This FAQ is for IngramSpark print books only. It's based upon my experiences in independent publishing and in librarianship with a focus on libraries, bookstores and online book retailers.
How to select your retail price and wholesale percentage for IngramSpark print books
- Bookstores and Libraries primarily buy through long standing distribution and wholesale services. In both venues, discounting is essential to the decision to buy a given title. To a large extent, it's a closed loop. Who the particular distribution and wholesale services are is not relevant to this FAQ. You, as an indie author, have little access to the major distribution and wholesale services. What you choose as your retail price and wholesale discount communicates to these services your sales intentions.
- Using the Publisher Compensation Calculator, found after account login at Help/Pricing & Calculators/Publisher Compensation Calculator you can estimate what your figures will be. Estimate because at this point, pre-setup, you are assessing where you will be at the end of the process.
- I use a reverse process by first selecting my wholesale discount and adjust my retail price to hit a given compensation range. Note that you can change both your retail price and wholesale percentages over the life of your book.
- Currently I set the wholesale discount at 53%. Industry standard is 50%-55%. The middle percentage has worked well for me in targeting Bookstores and Libraries. Why set an industry standard discount range? If you select a short discount (anywhere from 25% to 49%), second and third party sellers are unable to make a profit. By setting a short discount, you are telling bookstores and libraries to ignore your book, that your book is online only and in particular, Amazon only.
- Amazon. The big gorilla. Amazon sells books as loss leaders. That's the hidden truth. Book sales pull buyers in, whereby they are bombarded with upsells of all sorts, in particular focusing on items from which Amazon derives a profit. More so, Amazon is now less a retail outlet than it is an Internet Services company providing cloud computing and cloud storage. That is why Amazon consistently offers discounts on so many products.
- If you set a short wholesale discount, Amazon is, at first, less likely to list your book at a discount and discounts sell books. If your book is successful on Amazon, there will be discounts applied by the Amazon AI which at times may seem insane. Remember this: Amazon sells books as loss leaders. Amazon buyers are temporary and Amazon knows this. You can get a jump in initial sales as the AI tracks your book and features it. Over time, Amazon
- After you login to your IngramSpark account, in the left hand column, go to Help/Pricing & Calculators/Publisher Compensation Calculator