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Monday, October 03, 2005

An Opportunity for Biblio?

We recently asked Biblio to answer some questions regarding the Amazon changes and the site in general. Its primary response is an interesting one, so I will quote it directly here, "What has happened has definitely leveled the playing field a bit [for us]... Probably ... Amazon is now in the used book business officially as a free standing player" resulting in more competition for sales.

Like Alibris, Biblio seems to be working hard to expand "selling opportunities" for its booksellers. While they could not comment on any specifics, it seems as if some new partnerships are set to fall in place for the site. It does seem that thanks to its seller-centered business plan, Biblio is less flexible to negotiate new agreements. As they stated to us, "We don't want to ever get into a relationship that can take the legs out from ourselves or our bookseller members."

I also took this opportunity to ask them about frequent complaints about sellers' listings not showing up on metasearches, like Addall. It seems that Biblio is aware of the issue, but gets "a pretty good return rate" when testing it themselves. They currently ask sellers to forward problems directly to Addall. In general, Biblio's sales in August and September constituted their best months ever.

In my opinion, it seems like Biblio is on the right track. However, I've always thought so. Perhaps, now is the time for them to do more than simply "be on the right track." Now may be time for an all-out effort to target new sales and woo sellers form others listings sites, in particular Abebooks. We've read a lot about the used book market growth recently, but received no articles that mentioned Biblio or had a comment from one of their representatives. They are making amazing strides in the nonprofit end of their business, where "they have been really focused." This aspect, while extremely laudable, should not take away time from any efforts towards a reinvigorated strategy to displace the commonplace notion of the 3 As (Amazon, Alibris, Abebooks).