When you think of used goods, you probably think of eBay first, but when it comes to books, many people turn to Amazon or niche book sites first, whether for new, used, out-of-print, or otherwise hard-to-find titles.
But longtail books on Amazon are in jeopardy, some sellers are warning, because Amazon FBA is eliminating an exemption for single-unit Long Term Storage Fees.
Amazon sent sellers who participate in its Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) program a notice about an offer for free removal of items in FBA fulfillment centers (usually Amazon charges fees for removing items) - applying to single ASINs. Included in the email was the following bombshell announcement:
"In the past, one unit of each ASIN in storage has been exempt from the twice-annual Long-Term Storage Fee. Effective with the February 15, 2017, Long-Term Storage Fee assessment, this exemption will end. A Long-Term Storage Fee will be assessed on all inventory that has been in a U.S. fulfillment center for six months or more. There are no additional changes to the Long-Term Storage Fee at this time, other than there will no longer be a single-unit exemption effective February 15, 2017."
That means if you have one copy of a rare or hard-to-find title sitting in Amazon's fulfillment centers, you'll be charged LTSFs if it doesn't sell by February. One seller pegged the change as a 341% increase in storage fees.
While there won't be any LTSF fee until February, media sellers need to decide in a matter of weeks whether to empty their inventory of single-unit longtail inventory in order to take advantage of the free removal fees. (Amazon will reimburse sellers for the return or disposal fee for one unit of each ASIN for which they file a removal order through October 14th.)
If sellers choose to remove inventory now in order to take advantage of free removal fees to avoid higher fees come February, they lose out on holiday shopping sales.
If they don't remove single-unit titles before October 14th, they face the prospect of paying LTSF if the titles don't sell by February.
We asked Amazon for comment, but it has not provided us with a response to the conundrum sellers are facing.