How to Beat Amazon At Selling Books

Amazon captures most book sales these days. But I want people to buy the revised & expanded version of my book, The COACH Model for Christian Leaders from our store. How do we beat Amazon, who offers free 2-day shipping?

Before I share my solution, let’s talk about price and value.

While living in Indonesia in the early 2000s, I often flew on a small propeller airplane. My ears would continue ringing from the engine noise a couple hours later. Not good. I needed better headphones.

I tested several models that I could afford and they were just okay. On a whim, I visited a Bose store in Singapore. The Bose guy asked me to stand outside the store in the mall where there was a lot of background noise. He slipped the over-the-ear headphone on me. I was impressed at how the mall noise quieted.

“Now I’m going to switch them on,” he said. Suddenly, there was silence. My mouth dropped and my wallet opened. Price, which was my biggest consideration, went away when I experienced the silence these headphone produced – the value.

Price is the biggest consideration until a potential customer hears something they value. Share on X

I’m often asked, “how do I find people to coach / attend my workshops / donate / buy my services / volunteer / add your thing here?”

Highlight the value.

But highlighting the value is not what most people do. Instead, they try to compete by lowering the price. They believe a lower price will convince people. Except it doesn’t. 

People look at what’s offered and quickly scan it for how it will help them solve their problems or reach their goals. Price is their biggest consideration until they hear something they value. With the headphones, value outweighed price, even at my, then, limited income level.

Back to my book and how to beat Amazon with their free 2-day shipping. I can’t just highlight the value of the contents of the book, because both Amazon and I sell exactly the same book. I have to…

Add additional unique value.

The formula for getting people to act on what you're offering is to add unique value and then highlight that value. Share on X

In our store, I added unique value to the book by providing a free Study Guide and including a COACH Model® Card with each book purchased. We’re also roughly matching Amazon’s price with a 15% discount and offering 30%, or 40% off for bulk orders.

Our single-copy price is similar to Amazon’s, but still doesn’t make up for postage. But the added value of the Study Guide and COACH Model® Card should tip the scales in our favor. 

How about you? Think about what you are offering:

The formula for getting people to act on what you’re offering is to add unique value and then highlight that value. 

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    Keith is President of Creative Results Management. He helps busy leaders multiply their impact. Keith is the author of several books including The COACH Model for Christian Leaders.

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