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Monday, February 06, 2006

Independent Booksellers Advocacy?

I've had a few people contact me regarding the Independent Online Booksellers Association. I think most of this comes from a recent posting on the Alibris discussion board entitled "Maintain Your Independence with IOBA..." In the past, I've enjoyed a few interesting conversations, if less than fruitful, with the IOBA president about some exciting initiatives for online booksellers including an annual trade show. Given its mission and history, it is definitely an important and successful organization... with one exception: online bookseller advocacy.

Online booksellers are growing in numbers. Because of that, it is becoming easier for listings services like Amazon, Alibris, et al to get away with egregious seller policies like the current shipping reimbursement on both sites. My question is where is IOBA in all of this? Are they educating members? Are they lobbying the sites? Are they gathering petitions? Are they proposing alternatives? Are they more than member benefits and another place to sell your books?