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In fact, it’s gotten much better about this over the past year, sometimes ordering hundreds of copies of a Lightning book on a monthly basis.But if a book has slow or rising sales, Amazon can still underestimate and run out.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.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.
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.
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.
(I haven’t decided how or even whether to distinguish the two editions, but I might designate one the “large text” edition—especially since all my books feature large text anyway.) Again, this would only make sense for a seasonal book or another with a steep upward sales curve, since the cost for other books would be reduced sales rank.
A problem like that might well drive a Lightning publisher to double-source with Create Space, despite its required discount of 40%—and in fact, that’s been my recommendation for some years.
But this year, I may test a different solution: publishing double editions of a book, both of them at Lightning.