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Saturday, December 31, 2005

BSOBs affiliates

Many noticed the removal of the Alibris search box from our right column last month. This was a purely performance based decision. We received no sales from the Alibris box and other Alibris links. We will continue with the links, but may pursue other options for the space the search box was located. This decision does not change our endorsement of Alibris as a place for selling books online.

Are all sellers created equal?

We've always heard rumors about some sellers on the main listings services receiving preferential treatment in terms of lower commissions. I recently had the chance to confirm that eFollett received a significant discount on their Abebooks commission compared with other sellers. I find this troubling because it seems to be an off the record arrangement, with most sellers unaware. It is hard enough for independent sellers (a term used trumpeted frequently by listings services) to compete with megastores... Are we fighting an uphill battle with sites we once thought were our greatest allies?

Biblio press release on 2005.

"Biblio.com, a used, rare, and out-of-print books online marketplace announced today more than 130% growth in 2005 over 2004. Biblio is a 3 year old company in this online sector, and has shown unprecedented growth compared to its competitors, listing more than 30 million books for sale."

All and all this was a great year for Biblio. In terms of seller services and support things have greatly improved or remained constant - something incredibly unique for this industry in 2005. We still get complaints about sales numbers, but I expect these numbers to increase greatly in 2006 as well. (Full press release)


Friday, December 30, 2005

Online holiday sales up

The Chicago Tribune posted a news report from Bloomberg news stating that online sales were up 30% this year. Amazon was a big winner across all of its departments.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Christmas Break

Loyal Readers,

I will be taking a small break from the blog this week and next week. If anything pertinent comes to my attention, I will still pass it along. Between the holidays, very hectic pace on my own site, and a slow news time I thought it would make the most sense.

Happy holidays!

Monday, December 19, 2005

LRABooks Branding

For those who have been inquiring, I have decided to rebrand the LRABooks Wholesale store as Wholesale Remainders. Wholesale Remainders will remain dedicated to provided high resale value books for online and other booksellers. LRABooks will continue to exist as the parent company of the WR venture, blogging activities, and other great services we will soon be offering online booksellers.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Giving Us a Bad Name

In an unfortunate event for the online book industry, another online bookseller was caught stealing books to fulfill orders from his online business. As if this business isn't competitive enough among the legitimate sellers. (Article link; via Shelf Awareness)

Best Business Bank in the Northeast

Selling books online is a business and businesses need separate banking and lending accounts. It doesn't really matter what the size of your operation is, you can now do your banking and borrowing for free. This is a great way to track expenses and keep your accountant happy. I have two recommendations in this regard.

I absolutely love my Citizens Bank account. They offer exceptional service and a great online banking center. I have to restate the service part, their tellers and agents are really some of the friendliest bank employees I have ever met. My account is free up to 200 transactions. It doesn't seem like a lot, but most of my deposits are consolidated already through Paypal. Not only that if you may a deposit through the ATM, it does not count toward the 200. Unfortunately, they do only exist in the Northeast.

Before I mention my next favorite, I do want to say that we are an affiliate of American Express. I really enjoy the American Express business credit cards. In the past, they have helped me sustain growth in our business when our cash flow management was less than efficient. The key for small businesses is to find a no fee card with an extended 0% APR introductory rate. We've had a good experience with the Platinum Business Card. I like it for small businesses because it offers a 12 month 0% APR, a solid (free) rewards program, no annual fee, and easy set-up even for new sole proprietor business. The one con for AMEX cards is that they are not quite as universal as Visa (although we've never had a problem). The Platinum Business Credit Card
from American Express, No Annual Fee - 0% intro APR - Pay Over Time

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Report on the UK book market

Research and Markets has added the UK book industry to their list of research areas. The press released linked below gives a variety of quick stats on the industry and some general analysis. Most interestingly the report projects an increase in value of nearly 11 percent from 2005-2009. (Press release)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Response from Richard Davies regarding used textbook market:

"When talking to that reporter I was referring to the conclusions and results of the BISG’s report into used books that was previewed at the end of September, and only a small segment of our conversation was reported.

The study reported $2.2 billion in used book sales revenue in 2004 with $1.6 billion of that total accounted for by used educational books. It said used textbook sales were up 7% from 2003 and that online sales of used books were $609 million in 2004 - a 33% increase over 2003.

There is an acute shortage of used textbooks in North America - supply can’t match demand. Students are unwilling to pay sky-high list prices for brand new books and are looking for alternative places to buy used copies in ever increasing numbers. I am sure there is no other area of bookselling as vibrant as used textbooks at the moment. That’s why Abebooks.com is once again heavily marketing itself to students in December and January as a new semester approaches."


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Used Textbooks the Fastest Growing

In an interview with a college newspaper, Richard Davies of Abebooks mentions that used textbooks are the fasting growing segment of the whole US publishing and bookselling industry."

This is news to me and probably for any other professional bookseller. My reading has led me to believe that Religion and Spanish-language books are the fastest growing segments. This of course is based on statistics for new books. I was unaware that such empirical data were available. I will try and follow up on this. (Article link)

Great article on Indie sellers

MSNBC reposted a great article from a local Buffalo newspaper about Independent sellers. The article spend a little time discussing how online sales has effected indie booksellers. (Link)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Worth the Work! Biblio Offers Gift Certificates

I received a press release yesterday from Biblio announcing the introduction of gift certificates on its website. According to the press release "Bibliobucks" is the first program of its kind on a listings service. These would make a great Christmas thank you to your best customers or for friend and family. Also, don't forget, most Biblio sellers offer trade discounts to other Biblio sellers.

This is a welcome improvement from those who love buying and selling on Biblio. I still think it is hard to beat what Biblio offers sellers in terms of fees and flexibility - sales of course are another question. In any event, this program seems to really cap what has been an excellent year for the site.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Partner in Crime

I am currently looking for a partner to help develop a new print magazine set to launch in 2006, Bookselling Online. We are in the early development stage of this project and I need someone who has experience in one or more of the following fields: ad sales, graphic design, publishing, or layout. I am comfortable with all of these aspects, but was hoping to delegate at least one of these aspects of the project off to someone else. LRABooks is funding the project, so no monetary investment from the partner would be requested. Contact me if you are interested.

Baker and Taylor For Sale

Last week, The Book Standard reported that Baker and Taylor will be sold through Goldman and Sachs. Currently, the company is privately held, but the article shares some interesting and impressive financial figures. My only hope is that the new owners will kill their internet reseller drop ship program (used primarily by extremely large sellers) - now there's wishful thinking.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Great Feature Article

The Hartford Courant ran a wonderful feature article on Sunday entitled, "From Stores to Web." This piece took a look at the book business and the growing trend of used bookstores turning to the Internet to boost business (or to stay in business). This is really one of the better pieces I've seen on this topic.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Buying Used Goes Mainstream...?

The New York Times printed an article today entitled "Buying Used Just Could Turn Out to be the Next Big Thing." This is a very promising article for the online book industry. Ebay, Alibris, and Amazon were all mentioned at the beginning of the article (in that order).

Friday, December 02, 2005

12 Ways to Increase Online Sales

Entrepreneur has a great article for those booksellers running their own websites or who are active in other aspects of E-commerce. (Link: 12 Ways to Increase Online Sales)

Book Collector Loves Buying Online

In the National Review, Catherine Sapp (Cathy's World), recently shared her affinity for the online book industry. This is a great article speaking in favor of our trade. It gets back to what book buying and selling should really be about: putting quality works in the hands of serious readers.