homepage Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from
register, free tools, login, search, pro membership, help, library, announcements, recent posts, open posts,
Become a Pro Member

Home / Forums Index / WebmasterWorld / Ecommerce
Forum Library, Charter, Moderators: buckworks

Ecommerce Forum

Selling on Amazon.com - better to have a low or a high qty available?

 10:43 pm on Jul 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

I've started to sell my friend's books (meaning two books that he has written and had published) on Amazon.com for him. Since he has 100% control over the legal new inventory, we are the only people who can sell them as "new" on Amazon - everyone else had to get their books though him.

There are two books for sale, one is $59 and the other is $79 (I won't go into details) and are more expensive than most of the other books (but all of the others are being sold as "used").

Amazon makes me put a quantity in our "inventory" with our sales page. Which do you think would be better for sales:

A low quantity - this would show that we don't have many left so we would get the impulse buyers plus it would go more along with the other sellers who generally have 1-2 in stock. My friend is worried that people may think that these are older books just collecting dust and we are trying to push out old inventory (books have a published date of 1999 and 2005).

A high inventory - this would show that we do have a large number on hand to sell (which we do) and are serious sellers plus it would give the impression that we have a fresh supply of new books that haven't been poked around, read, played with, on some shelf. My fear is that people would think that we are exaggerating our inventory, trying to flood the market, or wonder why we're charging so much (if you have so many, you'd sell more with lower prices when in reality his profit margin on the books is pretty low to begin with so).

A low inventory would be between 1 and 10 books, maybe not a round number (2-4?) and just update the inventory as they sold.

A higher number would be in the hundreds (200-300).

Which do you think would get more buyers?



 4:02 am on Jul 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

Neither. Inventory counts are for you, not the customer. I would just put the number you have in stock and let Amazon deduct as they sell.

Is your friend selling to distributors? It is possible sellers are subscribing to a data feed and posting on Amazon with their markup.


 9:24 am on Jul 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

No, he sells directly to the consumer.

And you're right, I could have sworn that I've seen inventory levels on there before. I guess I'll just make it higher then.

Thank you for the response.


 12:34 pm on Jul 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have seen inventory levels too but I would have to explore a little to see exactly where they are displayed.


 2:35 pm on Jul 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

The only inventory levels I recall seeing are amazon's own "order soon - only two in stock - more on the way" type notices, and those used by Marketplace sellers, who tend to list each item separately (there might be three entries of the same book at the same price by the same seller).

Some of what you do will depend on which program you're part of, which I'm not sure of from your post. Does amazon also sell the books themselves, and your copies are in the Marketplace "other buying options" section, or have you added the books to amazon's catalog and sell from the main product page? If the latter, and amazon is doing the shipping, etc., I'd certainly want them to know the real inventory level. If the former, and you're the only "new" seller, my feeling would be that a substantial number of copies would be better. The Marketplace sellers who list items separately are often controlling their inventory that way - they have three copies, list three separate items that are removed from the list as they're sold, so they don't have to worry about overselling. If you're the legitimate source, showing a professional-sized inventory would reflect that. I buy a lot through amazon Marketplace sellers, and if someone lists three or four copies, I assume that's all they have available and that they're not the original source.


 3:24 pm on Jul 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

There are other things to consider -- most of them derived from your account type. I am integrating with Amazon as we speak; they have told me that my listed/shown inventory level will greatly affect my sales. This is because the Buy Nown button distributes orders to sellers based on an algorithm which accounts for availability, turnaround time, customer ratings/order satisfaction, proximity of buyer to seller, etc. Inventory levels, then, are a big part of turnaround time and availability. Please keep in mind that this is for a Merchant@Amazon.com account...


 8:40 pm on Jul 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

Thank you all for the responses.

Beagle - Amazon does not sell the books directly. My friend / the author gets them from the publisher and he sells (mostly) and distributes them accordingly. They are listed on Amazon where you usually see "Available from these sellers" and the "(quantity) new & used" links on the product page.

