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I have a book published by Kindle Direct Publishing. Most of my sales are to bookstores and up until now I have been ordering books (author copies) from KDP then shipping them to bookstores myself. Is it considered bad form (from the bookstore's point of view) to have the books shipped direct from KDP? To be specific, books shipped from KDP come in Amazon-branded boxes and I know many stores have a rather poor opinion of Amazon. Would having my books arrive in Amazon-branded boxes reflect poorly on me (and potentially harm sales)?

  • If you are selling primarily through bookstores, have you considered finding a printing house to do short print runs? By the time you give Amazon 30% of your royalties, you may find short print runs are cheaper. You'd have to do the math. Printing houses will be used to shipping direct to distributors. – GGx - Reinstate Monica Cellio May 10 '19 at 7:53
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You may be in breach of contract if you sell your books anywhere but Amazon.

I'm not having much luck finding definitely contract information about this but one source states:

As part of the exclusivity agreement, you cannot sell titles listed in Amazon’s KDP Select program on the other marketplaces. But if you don’t participate in KDP Select, this is a good way to market to more readers.

It also appears that Amazon has gone from it being difficult for bookstores to order direct (via Ingrams) to basically impossible.

From: "http://Amazon.com"
Subject: Your Amazon KDP Inquiry
Date: January 24, 2019 at 10:06:53 PM CST

"From your email I understand you want to know how can your vendors order wholesale copies of your book …

Unfortunately in KDP does not offer CreateSpace Direct as a distribution option so that copies of your book can be ordered at wholesale price. They will have to now place order for your books from Amazon at the price list on Amazon."

So your options are to have the bookstore place their own wholesale order through a distributor like Ingrams or for you to do what you suggest, buy author copies and send them to the bookstore.

It's unclear if your books will even be in the distributor catalog, but it's worth checking. This is the best option. Completely above board and what most bookstores prefer.

For you to buy and ship books means double shipping fees (if you aren't local to the store) and it's unclear if it's allowed by your contract. If you ship the books directly to the store you avoid double shipping fees but it may not be allowed.

I don't understand why you're asking about the Amazon-branded boxes. If the bookstore wants copies of your book in this way, they won't care what boxes they come in. If you're sending them on spec, well, it's a waste of your money.

  • Just to clarify, I'm not using Select so there are no contractual issues. I'm ordering author copies and sending them to bookshops and handling all billing, etc. What I'd like to be doing is ordering author copies with the shipping address being the bookshop (I haven't seen anything stating that this is disallowed). As far as expanded distribution goes (e.g. Ingram), those sales are basically nil for me so thus not a concern. – Alex Hajnal May 10 '19 at 5:29
  • @AlexHajnal ask the bookstores. Why pay double shipping if you don't have to? – Cyn says make Monica whole May 10 '19 at 5:39
  • Yea, double shipping (cost + latency) is what I'd like to avoid. Not sure how I'd go about asking the bookstores what their view is since the crux of the matter is that I'm concerned that having stores know I'm using Amazon for printing could harm sales. – Alex Hajnal May 10 '19 at 5:51

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