Friday, June 27, 2014

Amazon shooting themselves in the foot?

Against a background today's news lead in Sheppards Newsletter and other press reports of the negotiations between the internet selling giant Amazon and the book publishers Hachette, a point has come to my mind of special interest to our end of the bookselling world.

My understanding is that Amazon proposes that they should be authorised to 'print on demand' any new title that they do not have on hand and which is not immediately available from the publisher.

Is the bookselling side of Amazon Marketplace worth so little to them? As a seller of secondhand books I have found no market for second-hand 'print-on-demand' books, it fact it seems that most of them only exist to cater for the instant need of the buyer and have no residual value. At a time when nearly everyone else is seeking to preserve scarce resources Amazon seems to be profligate in their aim of making a sale.

I don't sell on Amazon Marketplace but it strikes me that by fulfilling orders with a print-on-demand alternative when stocks of new books are low Amazon are removing the books that will become the stock-in-trade of their Marketplace sellers of the future.

Sources: Sheppards Newsletter, Bookseller, Guardian, Telegraph

Saturday, June 21, 2014


One of the hazards of cataloguing is to become too interested in your stock. If you take into account the financial value of your time, the value that you add by giving a good description of a book can be totally undermined if are drawn into reading it.

Mike Sims' latest post on his blog concerning 'The Time of my Life - A Frontier Doctor in Alaska' by Harry C. de Vighne is a case in point. At least he has turned a cautionary tale of cataloguing into a review of the book, where none existed amongst the currently available second-hand stock. A gap in the available information has thus been filled but he will never recover the cost and he hasn't the courage to work out his hourly rate even if the book sells immediately!
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