From The Editor

by Craig Stark

#82, 20 November 2006

We're almost three months out from the August 22 eBay Stores fee increases - a good time, I think, to evaluate how things are going. Did you make any changes? Slash your inventory? Your prices? Close your Store? You may recall that I offered some suggestions for how to beat the increases here.

If some of you made some of these changes or others that successfully offset the brutal hikes, I'd like to hear what they were, and I'll pass them along to our readers. I'm totally ashamed to confess that I didn't make a single change to one of my Stores (though I did lower prices in another, which helped), and am I ever glad that I didn't. Find out why in today's article, "When Less Is More."

When my boys were young, I worked out of the house, and some days it was a major triumph just to get to the end of them with at least some work accomplished and all of us intact. Not all work-at-home situations are good fits with small children - mine sure wasn't - but bookselling can be. If you'd like to see how this is done with, count them, 11 children (no kidding!), you've come to the right place. BookThink's Contributing Editor Julie Anna Schultz and power mama explains the process in detail in her Bookseller Profile.

By the way, I'm still waiting for about two dozen of you slackers to complete the Profile templates I sent you eons ago. Did you think this was something you could do at your leisure after you retired? Any of the rest of you who would like to take a stab at this - write me at and I'll send you the info. Our readers love these things, and you can be famous.

There's a great (and civil) discussion going on in the BookThink forum about book grading.

If you participate in forums much, you've seen this topic come up countless times. Typically, a few curmudgeons insist on a system that's been in place since the Crusades, a few New Agers another system - and there's always some dude who says, "Why use any system at all? Why can't we just explain the faults in plain English and be done with it?" And then everybody stomps off, and no consensus is ever reached. Trouble is, it's clearly in our best interest to establish some sort of system that makes sense and then work to propagate it because there's a considerable undercurrent of buyer mistrust in the marketplace, some of which could be combated with a uniform grading system that's actually used by most booksellers.

This might be too ambitious by half, but I've long entertained the fantasy of helping something like this along. Several notable forum participants are interested in taking this on as well, and the more input we have, the more likely it is we'll come up with something viable. If you'd like to participate, we'll be working this out on the forum in the coming weeks. Also, if anybody would like to take on the task of coordinating this, let me know, and there will be perqs available. Hope to see you there.


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