Friday, March 23, 2012

What Did Amazon Ever Do For Us?

In the 'Life of Brian' there is a scene where the Jordanian Liberation Front ask the question, 'what ever did the Romans do for us?' We found ourselves asking the same about Amazon and answering with the same overwhelming reality - a lot. There are clearly lessons to be learnt.

Yesterday we were alerted by an email from iBookstore, to the new Jo Nesbo thriller 'Phantom'. We immediately went to Amazon to check availability and pricing for the ebook. We thought we would look at the competitive offer in the UK. The following screen shots from Waterstones, WHSmith, Amazon and the Book Depository. They clearly informed us where to buy the ebook and within seconds its was downloaded.

We don't aim to list the errors or poor presentation issues we saw but clearly there is a huge gap the approach to selling and the perception of what the consumer may want to know. Amazon were the only ones to list all the renditions (ebook,hardback etc) on the same page and link to these individual options. They were the only ones to give us a sample of the book and even a promotional video. They, as you would expect won on price, but also clearly stated the RRP, saving and sale price. There was even disparity between the various offers as to what the ebook RRP actually is, which in the eyes of a consumer may be very confusing. Within seconds we had it downloaded our copy.

The screen shots are below so judge for yourself and ask what would the consumer make of this?

Waterstones seperate offers: Note the higher ebook price and the ebook RRP.

WHSmiths again can't relate to deferent renditions of the same title and discount the ebook but forget to tell us by how much!

The Book Depository don't have ebooks? However there appears to be a problem with their metadata on pricing

Amazon has clear pricing comparison, understands that there are several different renditions and even collects pre sale orders of the paperback! Also they have Search Inside and a promotional video which must be available to all. The consumer still gets confused as to what the ebook RRP actually is!

Finally, if you are still unconvinced have a quick look at the screen shot for the Nesbo title 'Headhunters' at Waterstones and ask which rendition you would buy?


Mark Jones said...

Great comparison!

Book depository does have the ebook on the site, it's just unavailable so not listed in the also available section.

Here's a link to it:

The RRP is £13.99 for the paperback(that you've taken the screen shot from) so the same as on Amazon, so I'm unsure what the metadata problem is?

What I really dislike about the Amazon page is where's the buy button. I rarely go on there and it takes me a while to find it!

but getting as much, clear info about different on the page about the type of book you are selling is important not least because it'll save the company issues later on when people discover they've ordered the incorrect book.



Martyn Daniels said...

WOW i justy saw £13.99 and thought they were having a laugh! £13.99 for a paperback and £16.99 for hardback and i thought it was Macmillan that received the packet of weed !!

Seriously i look at the pricing and was truly gob smacked at the prices, discounts and apparently Headhunters is coming out as a film release this next week!

What i think it shows is just how bad some retailers online offer really is. Like Reg in the Python scene they just fail to grasp reality

Unknown said...

Just to clarify why the ebook is 'out of stock' on The Book Depository. We're not a signature to any 'Agency agreements' so the publisher will not allow us to sell this title in that format.

All the best, Kieron

Martyn Daniels said...

many thanks for the clarification it was a bit confusing but now understand. Is £13.99 the RRP for the paperback as this looks very high? I realise you only post what you are given re RRP but surely at £13.99 the publisher has got it wrong

Unknown said...

Personally I'd plump for the hardback, but yes seems the RRP is at least 'correct'.

Peter C said...

While we are on the subject of multiple formats I did want to put a mention in for as well as listing all the physical formats they can find on a book they also show if there is a ePUb, Kindle, iBook and Google eBook. Just look at any book page and see the 'other formats box' Finally clicking the 'compare book price button' on any book page will find you the price of that specific edition in around a dozen other online book stores. The aim is to give the reader all the choice without having to visit lots of sites.

Martyn Daniels said...

why when the promo video is on YouTube aren't sites using it?

Sari Webb said...

I use Amazon all the time, I just never buy from them. I use them for reviews and 'look inside'. But not being based in the US means Amazon is effectively one of the more expensive online stores I can buy from - postage adds up, and Book Depository will send me my books for free!

David Roche said...

Jordanian Liberation Front? F*** off; it was the People's Front of Judea!