Amazon Charge when Shipped is their newest change to their marketplace.  Amazon CWS does what it says – which is that the buyer of your book is not charged until you confirm the book has shipped.  This is somewhat similar to how Alibris handles their marketplace.   I am not going to go over the whole terms of Amazon’s CWS as there is a comprehensive overview at Amazon but there are a few things worth pointing out.

What does CWS mean for us booksellers?  Not much.  You will not have your account credited until you ship a book.  If you use The Art of Books or a similar inventory management system Amazon should be automatically updated when the book is shipped.   There are a couple of downsides to Amazon’s Charge When Shipped – you do not get to send your own confirmation email to the buyer and the buyer can still leave feedback on a canceled order.

I like sending out my own confirmations.  They promote my “brand” (nominally) and provide a more personalized experience.  Also I ask that buyers contact me directly with any issues before going to Amazon and filing feedback or a “A to Z” claim.   The sample confirmation email that Amazon has provided does not include seller contact information.  Many times I  have been contacted by unhappy buyer (mistakenly of course since I am perfect lol) who has an issues with the condition of the book.  Though it turns out that they didn’t read the book description closely or their idea of what a bumped corner (or similar damage) is different then mine.  With direct communication with the buyer I can resolve these issues to the buyers satisfaction quickly. My guess is that neutral or negative feedback will increase with less direct communication with the buyer.

Hopefully, Amazon CWS will go smoothly but I am concerned that Amazon is going to cause problems for a lot of sellers given how their feedback system works.

There is almost never a case when I do not accept returns - most markets require you to accept them (see Amazon's A-Z policy). I keep my return policy simple. The only time I have not accepted a return is when a significant amount of time has passed between the purchase date and the return date or if the books condition is materially different from when I sold it (such as full of highlighting). Sometimes it is easy to lose sight of the customer experience when I run a business from home and do not interact with the customers. Continue reading
Sales of the Kindle are one thing but it remains to be seen if people are actually going to adapt to using it as their primary way to read - as we have seen with Amazon recenlty deleting Orwell titles there are several issues with the Kindle that will effect its popularity. Continue reading
The question isn't if you should collect sales tax because that is impossible to do on most sites except eBay. Trying to collect sales taxes would kill sales if you are the only one doing it. Now - I am not a lawyer or accountant so I will simply tell you what I do - which is to pay my states sales taxes Continue reading

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Filed under: Marketplaces for BooksellersSelling books online

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