Here are some simple facts, no speculation, no guessing, just simple facts that I can personally attest to.

I have two POD books, Wednesday’s Child and The Portal, listed on Amazon.  As I noted earlier, Amazon adds $3.00 to the price of each book which represents pure profit for them.  I set the price at $11.00 per book but Amazon lists them at $14.00.

Okay, so you want my books, you find them, you look at the price and not unreasonably ask yourself if they’re worth $28.00.  At least you qualify for free shipping since your order exceeds $25.00.  But wait — POD books don’t qualify for supersaver shipping.  Well, you think, I’m not happy about paying for shipping, but after all, they’re printing the books on demand for me and they have their own shipping and handling costs.  So it’s going to cost me an additional $4.00 to ship each book.  That’s a total of $36.00.  Just between you and me, I like my books a lot but I wouldn’t pay $36.00 for them.

So let’s look at how they got to be so expensive.  It turns out that Amazon doesn’t either print or ship them.  They pass the order on to my publishing agent, BookBrewer, which does all the work including packaging and shipping.  What if I contacted BookBrewer directly?  Oh, look, there are sales links on their website.  The price there is only $11.00 per book, and I can put both books in one cart.  That’s really good because BookBrewer only charges $2.99 plus $1.00 per book for shipping.  For two books, that’s $4.99 instead of $8.00.  Let’s see, that’s $11.00 + $11.00 + $4.99. Only $26.99.  Looks a lot better than $36.00.  More than 33% better.

Now suppose I had six grandchildren and I wanted to give both books to each of them for Christmas or Chanukah or Quanzai or just because I like them.  Amazon would charge me $18.00 ($14.00 + $4.00) per book.  That’s twelve books for $216.00!  BookBrewer would charge me $132.00 for the books, and $2.99 + $12.00 for shipping.  That’s only $146.99.

Still not convinced that Amazon is greedy?  They’ve marked up a $146.99 sale by $69.01.  That’s 47%!!!  Just for the privilege of listing on their site.

But wait (as they say on TV)!  If you order now I have a special deal for you.  Amazon just raised the price on my books to $16.15.  Why?  I have no idea.  That adds another $25.80 to the cost of my grandkids’ books, so we’re up to $241.80.  That’s an Amazon upcharge of $94.81, or 64.5%.  And my original purchase of two books? They’re now $40.30, 49.4% more than BookBrewer.

The irony in all this is that they wind up screwing themselves, because not only can I not sell books at that price but they don’t get their markups either.  Now that’s justice.  I guess.