I am the only "new" seller since all of the other copies had to be purchased from my friend (so it isn't profitable for someone to purchase them just to turn around and "acceptable" to "like new". I have adjusted the quantity of each one to 100 copies (he has more than this but I figured it is a good number to show).

HugeNerd - I have the basic seller account. I do not think there is enough of a demand for these books for it to be reasonable to spend the $40 a month to sell them, just to waive the $0.99 fee. The largest amount of competition I have now is 24 other sellers for one of the books and I am the only one not only selling new books, but the most recent edition (the ones we have are from 2005 and all of the others are either illegal copies from 2000 or much older copies from 1990 / 1981). Being medial (veterinary) books, dating and having up to date information is critical.

The sad thing is that Amazon only has one listing for the vet book (published date 1981) but I have it noted that I am selling the 2005 version.

The other sad thing is that they list the hardcover and softcover versions of the other book. I am the only one selling the soft cover version but I think many of the "hard cover" version sellers are actually selling the soft cover versions.


 11:19 pm on Jul 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

The sad thing is that Amazon only has one listing for the vet book (published date 1981) but I have it noted that I am selling the 2005 version.

Have you brought this to their attention? Every edition/format of the book should have a different ISBN number. Selling multiple editions under one ISBN could mess up a lot of things. For example, if as an associate I wanted to put a link to your 2005 edition on my site, I wouldn't be able to, as it would always resolve to the 1981 edition. I assume they ask for the ISBN when you start selling a book.

This isn't their usual operating procedure. When I do a search for a particular DVD, along with the current version it'll often bring up several defunct editions because someone's selling a copy or two. Any edition that's available for sale - by anyone - on the site should show up. (In fact, it's not unusual for an un-available version to come up in a search.)

[edited by: Beagle at 11:26 pm (utc) on July 29, 2008]


 12:50 am on Jul 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

This is a book they normally wouldn't carry so I don't think they updated their database. I did ask and the only way they'll allow a book (or any item) to be added is to sign up for their merchant pro services.

Basically, they want you to pay $40 a month (even if it for one month) to have them add in something that they are missing. :(


 1:52 pm on Jul 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

This is a book they normally wouldn't carry so I don't think they updated their database. I did ask and the only way they'll allow a book (or any item) to be added is to sign up for their merchant pro services.

While I can see them being obstinant about adding information for low level account holders, it's still in their best interest to have correct and current information. I'd write them an email and drop some of their own buzz words like "customer service," "customer care," "positive experience," and "trusted by the consumer." Make it seem like they are deceiving their customers by not having the correct ISBN and edition information. The whole quick turnaround, high quality, hassle-free service, attention to detail and customer experience shtick is how they promote themselves. Play to their sense of branding...if the problem resides with them and they know it, you have a shot at getting what you want with no addtional cost to you.

Or, get someone with a merchant account to do you a solid and add it to their database. You might even improve your bottom line if they have lower processing fees and will charge you cost...but it would have to be a friend in close proximity for it to work.


 10:45 pm on Jul 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

> Basically, they want you to pay $40 a month

You have nothing to worry about if you are sole distributor or manufacturer of the book. Regardless of whether you pay $40 to have the title added (you'd recoup that expense fast), no one else can compete on pricing. You can not pay based on principle, or suck it up and start earning profits from the added Amazon exposure.

Global Options:
 top home search open messages active posts  

Home / Forums Index / WebmasterWorld / Ecommerce
rss feed

All trademarks and copyrights held by respective owners. Member comments are owned by the poster.
Home ¦ Free Tools ¦ Terms of Service ¦ Privacy Policy ¦ Report Problem ¦ About ¦ Library ¦ Newsletter
WebmasterWorld is a Developer Shed Community owned by Jim Boykin.
© Webmaster World 1996-2014 all rights reserved