We've moved to http://www.booksellingonlineblog.com

Monday, July 31, 2006

Update your RSS/XML

If you follow us through a feed service, you may have missed that we've moved to a new domain and layout. First check it out and then update your feed to http://www.booksellingonlineblog.com/feed/

Friday, July 21, 2006

Toolhaus utilities for eBay

Thanks to Lifehacker for reminding us today about Toolhaus, a great resource for researching feedback/sellers on eBay. Below are the four main utilities:

  • Enter a user ID to view negative/neutral feedback received or left
  • See the feedback which two eBay users have left each other, or you can enter an item number to check the seller and buyer/current high bidder
  • Show a user's recent feedback with the item's title and groups feedback from Dutch Auctions into a single entry
  • Take an eBay item number, and check the bidders to see which items from the same seller they've bid on

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Angry eBay store owners

I have received a bevy of emails in the past day from angry eBay store owners about fee and placement changes for eBay store owners. As of 22 August, insertion fees for eBay store listings will increase by 150-400%. Commission fees will be 10% on sold items.

Fee increases are always the most contentious because they impose the most direct consequences. However, eBay also announced that it will be making efforts to scale back the visibility of eBay stores. This is quite surprising for store owners, of whom there are 541,000 worldwide, because President and CEO Meg Whitman kicked off this fiscal year stating the company would increase exposure of eBay store listings. Clearly, the company now feels that these were misguided decisions. As of right now, store listings compose 83% of all eBay listings, but just 9% of gross sales volume.

In some of her interviews on the subject, Whitman noted how store listings have taken away eBay from its original "magic" - the auction format - and perhaps she is right. Nevertheless, the dramatic about face is a true disservice to eBay store owners, most of whom are eBay's most committed sellers.

(See AP article via the Boston Herald)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Shipping rates down under

Interestingly, Australian booksellers are facing their own issues regarding international mail - and much more devastating ones at that. Currently, the point of contention centers around the Australia Post decision to terminate the economy international air mail option when sending abroad. According to the article, this will result in an increase of over 20% to send a book abroad, something that happens much more frequently selling down under than in the US, with many books going to the UK.

Without an online presence Borders will stagnate

Looking at the bookselling industry from a growth (shareholder) perspective, you have to look online. Brick and mortar booksales simply do not have strong growth potential, even for a chain like Borders. Not only can online sales help increase gross sales, but it also complements and strengthens a company's brick and mortar brand.

I was sipping my coffee and reading the Times and was intrigued by an interview with new Borders CEO George L Jones.

Borders now (finally) has expanded its online sales beyond its partnership site located at Amazon (something we advocated previously). This is a good start, but their site is very basic and isn't something I'd be confident was strengthening my brand, if I were Mr. Jones. It is also something not even mentioned in the interview. In fact, according to the article, "In considering how the company could compete with its chief rival, Barnes & Noble, as well as with online retailers, Mr. Jones said the solution was not to do the same things as the others." There is no doubt that differentiation will be key to a successful tenure for Mr. Jones, but I certainly hope this is not meant to imply a continued decreased in emphasis for his online site.

Of course, as an independent online seller, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to advocate for a stronger online business for Borders. Given their nascent foray into the online bookselling world, they are light years away from offering used/3rd party sales on their site. That isn't to say it couldn't be an immediate score for the bookselling giant.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Amazon shipping changes updated

Amazon wisely updated their reimbursement for international shipments on books, giving sellers an additional $0.19 making for a net decrease for sellers of $0.17 as opposed to $0.36 as previously stated (original post).

Selling books at your own site

In today's Shelf Awareness, there is a great column about keeping customers coming back to your website store. This article pays particular attention to an often neglected part of independent bookstore websites - selling books. My favorite part of this piece is how the author reminds us of a time when "the notion of a bookshop that went to where the readers were wasn't revolutionary. Traveling salesmen of all descriptions plied their trades from house to house, farm to farm."

Help Gulf Coast Libraries

We all saw what a terrible disaster Hurricane Katrina was, but just as bad as the week following the disaster are the years of putting the pieces back together. One of the many small stories within the story, is the devastation of Gulf Coast library collections. Now thanks to the website Dewey Donation System, which by the way earns today's award for coolest name, you can easily connect with some of these libraries and help ease the pain. Remember to buy from third party sellers!

Amazon to terminate order notification emails

It seems like my Amazon feed is working overdrive with the amount of changes we've seen recently. The most recent is a notification that the company will terminate the "Sold, Ship Now" emails currently send to sellers. They will be replaced with a new desktop application for order notification.

"We recognize that changing the content of the “Sold, ship now” e-mails might require an adjustment for some sellers. We hope that by providing you with advance notice of this change and early access to the new application, you will have plenty of time to identify and make any needed changes to your business processes to support these new features."

Coming literally hours after the resolution of an "unplanned event" that caused a delay in "Sold, Ship Now" emails from begin sent (coincidence?), this change is a pretty big deal. I can already hear the third party software developers touting their new program that will send you emails a la the current system.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Abebooks in the Toronto Star

Abebooks' 10-year birthday has generated another nice little article in a Canadian major daily. Check out the feature from the Toronto Star.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Book sales trends

The Association of American Publishers has posted their update of book sales for May 2006. Adult paperbacks and children's hardcover were very strong performers. Of note, religion book sales, once the strongest genre, dropped over twenty percent year to year. (See Press Release)