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Thursday, 8 February 2018

My latest book sales figures ... and the experiment selling via eBay

The latest sales figures for my books arrived yesterday and I was glad to see that sales of THE PORTABLE WARGAME and DEVELOPING THE PORTABLE WARGAME continue to be good, ...


... although I am a little disappointed that – according to their figures – Amazon hasn't sold a single copy of LA ULTIMA CRUZADA. This seems very odd as I know several people who have bought the book from them, and it has been reviewed by a verified purchaser. All I can assume is that their sales figures have yet to be sent on to Lulu.com and are at least a month in arrears. Hopefully next month’s figures will show that they have managed to sell some copies.

Last month I tried an experiment ... selling copies of some of my books myself via eBay.

The results were interesting. The single copy of LA ULTIMA CRUZADA sold quite quickly, as did the three paperback copies of DEVELOPING THE PORTABLE WARGAME … but the two hardback copies of the latter book remain unsold.

This would seem to indicate that in future I ought to consider using eBay to sell a selection of the paperback editions of my books myself, but not to bother trying to sell the hardback editions.

6 comments:

  1. Bob, our Portable Kriegsspiel article has just been published in MW. Your photos have come out splendidly, though John T (whom I immediately emailed to thank) told me had had to use Photoshop to remove sunbeams, and set the piece off a treat. It would be interesting to see whether there is any increase in pageviews here and in sales of PW/DPW following this article. When you have completed your Napoleonic variant, may I suggest we do another photo session, possibly using my 10mms to show mass effect of smaller figures, as well as your Waterloo armies, both to illustrate the book and to do some articles for MW.
    The Hexon looks much nicer in the photos than the Heroscape, but I think the effect of the latter could be improved by adopting an appropriate colour coding for the contours, so shades of brown for sandy/rocky/desert terrain and shades of green for European countryside.

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    1. Arthur Harman,

      My copy of MW arrived in the post this morning ... and I was very impressed with your article and the way that John Treadaway managed to improve my photographs.

      Over the past week or so I have been going though all my old back blog entries, and 'found' the battle reports for some of my early Napoleonic Wargames. They have certainly helped to refresh my interest in writing a proper set of PW: Napoleonic rules ... and when I do, I'll be more than willing to do as you suggest.

      My review also reminded me that I flocked and painted my previous Heroscape hexes ... and they looked better that the ones that are just painted. Something for me consider doing with my current set.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  2. Bob,

    I find the minutiae of publishing – particularly self publishing – fascinating even though I have no expectation of ever putting out anything myself. So I have some questions about your efforts, which I am going to ask even though it’s none of my business (and you are welcome to tell me that).

    Amazon currently shows La Ultima Cruzada (hardback) as “Only 1 in stock (more on the way)” which seems to confirm that they’ve already sold some copies. However, I thought that Lulu was essentially a POD operation and I do not really understand how Amazon having a stock fits in with this business model.

    How does Amazon get their copies? Do they simply choose to order some and, if so, is this on a sale or return basis which I believe would be normal for Amazon but is the antithesis of a POD operation? Sale and return is a good business model for retailers but not so much for publishers as they have to bear the cost of the returns (or pass the cost on to the author). As soon as you print a book in advance of a sale someone has to take on the financial risk that it will never sell and for the last 70 or 80 years this has been the publishers. In this case though I hope it is Amazon taking the risk, if only because they are probably in a much better position to predict sales then the typical publisher. Or maybe I’m wrong about Lulu and they are actually a short print run operation using POD technology?

    As I said, not really any of my business, but I’m curious to know how this form of publishing and book-selling works.

    Also the pedant in me wants to ask you to change your chart by replacing “ePub” with “ebook”. Not because it really matters or in any way detracts from the utility of the diagram but just because most of your sales will not be ePub file formats. (However, my wife thinks that you should ignore this request as I’m already too pedantic and don’t need any more encouragement.)

    Just prior to reading this blog posting I was looking at the MW article Arthur commented upon. Good exposure for the portable wargame. I have to agree that the Hexon tiles look much nicer than the Heroscape ones. I think that this is partly down to the colours used but also that the relief around the top of the edges of the Heroscape tiles always looks a bit odd to me.

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    1. Mike Hall,

      As far as I can make out, Amazon licence production of books from Lulu, and print and bind books to order using their own facilities. I assume that when they have several orders, they print a few extra to go into stock ... hence the 'Only 1 in stock ...' message.

      Lulu refer to any electronic versions of my books as ePubs, which is why I have used that term rather than eBook ... which I agree is probably the better term to use.

      The Hexon II hexes are great if I have the table space available to put on a game ... but when space in my toy/warganes room is limited (as it often seems to be), the Heroscape terrain comes into its own. I am giving serious thought to flocking my Heroscape terrain as it woul improve its appearance.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  3. Well I'm one of the few Amazon customers...looks like there are 2 reviews up there now. I've also reviewed it on Goodreads and on my blog...
    https://wargaminggallimaufry.blogspot.co.uk/2018/02/la-ultima-cruzada.html

    ...spreading the word!!!

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    1. Alastair,

      Thanks for buying my book, and for writing your reviews. Hopefully the sales figures from Amazon will reflect the sales that they have made since the book was published.

      All the best,

      Bob

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