The Public Domain and the Amazon Pro Merchant Account

If you are creating your own public domain based information products, you need to give consideration to selling your products on Amazon.

As a product creator, there are two ways to do this. The first is Amazon Advantage. The second is as a Pro Merchant. Let’s look at both programs.

Amazon Advantage – When you are an Amazon Advantage seller, you are essentially selling your inventory to Amazon at a wholesale price of 45% of the retail price of the product. The advantages of this program are that you ship to only one customer – Amazon – and you have a great deal of control over how your product description looks. The disadvantage is that they take a large percentage of the product cost. So if you are selling low priced goods, this method of selling on Amazon can take a large part of your profit per sale.

Pro Merchant – A Pro Merchant is a great option if you are constantly creating products and use Amazon as a sales channel. A Pro Merchant account costs $39.99 a month but offers some great advantages over their free seller account. It gives you a lower fee structure, the ability to offer products without the listings expiring and the ability to create your own product listings in the Amazon catalog.

Let’s look at each of these in a bit more detail.

  • Lower fee structure – As a regular marketplace seller, you are changed a percentage of the sale (varies based on product category) plus a $0.99 charge per item sold. As a Pro Merchant, that $0.99 per item charge is waived. So if you are selling more than 40 items on Amazon every month, your subscription is paid for.
  • Non Expiring Listings – As a regular marketplace seller, your listings expire after 60 days. That means you have to constantly keep relisting items that didn’t sell. As a Pro Merchant, the listings are kept up forever. As a product developer, that means you can create a listing with an inventory level of 100, 500, 1000 or more and just let the listing sit in their available products list forever. So you list it once and never touch it again. This is a great time saver as you never have to worry about if your product is still listed.
  • Ability to create your own catalog entries – Amazon is driven off a catalog of products. If your specific product is not in the catalog, you cannot sell it as a regular marketplace seller. As a Pro Merchant, you can create a catalog entry for your item and then begin selling it. For example, we have over 450 CD and DVD products that we created from public domain materials and each of them is a catalog entry we created. That means the description of the product, the images, the price point, etc. are all what we set it at. And when we sell, we just tell Amazon that we have copies of that particular catalog item and are offering them at $X.

    The only drawback is that the formatting available to a Pro Merchant created listing is limited. They allow you 2000 characters to create your product description. This is OK. The negative part is that it is all one big paragraph which at times can make it less readable to the potential buyer.

If you are serious about creating hardgood products (books, CDs, DVDs) from public domain materials, you really need to take a look at the Amazon Pro Merchant account as a profitable sales channel for you.

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