There&#146;s a <i>Reason </i>It&#146;s a Big River — A Guide to Swimming in the Amazon

- by Renee Roberts



If you decide to take a plunge into the Amazonian waters, I would suggest the following approach, which we have found to be effective. To begin, focus on Amazon’s USA site (
  1. Establish a Pro-Merchant seller account (Establish a Merchant account), which currently costs $39.99 a month and eliminates an annoying $.99 service fee on each sale.

  2. Set yourself up for Amazon Payments and create your contact information and conditions of sale.

  3. At the same time, use Amazon’s template to build a nice Z-Shop with a logo and image.

  4. Select up to a couple hundred rare titles to sell in a range of prices.
  1. Do not experiment with the bulk loader, a sort of crude spreadsheet database, which can be very frustrating to use.
  2. Hand-enter the titles directly on Marketplace pages and simultaneously in your Z-Shop. I have found it most effective to replicate, for the most part, Amazon’s category structure, which can be found in the seller manual above.
  3. Be cognizant of competing prices and be sure to incorporate your real shipping expenses directly in the pricing structure if the book is unusually large or heavy.
  4. Take the time to write good descriptions and link your books to the three, free fields at the bottom of the data-entry form for maximum visibility on other Amazon pages.
  5. Take the time to review Amazon’s customer service policies; you can’t go wrong by adhering to the same standards.
We found that when we hit 200 books, we were able to anticipate a certain rate of sales. Within a couple of years, loading our inventory by hand every day, we had over 6,000 titles on Amazon and a thriving business, especially when combined with sales on our other sites.

Speaking as someone who was almost swept out to sea off Hong Kong, swimming in open water can be somewhat daunting. Amazon, however, when entered with respectful caution, is a relatively benign body of water. There’s no need to stick to the chlorinated swimming pools of expensive hotels. The water in the Amazon’s fine and the danger of piranha attacks has been vastly overstated.

Renée Magriel Roberts can be reached at