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Monday, August 29, 2005

USPS Price Increases

By now, most people have heard that the USPS hopes to raise rates a healthy amount sometime after the turn of the year. I do not particularity see a problem with this, especially considering the amount gas costs these days. Other shippers are dinging consumers with fuel charges, a luxury the USPS cannot flippantly apply. If you a numbers junkie or government watch-dog type, the USPS keeps most of its financial reports online. When these changes do go into effect, booksellers need to fight not only for an increase in shipping reimbursement (which should be a given), but also for listings services to maintain shipping prices for consumers. Bumping their S/H costs will hurt bookseller's sales significantly. Given the large amount of cushion (about 34% on Alibris) these sites already have, it only makes sense to leave consumer shipping charges alone. Of course, this will hurt the bottom line of these sites, but an increase in shipping fees may decrease sales enough to make it unworth the change anyway. Then again, the best alternative, in this regard, may be to reinvest time in those sites which allow you to make these decisions yourself, like Biblio.