Wednesday 15 May 2013

Amazon V Waterstones
FRENZY by Mark King
ISBN 9781846248771

Amazon in the U.K stock over 1,500,000 books and in the U.S a lot more than this. They also have a ranking system, and the more your book sells the higher you go. After six weeks on release FRENZY has reached 69.800. That puts my book into the top 5% of sellers. Your ranking will go up and down on a daily bases.

On the high street the main store chain in the u.k is Waterstones. People cry about the death of the book shop because of the competition now offered by on-line retailers, but if my experience with my local Waterstones is to go by then they deserve there final downfall.

Two weeks before it's release date FRENZY was available on both Amazon, Waterstones and other websites for pre-ordering. I went into the Norwich branch of Waterstones to speak to the store management, and advise them that it would be in their interest to have copies of the book ready as friends etc would be in to buy it.

The store manager wasn't in so I spoke to the assistant manager instead. He was as useful as a wet fart in a space suit. 'We might be able to get a copy in,' he said. I tried to explain that the store could sell dozens of copies in the first few weeks, and that people would go else where if they couldn't supply them. I got no where and left him a card with all the details of the book. When I got home I backed up this visit with a direct email to the store manager explaining all. I got no reply.

After FRENZY was released I got reports back from people to say they had been into the Norwich Waterstones store and could not find a copy. What made it worse was that no member of staff made any effect to get the book for them when they made enquiries.

I sent the store manager another email explaining again that as a local author he was loosing trade because of their failure to stock my book. Again their was no reply.

Four weeks after it's release I was still being told people could not purchase a copy of the book in my local Waterstones even though you could buy it all over the world through various websites.

I paid the store another visit and could not find it! It then turned into a joke when I made an enquiry with the young assistant at the counter. She told me,'we don't stock the book,' when I pointed out that it's on their website she double checked and then replied, 'o, you are right, we do stock it.' She stood there giving me a blank look, made no effect to sell it to me, and I walked out in disgust.

I sent the store manager another email and have since then advised everyone to go through Amazon.

I can see now why Waterstones has sunk more times than ships in the Atlantic during the Second World War.

Waterstones stores can't beat Amazon on price because of their larger overheads, and can't beat them on convenience, and although I'm not keen on buzz words, but if they haven't got a unique selling point (and what is more unique then promoting local authors) then Waterstones will end finally doing a Titanic.



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