Early evidence that Amazon sellers of New & Like New condition textbooks may be targeted in counterfeit crackdown.
Another piece of the puzzle has emerged in the evolving question of possible upcoming Amazon textbook restrictions.
Some sellers got Amazon’s “textbook apocalypse” email. Others (like me) didn’t. The looming question is: Why are some sellers being forced to provide textbook receipts to Amazon, and not others?
(Before reading, you must get the full background on the Amazon email that Amazon sent to some sellers last week. Here’s the full story.)
Major disclaimer: Until Amazon comes clean with a direct answer, all evidence we have is inherently anecdotal. All we can do is piece together clues, not assert any solid proof.
Evidence that Amazon sellers selling new condition textbooks may be prime targets
I heard from an FBA Mastery reader who is an Amazon selling coach, and had surveyed 20 of his bookselling students. One pattern stood out:
- Sellers who had no textbooks listed in new condition in their inventory did not get the email.
- Sellers who did have textbooks listed in new condition got the email 100% of the time.
The survey was only of 20 Amazon sellers, but it fits with everything know so far.
I wanted to get this article up quick, but I was able to get responses from three FBA Mastery readers who received the email and confirmed they too had New condition textbooks listed for sale.
Remember some key points from last week’s article:
- The textbook email was prompted by Amazon cracking down on counterfeit textbooks.
- Last month Amazon began restricting many sellers from listing many books in New or Like New condition.
- Most counterfeits are sold as New.
- Amazon alluded to upcoming restrictions on “certain” textbooks.
- I theorized the restrictions may be condition-based.
Everything fits: Amazon is targeting counterfeit textbooks by going after sellers of New textbooks.
Again, this is 100% anecdotal, but it all fits.
I wanted to disseminate this (again, unconfirmed) possibility quickly because it leads us to something actionable:
The best way to stay off Amazon’s radar and not be targeted is to not sell New or Like New condition textbooks.
At least for now.
Other possible triggers
- Newer sellers
- Feedback score
- A combination of the above
- Sellers of textbooks in Like New condition
If may come to light that selling in New or Like New is not the only trigger, but one thing is for sure: There are triggers, and they’re not random.
What about Like New?
We don’t know, but I personally am advising sellers to pull all listings for Like New condition textbooks as well.
I have to be careful because I don’t want to incite anything that will cost sellers money that may in the end be a false alarm, but my advice is based on this:
As covered, last month many Amazon sellers found they were restricted from listing many New or Like New condition textbooks. Amazon was totally silent on this, and officially denied it was even happening. But it was.
I suspect last week’s email from Amazon was related to these unexpected (and rather random) restrictions.
Because those restrictions were for both New and Like New, we can rightfully suspect Like New condition textbooks may be triggering the Amazon email as well (and put you on Amazon’s radar in the future).
I’ve said for years that Like New condition is a recipe for trouble, courts bad feedback, and should be used only very rarely. So most sellers shouldn’t have many Like New books in their inventory and shouldn’t be affected much by this.
Go into your inventory right now and take stock.
More than ever, jump in the comments
If I wasn’t so rushed to get this article up, I would have surveyed dozens of readers of this site over email to get even more evidence. I was able to get quick responses from three, who confirmed:
- They received the Amazon email.
- They are selling textbooks in New or Like New condition.
This is an example of a riddle we can get close to solving through crowdsourcing the evidence, which we can also accomplish in the comments.
So leave a comment below and let the world know:
If you received the “textbook apocalypse” email, do you have textbooks listed in New or Like New condition?
Let’s see if we can get closer to the truth by sharing our experiences.
So what if upcoming textbook conditions turn out to be condition based?
I’m considering this great news for Amazon booksellers (compared to other possible outocmes).
Most smaller sellers do very little business in New condition textbooks.
One exception is people doing online book arbitrage (buying on Amazon and reselling on Amazon), where New condition books are abundant and can provide the best returns. But moving forward – simply avoiding New and Like New condition is an easy fix.
And then we can all exhale and forget this ever happened.
- Based on the evidence, stay away from all New condition textbooks (for now).
- Relist all your New condition textbooks as Very Good, or hold onto them and wait for the smoke to clear.
PS: Subscribe to my new You Tube channel. Lots of videos coming.
PPS: If you missed my last article, I made a video version of it here.
PPPS: Leave that comment and let us know if you got the email and had New condition textbooks in your inventory.
PPPPS: This screenshot captures the absurdity of most Amazon seller forums, and is the single best and most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen in one: