Why Amazon changed the price of our book, 5,000 copies sold, and other observations

We self-published our first book, Restaurant Owners Uncorked: Twenty Owners Share their Recipes for Success, two years ago. We put it on Amazon, and we had no idea what to expect. Would we sell 100 copies (which is the average number of copies self-published books sell)? Or 1,000? Or perhaps 10,000?

I mean we literally had no clue what would happen, so we’re excited as heck that it has consistently sold between one and three hundred copies every month, and we’ve now sold over 5,000 total copies if you count sales of the actual book and Kindle sales. It was also really cool to see that Amazon recently changed the price of our book from $12 (our list price) to $10.80. It’s displayed as a discount, letting you know that you are getting a good deal if you buy on Amazon. They only do that once a book has sold a bunch of copies. I guess when we have sold a bunch more, they’ll reduce the price again, but I don’t know. (The Kindle version is still at $5, which is our list price. Maybe they’ll reduce that price next?) I’m not sure what their formula is. I think Amazon does what Amazon wants to do, and I’m totally cool with that, especially given that they do an awesome job of recommending our book to people who are about to purchase books of a similar subject matter. We’re still learning about this stuff, and it really doesn’t matter anyway. All we care about is that every day a few people buy a copy, and, based on the feedback and reviews we’ve received so far, they tend to enjoy it a lot, learn something, and draw inspiration from it.

Something else I’ve found interesting is that our reviews are all really positive (nothing below 4-stars out of 5), and I honestly believe this is the case because we never inserted our opinion into the book. It doesn’t take a stand. Rather, it is merely a collection of interviews with twenty owners, with no underlying point. Meanwhile, it seems like most of the time when a book gets a 1-star or 2-star rating, it’s because the reader completely disagrees with the author’s premise. The author says tomato, the reader says tomahto. In our case, unless you disagree with the advice and philosophies of twenty different people, it would be hard to rank the book poorly. This isn’t something we predicted or thought of in advance, but I’m pretty sure it has helped us avoid bad reviews.

But of course the main reason we get great reviews is that we interviewed twenty incredible people who own restaurants and have done well in the business and who were kind enough to share their time with us, and offer their candid and honest opinions on everything we asked them about. We couldn’t be more proud of the book or of the incredible video series that is it’s by-product. It’s such an honor to be able to serve tons of people that we admire – people who’ve taken risks and worked hard and built successful restaurant businesses – with our software. So when some of those people agree to be in a book or be filmed for our video series, it’s just icing on the cake for us!

I’m working on our next book now. It’ll be the same format as the first – a collection of interviews – but I think we’ll keep it to ten owners this time, and perhaps do a new book of ten every couple of years. In the mean time, if you know anybody who might enjoy the book, we’d be so thankful if you told them about it. And I’ll occasionally drop in here to provide an update on the next book and (hopefully) on the continued success of the first.