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Amazon?


Paizo Publishing General Discussion


So I love paizo, I mean the books are just amazing and though I don't mind spending a bit more to get the books directly from you guys, how is it that amazon can offer them lower than you?

Grand Lodge

That is a question that Bookstores from all over have been asking, my friend. I manage a college bookstore in Hawaii, and that conversation has been going on for years. The publishers swear that no one gets any price breaks, so we can't figure out how they sell things at OUR cost. Of course you hear horror stories about labor abuse and all that, but I have no idea how much of that is truth or propaganda...

Regardless, I have all but stopped supporting Amazon... not preaching, just a personal choice since seeing the other side of retail.

I hope that you get a definitive answer!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Sometimes you'll get chains that deliberately undersell to drive competition out of buisness.

As to your question, Paizo does put in a margin of it's own to sell above it's costs. Amazon simply chooses to lower it's margin as it's general approach is to sell to you in volume. Amazon after all doesn't just sell gaming material.

It's no different than how Wal-Mart undersells your downtown stores. And gnerally why urban downtowns all went to the pits when shopping malls and Wal-Marts moved into the area.

Grand Lodge

What we don't understand is how they seem to operate at a ZERO margin, rather than LOW margin. When they are selling at our COST, and offering free shipping on top of that, it makes no sense that they are getting it at the usual net pricing (for textbooks anyway).

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Amazon earns their money on Amazon Store sellers (folks who sell their stuff via Amazon). They can afford to cut under niche product (hello, RPGs!) hard enough to catch customers from other venues.

Grand Lodge

Hmm, never thought of that... you have a point there...


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It's like with the Kindle. Amazon sells the Kindle as a loss, b/c they are going to make serious bank selling you all the ebooks for the same price as the print version without the costs of printing or distribution, etc.

Also Amazon likely has much lower distribution costs than many brick and mortar chains.


And here I thought this thread would be how best to make an Amazon type warrior.

Yep, Amazon has become the online equivalent of Wal-Mart, even to the point of cutting into Wal-Mart's bottom line.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Amazon ain't selling PF stuff at a loss. They're charging more than Alliance would charge me as a new account.

If your bookstore can't buy cheaper than Amazon, your distributor is shafting you.


Here's Vic's comments on what the usual profit margins are.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Those are decent figures for estimating. Some things are higher (such as dice), some are lower.

RPG books, though, traditionally have a bit higher of a margin, very near a 100% markup.

As an example, with Amazon and the Pathfinder CRB:

Amazon is selling it for $30.85, cover is $49.99 - a 38% discount.

Given Amazon's volume, there's no way they're buying that book for any more than 53% of cover ($26.49), meaning that they're making at least $4.36/book.

Not a huge profit margin, but most certainly not a loss.

Given their volume, they're probably getting a better discount from whoever their supplier is, than what ACD or Alliance/Diamond is giving brick and mortars.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Maybe not all of the books...

Grand Lodge

Bear in mind that anything sold used, is often an independent seller that doesn't follow those rules...


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Auto-pricer errors are hilarious.

AbeBooks is one of those fine folks that, if you buy from them, they'll take your money, buy the copy someone else is selling cheaper, and then ship that to you.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Ringtail wrote:
Maybe not all of the books...

$3.99 for shipping? Outrageous!


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Also, with a company the size of Amazon, their shipping costs are significantly cheaper than for you and me. They generally use UPS and likely get a 50% discount or more just because of volume.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

2 people marked this as a favorite.

The original question begs an important corollary: If other places can sell our stuff cheaper than we can, why don't we just lower our price so that we're the cheapest?

We pretty much have to sell our own products at MSRP. The occasional sale now and then is fine, as are the perks we provide to subscribers, but if we commonly sold our own products for less than the price that we ask other retailers to charge, retailers would—quite rightly—revolt.

Grand Lodge

Vic Wertz wrote:

The original question begs an important corollary: If other places can sell our stuff cheaper than we can, why don't we just lower our price so that we're the cheapest?

We pretty much have to sell our own products at MSRP. The occasional sale now and then is fine, as are the perks we provide to subscribers, but if we commonly sold our own products for less than the price that we ask other retailers to charge, retailers would—quite rightly—revolt.

This, I understand completely! Regardless, I would rather support you directly, and help to ensure the continual thriving of this company...


Vic Wertz wrote:
...but if we commonly sold our own products for less than the price that we ask other retailers to charge, retailers would—quite rightly—revolt.

