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Frankly, I wasn't expecting this to have a dramatic effect, but I was stunned when I looked at the monthly totals: I had nearly tripled my gross revenue over what I'd been averaging in recent months! Clearly, I "spent" a few hundred bucks in discounts to make this happen, but the big question is was this money well spent?

Let's look at some hypothetical numbers. Suppose you typically take in $1,000 a month in eBay Store sales. Let's say you then run a series of 10 3-day 15%-off sales over the course of a month and realize $3,000 in sales. Had those same books sold for full price, your take would have been $3,000 times 100% divided by 85% or $3,529. In effect, therefore, you've "spent" $529 to make that additional $2,000.

Would this be worth it to you? If your most of your inventory consists of low- to mid-dollar commodity books, it would be very much worth it because 6 months or so down the road you would almost certainly have to discount those same books to move them anyway - and maybe more than 15%. Also, meanwhile, you would an additional $2,000 to work with now.

EDITOR'S NOTE: For an in-depth discussion of the price erosion phenomenon see the following articles:

Bookselling in the 21st Century - Part XIV: Visualizing What You Need to Do to Make Bookselling Work: $5 Books

Bookselling in the 21st Century - Part XV: Visualizing What You Need to Do to Make Bookselling Work: $25 Books

Bookselling in the 21st Century - Part XVI: Visualizing What You Need to Do to Make Bookselling Work: $50 Books

I have no idea, of course, if this tactic will work for everybody, but if sales are down, it never hurts to experiment. If you don't have an eBay Store, you can open one, bulk upload inventory, and close it 30 days later if things don't work out. The investment in time would be minimal.

Whatever your tactics, it's important, in my opinion, to take a hard look at your inventory and estimate its likely value a year or more from now. If prices for most of your books are marching south, there's still time to make a transition to inventory that will perform much better over time. If you need some guidance with this, BookThink has recently launched two resources:

The New Gold Edition - a comprehensive guide to online bookselling in the 21st century. Chapters are issued monthly in PDF format. Chapter 1 will appear a week from tonight. To purchase a subscription to the complete guide (a projected 20 chapters) click here.

BookThink's Bookseller's Author Reports - issued monthly in PDF and optional print format. The focus is on those authors (and sometimes publishers) who present the most ready opportunities for profit today - in other words, authors whose books are commonly encountered and have good resale potential. These in-depth guides will include biographical information pertinent to booksellers, autograph samples, a detailed market analysis with pricing indications, the author's bibliography with first edition issue points and cover photographs - and more. Click click here to subscribe.

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