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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Where do Abebooks users come from?

Thanks for the feedback on the original, here is the other data as requested by many of you. Based on Google searches, these are the top ten locations of Abebooks browsers in 2005.

1. Victoria Canada

2. Milton Keynes United Kingdom

3. Bletchley United Kingdom

4. Brentford United Kingdom

5. Vancouver Canada

6. London United Kingdom

7. Manchester United Kingdom

8. Edinburgh United Kingdom

9. Birmingham United Kingdom

10. Paris France

Source: Google

Where do Alibris users come from?

Based on Google searches, these are the top ten locations of Alibris browsers in 2005.

1. San Francisco, CA USA

2. Pleasanton, CA USA

3. New York, NY USA

4. Seattle, WA USA

5. Boston, MA USA

6. Austin, TX USA

7. Los Angeles, CA USA

8. Washington, DC USA

9. Denver, CO USA

10. Portland, OR USA

Source: Google

Friday, May 26, 2006

Round-up of BEAs e-newsletter workshop

The ABA has posted a nice little round up of last week's e-newsletter workshop. I think e-newsletters are more than a little dated, but if done correctly can be an extremely useful marketing tool. The problem for most is finding a newsletter provider that offers a good rate of delivery and in-depth statistics at a reasonable price. Gauging your newsletter by seeing how many people "mention" it for a discount (or to receive a free something or other), is a tad amateurish. In order to really be effective you need the professional statistics - you'll learn a ton about your customers this way. The provider mentioned in the article offers a 60-day free trial, which may be a good way to see if it is worth your while.

Ebay-Yahoo partnership

In everybody vs. Google news, eBay and Yahoo! have chosen to partner on ad and search initiatives to help solidfy their positions in each respective field. (PCWorld news story)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Borders still in the red

Yesterday, Borders Group Inc. posted a wider than expected loss of nearly $19 million. That's over 3.5 times deeper into the red than a year ago. There are some legitimate reasons for this, including the branding of Waldenbooks into "Borders Express", but I continue to wonder why Borders has not invested in an online bookselling operation (currently the store "teams" with Amazon). Borders still has strong enough name recognition to leverage itself into the online book market - which is booming. I think any consultant weighing the investment in the Walden's conversation and other strategic growth models and an online book marketplace would push the company toward the latter. (Reuters wire story).

See also: Barnes and Noble earnings

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

E-book sales flat

Statistics for e-books in 2005 showed no increase in terms of number of units sold. This is in spite of the fact that the number of titles available increased by 20%. On a positive note for the industry, revenues were up 23%. If you've been following the blog, you are probably aware that I was not surprised by these figured when they came out in May. There is a lot of buzz that the Sony Reader may change these figures for 2006. In all honesty, the numbers have nowhere to go but up, so I do expect a marginal increase in sales. (Source: International Digital Publishing Forum)

Indigo online sales booming

Canada's Indigo (found online at http://chapters.indigo.ca) posted some great looking numbers nearly doubling its net income per share. Of particular note, online sales were up nearly 23%. (News release).

Monday, May 22, 2006

Small Business Banking

You'll have to just trust me when I say that I've had my share of bad experiences with financial institutions and my small business. It really pays to do extensive research on the bank you are deciding to patronize, including online complaint and consumer forums. Thankfully, Entrepreneur, has given us a head start on this. They have selected the best small business banks from around the country and posted them online. While it is an absolute pain to switch banks, the short term hassle may be worth it in the long run.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Buying books "in the states"

An interesting article from the Toronto Star discussing the strong Canadian Dollar. The focus on the book industry is a welcome anecdote for online booksellers.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Abebooks acquires Library Thing

Two of the biggest trends on the need currently are social networking and wikis. Now, Abebooks has completed a purchase that incorporates social networking and user created content (a la wikis). The site, LibraryThing, enjoys 35,000 users who utilize the site for cataloguing and social networking. Although users have only catalogued 2.7 million books (roughly 77 per user), the site is only free up to 200 books. (News story)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

As I reviewed the bottom of our referrers list today, I spent a good few hours perusing some sites, I hadn't been to in a long time. Through the tangled web that is that internet, I ended up at Alibris President Marty Manley's blog - now THERE is somewhere I haven't been in a while. The impetus for the link leading me there [via Using Books Weblog] is a series of postings entitled the IPO Diaries that recount the events surrounding Alibris' failed IPO of two years ago. I really liked these postings, but, believe it or not, that is not what caught my eye at the blog.