IIRC there are laws against this practice...I can recall a few years ago a miniatures manufacture got in a bit of trouble for selling directly to customers and undercutting distributors.

Aeshuura wrote:
This, I understand completely! Regardless, I would rather support you directly, and help to ensure the continual thriving of this company...

This raises an interesting question. Even though Paizo sees more immediate profit when customers order directly through them, is that better than buying from a FLGS? I would think that a greater number of sales at the FLGS level would create more overall sales in the long run (since stores would order more product from distributors who would in turn order more product from Paizo; thereby creating a larger customer base over time.)

Grand Lodge

In my opinion, it is better to support local, but since I do not have access to a FLGS here on Kauai. This is just a personal opinion though. Paizo has the extra draw of offering PDF versions, which I put on my iPad, thereby severely lightening my load when I go to play at my friends' houses.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Deane Beman wrote:
This raises an interesting question. Even though Paizo sees more immediate profit when customers order directly through them, is that better than buying from a FLGS? I would think that a greater number of sales at the FLGS level would create more overall sales in the long run (since stores would order more product from distributors who would in turn order more product from Paizo; thereby creating a larger customer base over time.)

We do make more money from direct sales, but it's important the we have sales through other channels, too. And supporting good local game stores is also important for the industry as a whole. We recommend that you buy from wherever makes the most sense for you.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I figure if I'm regularly playing games at a FLGS, I'll buy most of my stuff from them as a way to keep them in business. (I think I'd except the Paizo subscriptions.)

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My general practice is to purchase the hardcovers through amazon, and the Adventure Path (and occasional Campaign setting supplement) through Paizo.


thomrenault wrote:
My general practice is to purchase the hardcovers through amazon, and the Adventure Path (and occasional Campaign setting supplement) through Paizo.

Having PDFs of the larger, hardcover books is invaluable to me...so I'll always the those through Paizo. Any other product I happily purchase from my FLGS.


Vic Wertz wrote:
Deane Beman wrote:
This raises an interesting question. Even though Paizo sees more immediate profit when customers order directly through them, is that better than buying from a FLGS? I would think that a greater number of sales at the FLGS level would create more overall sales in the long run (since stores would order more product from distributors who would in turn order more product from Paizo; thereby creating a larger customer base over time.)
We do make more money from direct sales, but it's important the we have sales through other channels, too. And supporting good local game stores is also important for the industry as a whole. We recommend that you buy from wherever makes the most sense for you.

I never have a problem buying and paying MSRP for Paizo items. What does bother me is the cost of shipping and the delay to get thing to FL. There Amazon is unmatched. I know this is a side issue, not directly related to the OP.

Here is an example: The Skull and Shackles AP costs $6.20 to ship and at standard delivery, it will be 4-8 days through Paizo. On Amazon shipping is $3.99 with standard 3-4 day delivery. There is, also, and option for free 2-day delivery. Amazon often delivers items a day ahead of time, while that is not the case with Paizo's shipping method.

Steps off soapbox.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
baldwin the merciful wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
Deane Beman wrote:
This raises an interesting question. Even though Paizo sees more immediate profit when customers order directly through them, is that better than buying from a FLGS? I would think that a greater number of sales at the FLGS level would create more overall sales in the long run (since stores would order more product from distributors who would in turn order more product from Paizo; thereby creating a larger customer base over time.)
We do make more money from direct sales, but it's important the we have sales through other channels, too. And supporting good local game stores is also important for the industry as a whole. We recommend that you buy from wherever makes the most sense for you.

I never have a problem buying and paying MSRP for Paizo items. What does bother me is the cost of shipping and the delay to get thing to FL. There Amazon is unmatched. I know this is a side issue, not directly related to the OP.

Here is an example: The Skull and Shackles AP costs $6.20 to ship and at standard delivery, it will be 4-8 days through Paizo. On Amazon shipping is $3.99 with standard 3-4 day delivery. There is, also, and option for free 2-day delivery. Amazon often delivers items a day ahead of time, while that is not the case with Paizo's shipping method.

Steps off soapbox.

The difference there in part is that Amazon has more distribution warehouses and can send one to you from a close location whereever you are, and in the other part is where the hideous mistreatment of the warehouse workers comes in--there's a recent thread on that that's worth reading.

