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Selling on Alternate Venues

by Reesa Turner

#124, 30 June 2008

I would like to introduce myself as the official Book Think guinea pig. Reesa is my name and frugality is my game. I've run the gamut when it comes to selling books online, and I'm still running. Mostly I have been running from up-front listing fees. Seriously, I am a cheapskate. Yes, that's me, the petite freak, trying to catch the cheapest bus into seller success. Trends come and go, but the one distinction in my career as a slinger of books has been this - I do not like to pay to play. Give me a selling platform that gives up the goods and asks monetary questions later and I'm on it like Jack London on the work of Egerton R. Young, like H.G. Wells on the work of Florence Deeks, like Martin Luther King on ... well you get my drift. I have a dream ... a very cheap dream.

Several years ago I read about a bunch of free platforms to set up any type of sales you want, and many to sell whatever wares you have available. There was the creation of Wagglepop on the horizon, eCrater, Collector's Book Market,, ChooseBooks, iOffer, etcetera. I checked them all out, used some of them, and realized it would involve a lot of time and really hard work to get started at many of these sites. After much thought on where I was and where I thought I was headed, I bookmarked the pages and went on my merry way using other free-to-list venues that were already familiar to me and quite easier to maneuver. Selling on eBay, Amazon, and Biblio, I really did not feel the need to make more work for myself, though I regret that decision now. Oh, how I regret the time wasted in not building my business further, not having the real vision, sitting back to enjoy family and beer rather than working hard. Okay, honestly, I don't regret it all that much.

Receiving what I perceived to be too many improper blows from eBay, I finally decided to completely throw in the towel there and closed my eBay Stores. Granted, when eBay was good, it was usually very good. I had closed out my specific inventory almost two years before, due to the many problems I encountered with sold inventory being sold again months later, and managing to mysteriously lose huge chunks of "irretrievable" inventory while in vacation mode there. Frankly, I was appalled. In the past months, actually years, of alarming fee increases, feedback changes, product (in)visibility, PayPal fiascos, search manipulations in core and with Stores, and the inability for their developers to K.I.S.S. there on eBay, I had just flat out had it with the bulk of the eBay conglomerate. I began to actively seek more free-to-list venues beyond those which I had already bookmarked, or currently use. It seemed that everywhere I turned when perusing my favorite internet book selling haunts, another positive assessment of eCrater would appear. In March of 2008 I read Greg Holden's article on AuctionBytes

And decided to take another look at eCrater. The exceptional growth figures of the site - the first week in February 2008 there was a 213% increase in registrations - coupled with the creation of many improved listing features were also enticements. Realizing that I would have to do more work to get started here, I felt that compensation for my efforts would come from not being charged any fees whatsoever by the eCrater site to list, or even after I sell. eCrater's partnership with Google and the integration of Google Checkout, plus the many success stories I have followed on several forums were the proverbial icing on the cake, so I followed the lead of a large eBay seller exodus to the moon.

My solemn duty to you for now will be to help those of you inclined to find your way into building your own personal storefront at eCrater, and beyond. My own trials and tribulations, failures or success will be fodder for your water cooler chats and forum raves or ridicule. All comments are welcome, and subtle mockery is encouraged. I do not mind constructive criticism, or even the occasional "I told you so." I hope we can all learn to be more productive sellers through this endeavor. If you wish to have me investigate a particular venue, drop me a line, and I'll work on learning the details for you, as time permits.

Next week: To the Moon!

Questions or comments?
Contact the editor, Craig Stark

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