I immediately honed in on a blog entry from the "Top Posts" category entitled The Time is Right for E-Books. The jist of the article, if it missed you in the title comes in the last sentence: "Prediction: you and I will both use e-books within three years."

Question being: Do you want to continue to invest yourself, as a bookseller, in a company's whose leader choose not only to buy into this fallacy, but all but champion it on his blog?

I don't think it serves the best interests of all of the independent sellers who have carried Mr. Manley's company and for that I am, at the least, disappointed.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Ebay Tips

An interesting little blog article entitled, "A beginner’s guide to eBay: Confessions from an eBay store worker - Part 1"

The type of drop-off store mentioned has sprouted up like weeks (negative connotation intended), especially in major cities. Chargingoutrageouss commissions, they offer full service auction listings services. Great idea, but since the barrier to entry in this proto-industry is so low the supply of services is flooded and you'll be seeing many close their doors before the Summer is out.

Heard on the Albris discussion board... Alibris Sold version

"Next year should be an interesting one."

"One thing is for sure, they will be more motivated to achieve and maintain profit growth"

"I have no clue [how this will effect us]. I'll just think positive since I do believe the Alibris concept is a great one..."

"You don't seriously think this new group will care any more about our welfare than Alibris does, do you?"

"Did AJ take a redundancy? How many will stay how many have gone?"

"Let's hope this is GOOD news......."

The angst of Abebooks employees

wWord from up at Abebooks is that the scuttlebutt regarding the company's ownership and possible changes has grown from a quiet hum to an all out roar following yesterday's move at Alibris. I have no solid information to suggest imminent changes at Abe, but, at this point, it would not surprise me. Keep your eyes and ears open.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Oak Hill Partners Purchases Alibris

Press release

Who has stake in Oak Hill:
"Limited partners in Oak Hill Capital Partners II include the Oregon State Investment Council ($100 million), the California Public Employees' Retirement System ($75 million), the Ohio Public Employees' Retirement System ($75 million), the New Jersey State Board of Investments ($75 million), the San Francisco Employees' Retirement System ($20 million), American Airlines, Stanford University, GIC Special Investment and the Alaska State Pension Investment Board. The fund still had a strong individual component, with a total of $500 million coming from sponsors like founder [Robert Bass ($250 million), Nike founder Phil Knight ($200 million), and Bill Gates ($70 million)] which appealed to many institutional backers." (as of 09/2005)

Questionable practices?:
One of my Silicon VC buddies tipped me off to the following article on an Oak Hill big shot. See also, LATimes.

Dream partnership?:
Oak Hill is a major partner in privately-held Blackboard, which provides a web based classroom management tool (the most widely used in postsecondary institutions). Talk about some great possible leverage, we may never see deployed.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Listings Services Quick Reference

Stuart Manley, has reposted his absolutely wonderful summary of all book listing sites on the web. The is a great reference for seasoned online sellers and newbies. Worth bookmarking.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

OUCH! USPS Asks for another price increase

This one is going to hurt... After this year's 5.4% increase (12% for Media Mail), the postal service has requested another average increase of 8.5%. All signs point that you can expect an even higher rate increase again for Media Mail. (USPS Press release)

Monday, May 01, 2006

Thinking about opening a ProStore?

Entrepreneur posted an article going over some of the basic "pros" to opening a ProStore on eBay. Entrepreneur's affiliation with eBay is pretty clear, so it may be worth searching for a similar "cons" article, but it is worth reading none the less.