From the Editor

by Craig Stark

#18, 10 May 2004

Despite persistent, often heated protests from large numbers of booksellers, eBay has not, at the date of this writing, reinstated the category structure in the Books category. Based on the noises we're hearing, it appears that they remain steadfastly committed to the new system, though they have been willing to make and consider further refinements in Product Finder category detail and layout. I'm still watchful (and hopeful) that things will return to some degree of normalcy soon.

Those of you who have been investigating alternative auction venues may be aware that Rick Russell recently launched a website - AB Bookman - that's specifically designed to satisfy the needs of booksellers who have been adversely affected by eBay changes. More details are available in BookThink's interview with Rick and his partner Peter Thomas in our first article.

In today's Premium Content (available only by email subscription), I've made a special effort to put some money in your pockets with an analysis of Time-Life books. If you didn't already know that significant profits can be had with some series titles, you soon will. Information here is specific and potentially valuable - in other words, there are fla$hpoint$ in spades.

As I originally stated when we launched PC, the primary reason for offering it only by email subscription was to increase subscription numbers to a level that will help us attract advertisers and thereby grow BookThink. To date, PC has had the desired effect. We've experienced a significant increase in subscriptions in the past month, and we're very pleased with the numbers.

However, another reason for offering PC in a restricted format was to keep somewhat of a lid on things. Understandably, the more accessible insider information is to the outside world, the less valuable it becomes, and publishing BookThink's PC on the BookThink website would have this same, very depreciating result. The problem with this is, when we reduce access to PC, this suppresses existing traffic (and traffic growth) at the website, and this, in turn, has direct financial consequences for us, especially since we depend heavily on affiliate revenue to keep things running. Smaller traffic numbers mean that fewer users will click Google ads, search for books on FetchBook, buy books through links on our BookSearch page, etc.

This issue's PC is a prime example of how insider information, if too widely distributed, will most likely dilute an otherwise strong market niche. The last thing we want to do is to undermine our reader's profits, so we're going try to solve this with another approach. You may have noticed a new feature on the home page - a PayPal donate box located in the upper right-hand corner. If you've benefited from your use of BookThink, whether it's been by way of Premium Content, regular newsletter articles, forum participation or website resources, yes, we'd very much appreciate any contribution you can manage to make to the cause.

All proceeds will go directly to the operation and growth of BookThink. The more you donate, the sooner we'll be able to add more resources to the website. No amount is too small, and of course all payments are deductible as business expenses. Receipts for all contributions will be emailed to you directly from PayPal. I want to emphasize that this is a strictly voluntary program. The Sword of Damocles will not plunge down on you, nor will the sky fall at BookThink, if you choose not to contribute - for whatever reason. Email subscriptions and Premium Content will remain free of charge. Thank you in advance for your support!

If you're willing but unable to help out with direct financial contributions, I'd like to remind you that there are indirect methods that can be beneficial to us as well. Regularly clicking Google ads, searching for books through our FetchBook link on the BookSearch page, or purchasing books or other items through links on the BookShelf page all earn affiliate revenue for BookThink. I haven't mentioned FetchBook recently, but this can be a great starting place for book buying. Many, many venues are included in their program, some of which do not show up on the bigger book search websites. I've found a number of bargains here myself.

NOTE: Gold Edition replaced regular Premium Content on August 2, 2004. Learn how to subscribe.

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Contact the editor, Craig Stark

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