Is discounting the only way to sell books?

I’ve been watching my sales on go up and down like my hemlines in the 70’s for the last 4 months. For the first time in 5 years of selling new and used books on Amazon, I’ve gone entire days, sometimes 2 days, without a single sale.

Now I admit, I don’t have a very large inventory, only about 1100 listings. (If I had more space, I’d double my inventory. As it is, my dining room looks like a warehouse, stacked with bankers boxes filled with books, videos and cds.) Every morning at 4 am, a subscription repricing service scans what’s selling on Amazon and automatically reprices our stock to keep it competitive. When we first got the service it tripled our sales from 20 to 60 books a week. Now, even with adding new stock we’re averaging about 30 sales a week. Still not bad, but not great.

But, it makes me wonder. We’re all cutting back on stuff we can do without, like premium cable channels, champagne for breakfast, and a new SUV. Are books considered a luxury item on the “we can do without” list? I’d prefer to think of books as one of the best buys in entertainment and education. I know a lot of authors who would agree.

Is discounting the only way to get people to buy? I’d suggest giving buyers more for their money, instead of charging less for a book. Especially if I can include products I don’t have to physically stock. Products like:

* Newsletters
* Audio interviews
* Ebooks
* Teleclasses

Get creative with your offers! What can you add instead of subtracting payment for your work?