After 8 years of selling books on
Recently I co-hosted a webinar where an attendee posed a question: If you had a textbook ranked 500,000, selling for a penny in used condition, with no Fulfillment by
There were two other notable people on the webinar: Two huge booksellers doing over a million dollars in
I couldn’t wait to chime in on this, and both hear their responses, and share my own.
I wanted to hear their responses because pricing is both where you stand to make (or lose) the most money, and is also the easiest thing to get totally wrong. I was extremely interested to hear how two
I couldn’t wait to chime in because I was arrogantly confident that I was one of the few FBA sellers who “gets it” when it comes to FBA pricing, and that I was about to teach these
I wasn’t prepared for their response. More on that in a second, but let’s just say my arrogance was about to take a huge hit….
You’ve heard my aggressive textbook pricing strategy a million times.
If you’ve been reading my articles, you’ve heard me pontificate on what I consider an extremely aggressive textbook pricing formula. In the absence of any FBA competition, I have always said: price high. Really high.
How high? Up until last month, this was roughly my formula (excerpted from my article last August on FBA textbook pricing):
“Sales Rank of 1 to 30,000: Price $35 to $50 above the lowest non-FBA offer. Seriously. (I’ve had people pay over $100 more)
Sales Rank of 30,000 to 150,000: Price $30 to $40 above the lowest non-FBA offer.
Sales Rank of 150,000 to 300,000: Price $25 to $35 above lowest non-FBA offer.
Sales Rank of 300,000 to 600,000: Price $15 to $25 above lowest non-FBA offer.
Sales Rank of 600,000 to 900,000: Price $10 to $15 above.”
Like a lot of counter-intuitive advice I advocate, I got a lot of pushback on this from
Of course none of the naysayers had ever actually tried pricing their textbooks this high with Fulfillment by
Before I get to my epiphany, one more thing…
If you’re new to the concept that textbooks follow totally different pricing laws than other books, I have to recap. There are three reasons that, as a Fulfillment by
1) Urgency (people need their second-day shipping), 2)
If you’re really new to this concept, you’ll want to read this article from last August in full. For now, allow me to quote myself, and take my word for it when I say:
“With textbooks, people will pay way, way more for FBA offers than in any other category.”
Now, how did the experts respond to the textbook pricing question?
Back to the webinar.
Before I answered the attendee’s question (“As an FBA seller, how would you price a textbook ranked 500,000 with no FBA competition?“), two things flashed through my mind:
1. “I’m going to show everyone how to really price textbooks.”
2. “Get ready to defend yourself Peter, because even the mega-seller experts are going to fight you on this.”
“I would price it at $25.”
<Pause. Wait for pushback.>
Million-dollar mega-seller #1:
“Probably $35, maybe more.”
Million-dollar mega-seller #2:
And that’s when I realized I’d been doing it all wrong
As much as I thought my textbook pricing formula was “aggressive” and “unorthodox,” when it comes to
Ever smugly thought you were an “expert” and had it all figured out, then the real experts swooped in and put you in your place?
Just like that, the textbook pricing formula I’d practiced (and advocated) for years was obliterated.
What would it mean for your
Few of us are dealing exclusively in textbooks. What about me? Well by now you know if you want to read advice from an
So knowing I can consistently price textbooks on
I knew you could price textbooks outrageously high, but….
For years I had limited my really outrageous pricing (more than $25 higher than the lowest “merchant fulfilled” / non-FBA price) to textbooks with a sales rank of 30,000 or better. Maybe as far up as 150,000, but I felt even that was a stretch.
Pricing a textbook ranked 500,000 like this? I didn’t think it would work. And I never had the courage to try.
So of course, I tested this.
And of course, it worked.
Since launching this test, I’ve sent in one large-ish shipment of textbooks. And yes, I’ve been getting sales at $40 and $50 above the lowest non-FBA offer.
I’m considering all bets off with textbooks
Right now, I’ve wiped the slate clean of all my past assumptions and am considering anything possible. If people will pay $50 more for FBA offers, why not $100? Sounds crazy, but has anyone tried it?
More results from this ongoing textbook pricing experiment forthcoming.
Have some insight? Post in the comments below.
Endnote: On this subject, I’ve been learning about some people operating quietly in the shadows, making tons of money buying textbooks online, flipping them via Fulfillment by
In fact, the more I learn about this, the more I consider that “online textbook arbitrage” might be the greatest unpublicized
So my questions are:
- Do you practice online book arbitrage?
- Will you share your story?
Send me an email at fbamastery [at] gmail.
I understand if your methods are too lucrative to go public with, and all communications will be kept confidential.
More about my experiences with online book arbitrage in a future post. This is going to be good…
Also, claim your free book: