Update Announcements

by Craig Stark

#50, 29 August 2005

Two announcements.

For some reason - actually, there's really no excuse for this - we haven't published many letters from readers. It's certainly not because we don't get them (you should see my mailbox!), nor is it because they aren't any good. Some of them, in fact, are so good that it's almost a crime that I'm the only one reading them. Anyway, now that we're fast approaching BookThink's 2nd anniversary, I think it's high time for a major policy shift: more letters to the editor will be published in future BookThinkers (and yes, we do ask you're your permission first).

A recent example. I received this letter from Chuck Haney last week on two topics - eBay stores and book photography. Here are his thoughts on stores:

"Hello Craig. I always find your columns very informative. My first thought is always 'I wish I were the only one getting this information!' I hope to give something back in, at least, a small way. First, to expand on your thoughts about the eBay store. I did basically the same thing as you. I opened a store early on, nothing happened, and I got rid of it. But I know several book dealers who have had success with stores, so I decided to give it another try.

"The numbers I'm about to give aren't very impressive as numbers, but they are as percentages. I keep about 20-25 items listed in my store, and I sell about one book a week (I sold two last night). Now, as I said, one book a week is nothing to crow about. But one a week for 25 books = 4 a week for 100 books = 20 a week for 500 books. I'm sure you can do the math yourself, but there it is. And no doubt a wider variety of inventory and more of it would probably translate into better percentages than that. I sometimes wonder if I should stop listing auctions and just list in my store! I've been waiting to stumble onto a REALLY good book ($2,000 - 3,000) so that I could take some time out to build up my store inventory.

"Here is something that relates to everyone. Listing fees eBay stores are currently 2 cents. If you include a gallery picture it's another penny for a total of 3 cents. Just to show how insignificant this cost is, it would take 27 years and 9 months to run up a $10.00 charge in listing fees with a gallery picture for one book. Take, for example, a $50 book that you would be glad to get $40 for and list it in your store for $50.00. You now have 27 years to sell that book before you burn through the $10 hike in the price (not accounting for inflation). But that really drives it home for me - 27 years!"

Chuck also shared some of his book photography tips with me, and he has since expanded this into an excellent article. Look for it soon.

Regarding articles, I haven't mentioned this in eons, but we're always looking for new writers at BookThink - one-time or regular. If it's regular, we pay per article (starting with the 2nd), and if you contribute something that rises to a Gold Edition or 50/50 level, payment is more substantial. For those of you who have a web presence, exposure at BookThink - we're now averaging over one million hits a month - can only help your cause. I'm especially looking for regular columnists on various genres - i.e., specialists are strongly encouraged to contribute. Interested? Write me at editor@bookthink.com

Contributing editor Pamela Palmer has put together another BookTopics entry for today's Update. This time the focus is buying and selling on eBay. Also, an important announcement from ScoutPal. For some of you, this could be a pretty cool thing. I won't spill the beans here. Look below. And finally, look for a special promotion on September 1 - BookThink's 2-year anniversary. Thanks for making it happen!

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Contact the editor, Craig Stark

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