Friday, February 5, 2010


Everybody seems to be jumping on the bandwagon to “Buy Local”. “Think Globally, Act Locally”. Then they turn to Amazon to buy a book or whatever. Since the Internet is not “local”, I’ve come up with the phrase:


I have had a special offering of $20 [no S&H or tax] to readers of my blog for my book on Drip Irrigation since December 29, 2009. Not one sale. [Over 930 people have visited my profile.]

Let’s look at the math: Amazon charges $16.47 for my Drip Irrigation book with a cover price of $24.95. [a savings of 34 %]. They charge $3.95 for shipping which equals $20.42.

I‘m offering the book at $20 via Priority Mail, no CA tax, and with an autograph. [As a writing friend says, “That adds another $.12 to the value!”.]

So, given my generous offer, buying from Amazon costs you $.42 more than buying from me. With no autograph. [$.42 minus the $.12 mentioned above equals $.20 more!]

My book is not sold by me to Amazon, just through my distributor. From my distributor I get a generous 70% of the NET, not gross. This means the money for me is not based on retail price. Amazon buys the book somewhere less than 66% off the list price because if it sold it at 66% it would just break even at their price of $16.47 [34% off]. My NET per book is about a mere $4.94. I think, the Amazon game is to become a brand in a few years, while it took Coca-Cola many decades to establish their brand. Amazon is willing to sell at near cost to gain market share and “brand”. The low return to me is supposed be compensated by the increased volume of sales. In my opinion, Amazon is leading to the decline or death of small presses and self-publishers. [In spite of the hype, it’s a relief to know that all on-line book sales represent only 21% of all books sold.]

See: for more gruesome details and eBooks scams.

I’ve had casual acquaintances [no longer my “acquaintances”] call to say: “We saw that great article in the paper on your drip irrigation book and immediately ordered it and some of your other books from Amazon. Will you come over [12 miles] and autograph it?”


Let me know what you think.
Visit my web site to learn about my new book on drip irrigation and other gardening books.

NOTE: The comments section at the bottom of the post has disappeared. Click on the "___ Comments" button or the title under the "Blog Archives". Thanks, Robert


Ed said...

Hi Robert:

Just wanted to tell you how much I am enjoying your book, Edible Landscape Naturally, for the second time. I have read alot of the books out there on forest gardening, and unfortunately they all tend towards the "design, theory" aspect of things. We are in the process of transforming our 34 acre farm into a farm based on forest ag technigues. Your nuts and bolts approach is very very helpful. I was wondering if there was more info available on the Flores project out there. We are zone 6 but their story is a good one and we would like to learn more. If you are aware of others, besides the usual, Adam Shepard here in the states, and Martin Crawford and Ken Fern in the UK, I would be interested to know who they are.
We were trying to apply for a SARE grant this spring, but couldn't come up with a mentor (required by Sare). We want to try and show that someone starting from scratch can make a living applying the principles of forest ag/edible landscaping, whatever you want to call it. Too late now, for this year. Would you be interested next year? You would get paid. :-)



Lucky Dog Farm

Robert Kourik said...

Hi Ed, I don't do anything but small, home edible landscapes. Here are the best books on permaculture for temperate climates. (From Chelsea Green Publishing) By Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier They should be your mentors if possible.

Edible Forest Gardens is a groundbreaking two-volume work that spells out and explores the key concepts of forest ecology and applies them to the needs of natural gardeners in temperate climates. Volume I lays out the vision of the forest garden and explains the basic ecological principles that make it work. In Volume II, Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier move on to practical considerations: concrete ways to design, establish, and maintain your own forest garden. Along the way they present case studies and examples, as well as tables, illustrations, and a uniquely valuable "plant matrix" that lists hundreds of the best edible and useful species.

Taken together, the two volumes of Edible Forest Gardens offer an advanced course in ecological gardening—one that will forever change the way you look at plants and your environment.

Ottawa Gardener said...

You have a blog? I had no idea but am very thrilled to have found it and agree that it is important to support the source! I have genuinely enjoyed your previous books and admire the research that have gone into them. Thank you!