Update Announcements

by Craig Stark

#30, 8 November 2004

I had a talk with BookThink's contributing editor last week - you know who I mean, the one who works magic with HTML code and is largely responsible for the very existence of this website? - and she suggested we do something for beginning booksellers. Maybe put together a web page that would provide the startup essentials, do a series of primer articles - something. Well, I gave this some thought, and it occurred to me that it'd been years since I'd visited some of these topics. Obviously, a lot has changed. If we were to put anything in place now, I couldn't take an article I'd done, say, a few years ago, change a few commas, and kick it loose. I'd have to rewrite it almost entirely because the changes I'm referring to are, in many cases, fundamental.

If you've been in this business since the first bookselling wave licked the shores of cyberspace, you know what I'm talking about. That one was toe deep and hissed quietly over the sand, cutting in on a narrow band of foam. Since then, waves have gotten bigger, some of them of monstrous proportions, and now roaring is heard night and day; bands of foam have become plunging walls of boiling water. For us, what worked a few years ago (unless you had hotline access to Carnac the Magnificent or something), doesn't work now. Or work nearly as well. For the first time, veteran online booksellers are leaving the marketplace in disturbing numbers.

Well, today's BookThinker Update introduces a new series of articles that takes a fresh look at bookselling fundamentals, but please note that this series isn't addressed exclusively at beginners. Or even primarily. If you've been around the block once or twice and are struggling now, you might want to stay put, look at some of these changes with me - and what you might do about them to get your business back in shape.

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