<<< Continued from previous page

As they have for Stores, especially at the higher end:

And don't forget that we booksellers are especially fortunate. If we list our items in a media category, where most of them need to be, we get to pay a premium for the privilege:

Clearly, it will help the cause if you can move at least some of your books to non-media categories - which in some cases will improve their chances of selling anyway. And more than ever it's incumbent on Powersellers to maintain an elevated status and enjoy those 20% discounts.

A final note: If there are any clear winners here, it's those who have been previously using the Fixed Price format for most or all of their items. By opening a Store, they will now enjoy substantial savings.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Thanks go out to eBay seller Geoff Lyons for preparing these charts and granting us permission to use them. See Geoff's Store here.

Now let's look at the first complaint in my list: eBay has turned its back on what made it successful. Have these changes addressed this? In my opinion, only in the limited sense that there will likely be an increase in the number of auctions listed with low start prices and, in turn, an uptick in bidding activity. Whether or not this will produce a net increase in auctions, bring new sellers (and buyers) into the game, etc., remains to be seen. But it is likely that those of us who buy inventory on eBay will find more bargains, at least initially. Will small sellers be helped? No, these fee increases will exert even more pressure on them.

As for the second complaint on my list - search is broken - unless significant changes are made before April, it will continue to favor mega sellers, Powersellers with high DSRs, etc., and probably also continue to deliver less than optimal results. Bad news again for the small seller.

Is there any good news to report? I would answer that with a provisional yes. The most noteworthy change for eBay Store owners is that Store items will now appear in Core along with Auctions and Fixed Price items instead of being sent to the end of the line. Those of you who owned Stores when this was tried, briefly, a few years ago, almost certainly enjoyed significant increases in sales. Will history repeat itself? Hard to say. Many more mega sellers have moved in since then, diluting the overall base, and the economy is still a question mark, but if you've been doing pretty well in the past six or eight months in spite of this, I'm guardedly optimistic that your sales will improve, and I'm at least allowing for the possibility that they will improve to an extent that will cancel out the effects of the fee increases entirely.

As always, I appreciate your opinions, and feel free to write me at editor@bookthink.com.

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