More than 120 small publishers jammed into a meeting room at Javits Friday afternoon to listen to Jon Fine, director of author and publisher relations, explain how Amazon can help them sell more books if they take advantage of free services provided by the company. “We want it to feel like the customer is walking into a good bookstore with people who are knowledgeable about books,” Fine told the crowd, with its automated and personalized merchandising system that tracks customer searches and recommends similar books—“as close as you can come to good old-fashioned handselling.”

For their part, Fine stressed that it is essential for publishers to keep books in stock and insure that all information on the book on the site is accurate and up-to-date.

“People want books immediately,” Fine said, suggesting that publishers either participate in Amazon’s POD program; the Advantage program, “which essentially is a consignment model”; or make their books available on Kindle, “which obviously is the ultimate in immediate delivery.”

Make it easy for the consumer to find the book, Fine said, with author information, cover images, catalogue data and a description of the book’s content readily available. Use the “Search Inside the Book” function, he said—books with the SITB feature sell on average 6.5% more units on Amazon.

Fine also unveiled several initiatives to help authors and readers connect. The company is partnering with, a comprehensive database containing the names of 16,000 authors and information on 60,000 venues where authors are scheduled to appear, and intends to incorporate this information onto its new author pages feature, which is still in beta testing, with 15,000 pages already posted on the site. Author pages will contain bibliographic information, book tour info, author blogs, photos and a biography. Authors will be able to post information to their author pages.

“Eventually, every author will have a page,” Fine declared. “It’s going to enrich the reader’s experience in an intuitive way.”

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