Bookseller exodus? After new FBA fees, evidence
Part III in a four-part series on new Fulfillment By
In this article:
- My evidence that large numbers of sellers have fled selling books on
- Exact figures from 5 books evidencing the drop.
Lots of people have speculated booksellers are fleeing
Before we get to the details, let’s wrap up what we covered in this series on how new FBA fees have changed
- The end of penny merchant fulfilled books.
- The end of $4 FBA offers.
- This is significant for books in the sub-$10 range.
- This means very little for sellers in a higher price range.
Amazonmegasellers’ business model is destroyed.
- Repricing software crisis.
- Megasellers leave the sub-$10 book game.
Last week, I called Zen Arbitrage’s lead developer
As a co-founder of the online book arbitrage tool Zen Arbitrage, I’m privileged to have access to the massive amounts of
I wanted hard evidence that new FBA fees caused a huge exodus of
So I called up Zen Arbitrage’s lead developer and asked: “Do we log the number of sellers for a particular book, going back at least two months?”
We did. He was able to give me the exact number of
To test this, I chose 5 books with more used sellers on
I wanted to see the number of total
To return the most accurate information. I picked five titles you find used copies of everywhere. Books that flood every source of second hand books, and for which there are generally around or over 1,000 used copies for sale on
The books I chose are:
- A Million Little Pieces (Frey)
- Bridges of Madison County (Waller)
- Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (Berendt)
To make the significance of any fluctuations as statistically sound as possible. I chose books with a flood of used copies for sale.
Here’s what I learned:
Book: Million Little Pieces (ISBN: 0307276902)
Total sellers (used) Jan 22nd: 1,274
Total sellers (used) this week: 1,142
A drop of: 10.36%
Book: Bridges of Madison County (ISBN: 044651652X)
Total sellers (used) Jan 22nd: 1,643
Total sellers (used) this week: 1,438
A drop of: 12.48%
Book: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (ISBN: 0679429220)
Total sellers (used) Jan 22nd: 1,288
Total sellers (used) this week: 1,014
A drop of: 21.27%
Book: The Lovely Bones (ISBN: 0316168815)
Total sellers (used) Jan 22nd: 981
Total sellers (used) this week: 895
A drop of: 8.77%
Book: The Chamber (ISBN: 0385424728)
Total sellers (used) Jan 22nd: 1050
Total sellers (used) this week: 912
A drop of: 13.14%
What’s the average drop in sellers over the last two months?
Average across five books: 13.2%
What did we learn from this?
There is a significant difference among these books, with drops from 8% to over 20%. But the sheer quantity of books represented across the five titles provides us with a statistically significant sample.
And from this, we can see a trend indicating that, in the last two months, somewhere in range of 10% of
What does this
To get close to an accurate answer, we’d have to know one very important detail: Is it the megasellers who are leaving? Or the little sellers? Or both?
There’s no way to know. We don’t log the seller’s names at Zen Arbitrage, only how may there are.
By any measure, 10%+ is significant. It means fewer sellers to compete against. Which means prices go up (although probably not noticeably so). And it means these things work in some small part to offset the increased fees.
This 10% is probably just the beginning
It’s only been six weeks since the new
February 22nd was probably only the start date of The Great Purge. New fees are shaking the tree as we speak, and as sellers liquidate their inventory, many will continue to drop out.
I’ll continue to monitor the drop in sellers, and report if I see the drop hit 20%.
For now, enjoy the decrease in competition, and cross your fingers this Darwinian herd-thinning continues.
PS: Did you drop out of the