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Monday, January 23, 2006

Just who are you competing with?

Online booksellers have long looked to remainder and overstock dealers to expand their inventory. Seemingly, a great idea, these sources provide extensive inventories, low prices, and the ability to buy lower quantities (3-25, compared to 500-10000 as remainder dealers do). [I have a pretty extensive knowledge of this end of online sales given our fledgling operations at Wholesale Remainders.]

What is turning into an increasingly apparent problem, however, is the existence of remainder dealers selling their wholesale titles on retail sites, effectively hurting market value and increasing competition. On my site, we quickly learned how this "double dipping" doesn't pay. While we sell on some listings services (inventory of around 500-1000 titles, depending on the site) still, we keep our wholesale books exclusively on our own site.

Unfortunately, for all remainder dealers, the fact is that it is purely within their rights to "double dip." This is frustrating for many online booksellers, but not necessarily outraging - one can simply take their business elsewhere. The problem comes when the remainder dealers begin using aliases to sell the books online and do not inform their reps or inform them to deny such accounts. This is a rampant problem, I was not aware of for some time. In fact, I often proclaimed to sellers bringing me this problem, that these dealer do not do this - I was wrong.

We encourage remainder dealers to do the same and implore online booksellers to demand of them compliance with this fair business practice.