I'd rather wait longer knowing the reason is it's a small company that treats its employees well.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
baldwin the merciful wrote:

Here is an example: The Skull and Shackles AP costs $6.20 to ship and at standard delivery, it will be 4-8 days through Paizo. On Amazon shipping is $3.99 with standard 3-4 day delivery. There is, also, and option for free 2-day delivery. Amazon often delivers items a day ahead of time, while that is not the case with Paizo's shipping method.

Steps off soapbox.

but that's only a fair comparison for past products. If you preorder through both, the paizo preorder will get to you firt 95% of the time...

Look at this timeline:

Day 1 product hits paizo warehouse and is inventoried
day 2 distributor orders and subscribor and preorders are begun at paizo
day 6 distributor gets their order and inventory shipping to FLGS and amazon, first paizo subscribers begin getting orders. Amazon says the product is delayed 3 months as they don't have it yet.
day 7 amazon getsproduct and splits it up for reginal shipping location. Last paizo preorder goes out.
day 9 amazon reginal shipping locations get product.
day 10 amazon begins shipping product for preorders
day 11 amazon relizes they havnt ordered enough to cover preorders and ordr more from distrbuter
day 14 last amazon preorder goes out

This was about the timeframe for the first bestiary... the core rulebook, day 14 was actually day 40 or so


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
DeathQuaker wrote:
...and in the other part is where the hideous mistreatment of the warehouse workers comes in--there's a recent thread on that that's worth reading.

Does that thread have any information on the working environment and treatment of the workers who print the products we're discussing? It'd be interesting to compare and contrast.


Cpt_kirstov wrote:
baldwin the merciful wrote:

Here is an example: The Skull and Shackles AP costs $6.20 to ship and at standard delivery, it will be 4-8 days through Paizo. On Amazon shipping is $3.99 with standard 3-4 day delivery. There is, also, and option for free 2-day delivery. Amazon often delivers items a day ahead of time, while that is not the case with Paizo's shipping method.

Steps off soapbox.

but that's only a fair comparison for past products. If you preorder through both, the paizo preorder will get to you firt 95% of the time...

Look at this timeline:

Day 1 product hits paizo warehouse and is inventoried
day 2 distributor orders and subscribor and preorders are begun at paizo
day 6 distributor gets their order and inventory shipping to FLGS and amazon, first paizo subscribers begin getting orders. Amazon says the product is delayed 3 months as they don't have it yet.
day 7 amazon getsproduct and splits it up for reginal shipping location. Last paizo preorder goes out.
day 9 amazon reginal shipping locations get product.
day 10 amazon begins shipping product for preorders
day 11 amazon relizes they havnt ordered enough to cover preorders and ordr more from distrbuter
day 14 last amazon preorder goes out

This was about the timeframe for the first bestiary... the core rulebook, day 14 was actually day 40 or so

I've know when I subscribed to the APs the shipping was painfully slow. If it was not for the pdf, it would have been terrible. Granted I've stopped my subscriptions after SS (I'm still running Kingmaker so no need to have APs pile up.)I purchased two CRB one through paizo and one through Amazon (personal book and a table book)and if memory serves my Amazon book arrived first.

I've bought several books and APs through Paizo and have consistently found the shipping cost and delay to be a issue. That my take, others may differ. The products are top notch and the staff is wonderful, my only issue is the shipping costs and delay.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

baldwin the merciful wrote:
I've know when I subscribed to the APs the shipping was painfully slow.

Paizo just has one warehouse, in Washington state, and since you are pretty much as far from us as you can get while still being in the US, the USPS just plain takes a lot longer to get stuff to you (unless you pay extra for faster shipping methods).


I remember when I worked at Borders and did special ordering, it was common that we got a 42% discount on books from both publishers and distributors. This was common, but not ALWAYS the way it worked. Some publishers wouldn't give us a nickel discount and also wouldn't take returns. This was about 5 years ago, things may have changed slightly.

I just grabbed the price of the core rulebook as an example. Amazon looks like they are selling it at a 37% price discount. They are still making a profit off of it at that price. Not a huge one, but they don't need to, either.

I'm always torn whether to buy pathfinder books from paizo, amazon, or the local gaming store. I tend to buy from all three in various ways though. I buy my AP from paizo so that I can get the pdf for free. The core books, I tend to buy from Amazon because I don't really need or want the pdfs. Then I usually buy odds and ends from the local gaming store, like the NPC cards or the map packs.


I don't shop online unless i have to so i don't know anything about amazon but if they have web advertisement thats a quick easy way to pick up some extra cash if you site is popular.

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