Anatomy of an Amazon book page. (Photo credit: soumit)

You made it to!

When your book is up on Amazon, it’s a wonderful thing! You feel like you’ve made the “big time” — and you have! It’s the biggest marketplace ever, and it’s tons of fun to think that someone could go online to buy a television, a pair of shoes, AND a great Catholic book, all in one sitting!

There’s lots to know about what goes into your Amazon product overview page, so let us pick it apart for you so you know what we do, what Amazon does, and what you can do to help sell more books!

  • We’ve got you “covered” — your book’s cover is submitted to Amazon by OSV prior to publication. At the same time, the product description is uploaded. At this point the book is ready for pre-orders.
  • The price is right — OSV provides Amazon with the agreed-upon list price. The selling price is then determined only by Amazon, OSV has no input on this. They nearly always discount the book, with the possible exception of books under $10. And notice that Amazon can (and does) adjust the price up or down depending on demand.
  • Stock up — Amazon displays the stock status of your book, including if it is available for pre-order, in stock, or out of stock. This is based on their current inventory and number of orders.
  • Details, details — The product details section is one you’ll want to pay attention to. It lists standard stuff like ISBN, format, dimensions, and page count. It shows the number of reviews and the average rating. PLUS you (and potential readers) will see your book’s ranking based on sales. product details photo for articleIn this example, the book is ranked #30 in Apologetics, and #67 in Catholicism (which is outstanding). Good promotion of the book, and maximizing your Amazon page to improve searchability helps with this ranking number.
  • The search is over — One of the great features on Amazon is  “search inside the book” (SITB) — a tool that provides a preview of your book and entices buyers just like a regular bookstore experience. Your content is protected by copyright, and in general only about 20% of the book can be previewed through this function. There’s another great benefit, though, and that is that it helps with your SEO (search engine optimization)! Search engines actually pull data from the book detail page, but also the search-inside-the-book tool. So consumers are much more likely to see your book come up in a search, even without specifically searching for the title! OSV supplies a SITB file to Amazon around the same time the book goes to the printer. Amazon can take up to 8 weeks to post the SITB to the detail page.
  • Editorializing — Editorial reviews are an awesome addition to your book’s page! These endorsements help position your book with public approval usually by Catholics who are well-known. These are added to the book page by OSV as soon as they are available — prior to publication is ideal, but they can be added at any time. Changes or additions usually take a few days to appear on the page. (Who and how we gather endorsements will be covered in a future article here on the OSV Author Toolkit.)
  • It’s all about you — The “About the Author” portion of your book’s page is a bio you submit to OSV and we upload. It can be the bio from your author questionnaire, or an edited version. (I cover the setup and maintenance of your Amazon Author Page in this article.)
  • Your book review — Customer reviews and ratings are one of the greatest features on Any consumer with an account can post a rating and review of any product on the site (whether the product is purchased through Amazon or not). Some statistics show that consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on a peer review than on any manufacturer’s marketing or advertising. So it’s important to encourage readers to post reviews of your book as soon as they can after the book is available. Ask all your friends, relatives, social media contacts, and anyone else you know to help you by posting a review. These also help your SEO — and build buzz and excitement!

So there you have it — the anatomy of your book page! Check often for new articles and ideas, and updates on all things Amazon!

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