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And if a book has never or rarely sold, Amazon may wait to order till it does.
In those cases, Amazon may say that your Lightning book is available in “1-2 weeks,” “2-4 weeks,” or even “1-2 months.” The estimate is nominally based on Amazon’s own records of how long it has taken books ordered from Lightning or Ingram to arrive and go on sale, but it can be skewed by Amazon’s own delays in unpacking and processing arrivals during busy times.
These listings can certainly hurt sales, but for a book that’s been selling, they’re likely to disappear within a week or two with Amazon’s receipt of the next shipment.
On the other hand, if demand is rising rapidly, copies that Amazon orders may keep selling out before they arrive, yielding an ongoing cycle of “unavailability” and suppressed sales.
As it turns out, all Lightning does to fix this listing is “remind” Amazon of the book’s availability.
It does this by resending the book’s metadata from Lightning’s normal data feed to booksellers.
This triggers a resend, and within a week, Amazon is again selling your book. I’m hoping that the ease and effectiveness of this remedy will lay to rest a couple of persistent myths.
If a Lightning book is selling at all reasonably, Amazon tries to keep it in stock by ordering enough copies to meet several weeks’ demand.This happened to me, for example, with several Christmas books during the recent holiday season—the worst possible time for it.I believe it lost me a third to a half of my sales of those books.My sales rep told me this doesn’t always work, but I haven’t seen it fail.
I was told by my customer service rep that the solution had something to do with “rebroadcasting the data.” I assumed this was some kind of specialized operation using an obscure channel that Lightning techs had discovered or developed. And it turned out it was much less esoteric than I’d thought—and in fact, it was something I could do myself without help.
By spreading and alternating demand between two editions on Amazon, I believe I can greatly improve the chances of at least one being in stock at any time.