From The Editor

by Craig Stark

#86, 15 January 2007

Today, Steve Weber and I are going to take retrospective look at the year 2006 on two bookselling giants - Amazon Marketplace and eBay. There were significant changes at both venues, and, at least in the short run, not one of them will put more money in our pockets; to the contrary.

It's possible, of course, to put a positive spin on most anything. A few months ago, I remarked how important I felt it was that we partner with strong partners and, in turn, allow them the necessary space for growing their respective strengths - specifically, building a strong bookselling business necessarily requires one or more strong, growing venues to sell books on, and, if their growth costs us something in the short run, it should benefit us in the long run notwithstanding via delivering more sales to us. If raising fees, for example, is part of what eBay and Amazon believe will generate growth, fine and dandy, but if most booksellers don't ultimately experience the same or better growth as well, mission unaccomplished. And, if we know anything, it's that it isn't easy to compute the effect any change will have.

Despite the fact that I presently sell on eight different venues, my sales on eBay and Amazon comprise nearly of my total sales. For years, in fact, these venues have consistently performed far better for me than any others. However, for the first time in my bookselling career, I'm sensing something in the air that may change this.

 

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