-demand providers.” So I, naturally, became curious.

The key is to find out who OFFICE_BOOKSHELF is. There is no corporate address or headquarters listed on the web. WHOIS reveals that the only two of these companies that are linked are, of course, Star Astrologer and Sexual Astrology. They are owned by the same person, but you could tell that by going to the two web sites. The only thing that links these companies and others in my search is OFFICE_BOOKSHELF. I have yet to find anything about this OFFICE_BOOKSHELF. Other authors of print on demand products are asking questions, as well.

Amazon.com, for the record, does not set the prices that they sell on their web site. Those prices are set by the seller. As long as they do not violate Amazon’s terms of service, they can do what they want. Print on demand authors have little control over prices set by bookstores or, especially, on-line sellers. I suggest that, if you find a title that you might be interested in, Google the title and see if you can find it cheaper.

2 Responses to “Why is your book so expensive on Amazon.com?”

  1. Hi Glen…
    I ran across your post because I am investigating this office_bookshelf too… My father in law wrote some books and we published them in Lulu.com. We did the same with a book a friend of mine wrote.
    A couple of days ago we found that all those books are being sold in Amazon.com by this office_bookshelf seller. But we have never received notice from Lulu about sales (right now my lulu account balance is U$0)
    Have you found any other useful information about this that could give us a hint of who is selling our books?


  2. Glen Davis says:

    I did an investigation last year and was going to publish a book about it. Because of computer crashes, blogs and web sites, I haven’t had time. I might just do it soon.

    At any rate, my friend ordered my book through OFFICE_BOOKSHELF and I did receive a commission. The book arrived promptly. I might add that this entity is doing nothing illegal. It is perfectly legal to resell your book for whatever that entity chooses so long as you get a commission. Is it unethical? Not legally, but that is in the eye of the beholder.

    As to who it is? I received no response to my emails to OFFICE_BOOKSHELF through Amazon.com. As I mention in the article, they sell through a host of other sites other than Amazon. However, when I contacted LULU, they shifted my contact email to a special email address and code. I cannot contact them through the normal channel they have at MYLULU.

    What effect does it have? The only concern that I really had was that they put your book up (when you get an ISBN) prior to anyone else getting it, such as Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com and other online resellers. Some are concerned that if people see it at such a high price, it scares them away from buying. When people search, though, they are going to purchase at the least price that they can find. Some are selling it even cheaper than my price on LULU. When you do a search, you book at your LULU bookstore should come up in the same search that reveals OFFICE_BOOKSHELF. That may scare people toward buying from your shop.

    I hope that helps.

    I hope that helps.

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