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Why Amazon Keeps POD Books in Stock?



Last Updated on August 23, 2022 by Ben Oakley

Why Amazon Keeps POD Books in Stock?

Amazon is one of the biggest companies on the planet, so when they have POD books in stock, you know there’s a good reason for it.

Just in case you didn’t know, POD in the publishing world stands for print-on-demand. When a book is ordered through Amazon or IngramSpark, the book is printed and shipped to the customer.

It doesn’t happen all the time, but it is the most efficient way to run a publishing business. However, you won’t see traditionally published authors like Stephen King being podded any time soon.

Whether ‘podded’ is a term relevant to print-on-demand books or simply the past tense of pod, Stephen King will never be podded!

Why are some POD books on Amazon listed as in stock?

Amazon is a machine, ruled over by thousands of intricate algorithms, unseen by the human eye.

Those algorithms dictate how the Amazon site appears to customers using it. Like Google, it thrives off data.

Amazon can choose to stock a book for any reason but the most common one is that a book is selling. Or they expect it to sell well based on past data.

Here is a list of reasons why Amazon may keep POD books in stock:

  • The book is selling well.
  • Previous books in the series have sold well.
  • An author or title is getting press attention.
  • A customer has returned the book.
  • Undelivered books get relisted.

It’s also the case that POD processes have becomes so streamlined that the books are simply printed and shipped that quick. Therefore, POD books will always be seen as in stock, with varied shipping times.

What about books in stock from other sellers?

Any business in the world has the right to sell a physical copy of your book.

They can do this because:

  • They are a bookshop themselves and have the book in stock.
  • They order the book from their distribution avenues when the book is ordered.
  • They set a much higher price in the hope a buyer will choose them over Amazon. *
  • They are selling a second-hand copy of the book.

* The seller takes the customer’s money then orders direct from Amazon to the customer, pocketing the difference. This is called price arbitrage and is not illegal.

But why any customer would order a higher priced book when they have the option of a lower price remains a mystery.

Check your author’s name on eBay to see price arbitrage in full effect!

Some author’s dislike seeing their books for sale in the second-hand marketplace.

However, second-hand bookshops have been around for centuries, and play a vital role in the book industry.

One of the downsides of Amazon keeping a physical copy of your book in stock is the changes you make to a new edition.

It might mean that your reader gets an older edition of your book. You can mitigate this by:

  • Adding ‘second edition’ to your title.
  • Using a new ISBN (as most new editions should use).
  • Only updating the files as and when necessary.

FACT: The oldest known book shop in the world was Bertand Bookstore in Lisbon, Portugal, established in 1732.

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Ben Oakley is a bestselling author, researcher, publisher, blogger, and mental health advocate from Camden, England. Usually found on Twitter or in the bars and parks of Camden. Agathokakological is his favourite word!

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