Update Announcements

by Craig Stark

#125, 21 July 2008

Last things first today. BookThink's Selling on Amazon editor, earthmom, submitted an article to me over a month ago on the Nebraska Book Company. In it she details her experiences with NBC and fearlessly offers her opinion - we expect nothing less from her! - on the associated issues many Amazon Marketplace sellers have had with this company, of which there are several. I'm taking pains to put her contribution in context now because at the time she wasn't writing from the POV of having seen a subsequent interview I did with them. Please read it with this in mind. Also, though her instincts proved correct on many counts, it was only after receiving her article and consulting with several friends whose opinions I value that I realized that an effort needed to be made to contact NBC and request an interview, which, by the way, precedes her article in this issue. We booksellers have been looking through a glass darkly for too long, methinks.

If I understand anything at this point, it's that, despite an effort to clarify the NBC situation as objectively as possible, there will be some talk of bias on BookThink's part. Or my part, if you want to get personal. Personally, I think it's next to impossible to conduct an interview without bias, and I hereby confess to having it up front. Always. For everything we've ever done or will do, for that matter. I or earthmom may editorialize/expand on our respective biases later on, and we can certainly bang heads then. For now, I ask that you simply listen to what NBC's representatives had to say and place the emphasis where it should be - on their perspective.

Also, I anticipate that some criticism may ensue regarding the questions I asked - or, if you will, the questions I didn't ask. I do understand that there is an array of issues on the table. I tried to address the most prominent ones in the interview, and I'd like to stress that what we're sending your way today isn't by any means intended to be the last word on this; rather, it's an invitation to a conversation, which I hope will be ongoing. There's clearly potential here for everybody to win if we communicate with each other.

Finally, it's important, I think, to understand that there are three, not two parties participating in this: Amazon Marketplace sellers, NBC and - don't forget - Amazon. We've heard from the first two, and we'll make an effort to hear from the third.

w By the way, there will be no QMR Book of the Week or Gold Edition Quotation of the Week in this issue. I simply ran out of time. We'll resume these features next week.

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