Intricacies of Modern Book Marketing

Yesterday, I posted about how frustrated I am that Amazon still isn’t carrying our novel, “Der Mannwolf von Königsberg”. This simple fact makes marketing the novel rather difficult. (And it’s one reason I haven’t posted much about it.)

I admit, I use Amazon a lot. It’s the best and easiest source for English-language books in Germany, plus I totally enjoy reading books on my Kindle – without having to cram even more books into my overflowing bookcases.

Having said that, I was getting angry after checking Amazon practically every day for several weeks, waiting impatiently for it to offer the novel which I *know* has been in print since July 1st. Even more frustrating is the fact that Amazon is actually offering two used copies right now for … a pittance.

Today, I learned an intersting fact: There is a main database for all books that are in print in Germany, fittingly called “German Books in Print”. (The actual German name is VLB – Verzeichnis lieferbarer Bücher.) And that is where Amazon gets its information, same as other online book shops do. Not all of them, fortunately, since I have found places where people actually can order the novel, but a lot. This database is also where brick and mortar bookstores check first if you want to order a book.

In addition, this database is the main reference point for book prices – since in Germany, book prices are fixed when they first enter print and may not be changed afterwards. Nobody is allowed to do rebates (not even for ebooks!), thus the need for a reference database. And they even regularly announce the few rare changes in price!

As you can see, this is a rather influential database. Now, if somehow an error got into this database, and if a book were possibly listed as not available when it actually is – frustration would ensue.

Wish me, my fellow author and our publisher luck.

About Hannah Steenbock

Hannah Steenbock is an author, dreamer, and coach. She has published several short stories in English and German, as well as one novel in German. In 2013 she started self-publishing her work. In 2014, she has won two awards for her short story "Sequoia".
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