Anyway, instead of watching TV I was going over some bookkeeping and something kind of interesting popped up. On a reorder basis, that is for our core backlist titles, Amazon.com sold more books for us in December and January than our main graphic novel distributor Diamond Comics Distribution and their bookstore distribution arms Diamond Book Distributors.
Stressing here a couple of things. First, this was for our backlist titles only and does not include new releases. Secondly, Diamond was out of stock on one of our core best sellers, Johnny the Homicidal Maniac until the last week of January.
But, all things being equal, Amazon outsold the entire direct market AND book market combined for two months on our backlist. Why? Well, who knows. But here are a couple of small factoids that contributed to this. First, Diamond did not ship anything in the week before Christmas. This caused kind of a ripple effect and basically put our backlist reorder business to sleep. We had virtually no sales for three weeks through Diamond, our net total for one of those weeks was a scant $8.03.
Secondly, of course, is the fact that Amazon sells to consumers, who were still buying product right up to the day before Christmas and were aggressively buying books the day after Christmas. Diamond, of course, sells to stores and retailers and most of their buying had been done well before those weeks. Lastly, Amazon sells books at a pretty steep discount, so steep that I have used them to stock our gallery store with a couple of titles.
But, still, it's worth noting that a sales channel like Amazon can jump up there and, for a couple of months, be as important if not MORE important than the company that is supposed to be our main partner in the market that is, allegedly, supposed to be our primary market. If that sounded a little snide, it is. The last few months have brought some sobering numbers. for us, number that make me stop and have to seriously consider moving onto to one of those lucrative careers at Home Depot or Taco Bell.
Here is a number, 188. That was the entire direct market preorder for Escape from Dullsville, Andy Ristaino's
newest collection from SLG. The numbers for that book were so low that I had to call Andy and tell him that we could not publish the book. Andy blogged and twittered about his situation, he also sent postcards and previews of his book to the comic shops and retailers on our mailing list, at his own expense. The end result? Amazon preorders for the book in a two week period jumped up to 178 copies, nearly doubling the numbers for the book. His plea to the direct market retailers only managed to raise the orders for his book by another eight copies.
Likewise our new Beachbum Berry book, Remixed, has a preorder number of nearly 800 copies at this point in time, nearly 600 of those 800 copies are going to Amazon. Now, the drink mix book was clearly not something meant for the direct market, but it is interesting that through Amazon we may have discovered the sales channel for our tiki books that might outstrip our distribution to bookstores and libraries.
Saying that the internet has changed the way we think about distribution is really stating the obvious. But we have always looked at Amazon as a sales channel that would compliment our main channels, get books to people who don't live near a good book or comic store. But now we are coming up on a change of attitude here. If Amazon is capable of being our main market, it may change the way we do business altogether.