Update Announcements

by Craig Stark

#52, 26 September 2005

Catherine Petruccione's 2-part bookscouting series concludes today with an elaboration of rule #2: bring the old car. With the right attitude misadventure can quickly turn into true adventure. If you don't remember what rules #1 and #3 are, here's a refresher.

Issue #5 of 50/50 quietly arrived last week - my fault entirely - without a mention. The topic is boys' and girls' series books, and the focus, as always, is on those that are both relatively common and highly profitable. It's available for purchase here.

ANNOUNCEMENT: two 50/50 changes. First, effective immediately, this newsletter will be published once a month instead of every other month. And second, each issue will feature 25 titles instead of 50. What this means is that you'll be getting the same amount of information as before. The difference will be that it'll arrive more frequently. This will make it much easier for me to schedule work, also allow me the flexibility of doing topical issues from time to time.

Finally, no doubt most of you have seen the recent Amazon announcement regarding the termination of their partner program with Abebooks. This is a result of a new policy that will exclude selling IDs that represent multiple sellers. Amazon, of course, also partners with Alibris, and though Alibris has set up multiple, regional IDs in recent months, nonetheless each ID still represents multiple (albeit a smaller group of) sellers, and many Alibris sellers are understandably wondering if this partnership will be dissolved as well. The answer is we don't know yet. Here is both a personal response from A.J. Kohn, Director of Direct Marketing and Sales, and an official response from Alibris:

A.J. Kohn:

"Following is our current response to inquiries about our Amazon program for sellers. However, I do want to make it clear that we're not going to become isolationists. Our most important partner remains our valued seller network. And the best thing we can do for sellers is to provide them with the largest sales distribution channels available and the best online selling services. Consequently, we are working on services that will simplify the management of individual seller accounts on Amazon Marketplace.

"Metrics from multiple sources show that Alibris is the number four bookselling site, behind Amazon, Ebay/Half and Barnes & Noble. We will continue to grow our distribution channels, seek other partnerships and work on ways to help independent sellers sell more in an increasingly competitive bookselling world."


"Amazon recently told us that, as part of their efforts to improve the customer shopping experience, they will no longer allow multiple sellers under one account to sell on Amazon.com Marketplace.

"Alibris remains committed to helping booksellers sell on Amazon.com and continues to discuss new approaches with them. Last year, we successfully built systems that enabled us to manage multiple Marketplace accounts. We recently invested in technology to enable sellers to more easily sell pre-ISBN material on Amazon.com

"Alibris maintains partnerships with dozens of the leading libraries, retailers, and distributors in the book business. From time to time, partners ask us to work with them on new initiatives. We listen to our partners; we make the necessary investments and we help each other to sell more books. It's a big part of what we do.

"Eight years ago Amazon.com became our very first partner when we developed the first out of print book matching system to help independent booksellers sell to Amazon.com customers. Since then, Amazon.com has evolved its selling approach to improve the shopping experience for its customers. Alibris made the investments necessary to accommodate these changes. We helped launch booksellers on zShops in 1998, we were a pioneer seller in Amazon Auctions and on Amazon Marketplace.

"Whenever we make changes of this kind, we design them to minimize disruption to you and we prefer to communicate the changes to you in a timely manner. We will communicate more details as they become available - our thanks for your patience in the meantime."

As soon as more information becomes available, we'll publish it immediately.

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