February 2017 Member Newsletter

Inside COVR
February 2017
Visionary Book and Music Awards
COVR’s 20th Annual Visionary Awards are well underway.
Entries are now open in the Book and Music categories.
Books and albums are eligible for an award if they were released in 2016. Older books and albums are eligible to enter the Iconic category.
The deadline to enter is February 15, 2017. Voting will open on February 20 and close on March 5. Winners will be announced on March 20.
For more information, visit the COVR website.
Call for Board Nominations
It’s that time of year again. The COVR Board of Directors is looking for members who are interested in serving on our Board.
The Board is interested in adding some new members. We currently have five members serving on the Board: Justin Swanstrom (President), Micki Baumann (Vice President), Cindy Odorizzi (Secretary), Karen Stuth (Treasurer), and Michael Lausterer.
Nominees to the Board must have been regular members of COVR for at least one year. Board members are elected to a three-year term. Board members attend a monthly meeting by telephone conference. This meeting lasts about an hour. Board members also take on individual and committee projects that typically require two or three hours a month.
Send your nominations to the COVR Office. Nominations close on March 1, 2017.
Ask Our Experts: Selling on Amazon

I have a store and have been considering selling on Amazon. Is this a good idea?

Answer by Cindy Odorizzi, The Next Millennium

Amazon sales account for 43% of all online sales. The e-retailer generated $136.0 billion in 2016 and was up 24% over 2015, so it undoubtedly the retail behemoth and shows no signs of slowing. It is certainly worth considering, especially since you all ready have inventory. Here are a few things you should know before you begin:
Amazon takes 15% of the sale and shipping price. That might seem reasonable but you have to look at the prices that items are selling for. On Amazon, it is often “a race to the bottom” when it comes to pricing. You may have to include free shipping and compete on prices which may result in a very low profit. In order to be profitable, you will need to list items that a lot of sellers are not selling.
Don’t bother with books and tarot unless you have unique books and rare tarot, it is not worth your time. Sellers will be selling these for less than you can buy them. There are many, many books on Amazon for one cent plus low shipping, this is not worth your energy, you will actually lose about $1 on such transactions. I do have a couple of small print decks listed that I am the only seller of and I sell quite a few of them but I don’t bother with mass market items.
Amazon is very arrogant. They can restrict your account on a whim. The extra income is nice but don’t become dependent on it. It can be taken away at any time. One seller I know had all of her listings on hold for four months while they tested her jewelry to make sure it was 925 sterling. She lost several thousands of dollars in sales. Amazon restricted my account as some CDs I was selling “might be counterfeit”. There was no reason to suspect they were. I sent an appeal and was reinstated but it really scared me at how arbitrary Amazon can be.
In order to sale sterling silver or gold jewelry, you have to get permission. You have to fill out a form, send several pieces of jewelry to be tested and pay $5000. The $5000 is just to apply. You still may not get permission!! Toys, electronics, perfumes, health and beauty categories are just about impossible to get approval to sell in too.
You will need to have ISBN or UPCs for everything you sell. Most of the products I sell don’t have UPCs. You can, ironically, buy UPCs on Ebay. They are pretty inexpensive. You cannot list on Amazon without them.
Amazon is not the easiest platform to sell on. CNBC has been reporting on how Amazon is allowing cheap Chinese counterfeits so now it is requiring you to show past order receipts or getting letters from the manufacturer to prove you are selling legitimate items. It is a bit overkill.
It may be awhile before you make any sales. I thought once I got on Amazon, the flood gates would open. Not so. When you are new, you don’t show up in searches. The more sales you make, the more sales you make! Give it some time and don’t get frustrated.
While Amazon is not a very friendly marketplace, it is the top one by far. As long as you know what to expect, it can be a productive sales platform.
Have a question? To ask our experts, send an email to the COVR Office . We’ll answer you in a future newsletter. 
Benefits Spotlight
by Suzie Heiney, Deva Designs
As a COVR Member, you can take advantage of member-exclusive benefits, including this month’s Spotlight Benefit: Community Networking.

Did you know?

COVR offers year-round opportunities for networking with other COVR members, fellow colleagues in the Mind-Body-Spirit community. One active forum is the “COVR All Members” group on Facebook. This is a closed and private group, which means that posts you make there are not publicly seen on your other Facebook friends’ wall or news feeds. It’s a great place to ask questions about sources for products, asking others how they handle various situations, sharing good news (or commiserating about frustrating news), and getting to know other COVR members.
To get started: If you’re not in the “COVR All Members” group yet, contact the COVR office and they will help set up your access. When you’re set up, hop in to COVR All Members, see the current conversations, add your own thoughts, and ask questions to the other members.
New Members Corner

(no new members this month)

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