illustrational picture of burning dollars
Burning Money

How to lose money

  • Want a paper edition of the CP/M documentation.
  • Don’t go for home quality from a printer, order from a print shop.
  • The minimum number of copies is 10, it comes out 50 PLN per copy.
  • Take one
  • Post 5 of them on allegro — mistake No. 1.
  • Want it to look like something, let yourself be persuaded to subscribe to allegro — mistake No. 2.
  • “After all, no one will notice or buy it”, buy a distinction – mistake No. 3.
  • Sell all

I understood Zaxxon’s whining as soon as Allegro was kind enough to summarize the results for me:

PLN 2.61 return on investment, 1% of printing costs.

With so few items and so few sales, the biggest idiocy on my part was playing a professional seller and a subscription giving the opportunity to list a “store”, setting up an avatar, logo and some analytics.

Once again, I rode on my belief in future spare time and that I would also display other planned products in this store. This did not happen, so the monthly subscription ate up most of the profit.

Secondly, Allegro charges a 20% commission on the gross amount of sales. A book listed for PLN 90 is actually net PLN 73, minus another PLN 18 for Allegro – the real return on the copy is PLN 55. This would give 5 PLN in profit… if it weren’t for the subscription.

Nevertheless, I thank the buyers very much, it is wonderful that there was interest in this reprint at all, that my stupid playing publisher serves not only me, and that I felt a link of community with buyers because of the nature of the documentation being sold.

The next 5 pieces will appear perhaps on eBay, perhaps on shopee, or maybe only on a self-hosted store that would be part of this project in the future. Or perhaps I should just not take the commission on myself? Do you have any experiences that will help?

I can also publish the remaining documents or – after selling the entire first edition – a visually tweaked by Martin Maciaszek version of the same thing. The next wave will also have an ISBN, which reduces VAT from 23% to 5%.

My experience so far helps me understand why it is said that “big players will kill small publishers” and “amazon is killing small entrepreneurs.”

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