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Online Bookstores – What’s Happening?

Posted by in Books for Sale on March 2, 2011

There are a number of online bookstores out there trading, and doing very well at their business, but there is something else going on too.  What happened to the time when an online bookstore sold only books?  These days you seem to be able to get everything from a camera to a pair of shoes from the bookstore!  This can’t be right surely?


I am one of the old school that has a problem (a huge problem) with this phenomenon.   If I go to the newsagent I expect to be able to buy my newspaper and maybe a packet of cigarettes, when I go to the barber I expect to buy a haircut, and when I go to the bookstore I expect to buy a book, or perhaps (at a stretch) a magazine.  Now tell me, why should online bookstores be any different than a bookstore I walk into on the street?

Its capitalism gone mad I tell you.  Karl Marx saw it coming, and he’d have had a field day with them these days.  When you go to some of these online bookstores and type in an author’s name you’re lucky to find a book at all; you’re more likely to find a set of steak knives if you type in Raymond Carver for goodness sake!

This isn’t just a joke either.  When you type in the name of a book you’ll often come up with the movie version, or even worse the video game version of what you’re after.  You try these online bookstore search engines with a title such as Dracula and see what you get.  I guarantee you that you’ll get movies, toys, video games and books; what you get first will usually depend on the popularity of the item, and in this case it’s more than likely going to the movie version of Bram Stoker’s Dracula; not a bad movie, but none the less, not the novel you’re after.

What’s to be done?

Well you simply have to turn your attention to the more classic and traditional online bookstores that cater for all genres of fiction books and non fiction books, but do not have movies and all that other nonsense to go at; they do exist, and in fact Skoobebooks is one of them!

When I want a book I go to a bookstore, whether that is an online bookstore or one on the high street.  You wouldn’t expect to walk into Waterstones and pick up a DVD and a game for your child’s Nintendo DS would you?  And the same goes for a shoe shop.  You wouldn’t walk into a shoe store and expect to be able to buy a book would you?

Bookstores should remain bookstores, and department stores should remain department stores, and if they can’t then they should change their name!  I’m done ranting and raving, but if you do have a comment then please do leave one for me.

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  • I have to admit that I only agree with half of this. It doesn’t really bother me what a retailer sells / doesn’t sell. When you can get a coke from a chemist’s, then you know you’ve lost the demarcation line war anyway. However, I do agree with the issue of search returns. It was only after an old boss of mine, Bob Young, had a business meeting with Google execs, did I realise that the sort-of random return, or perhaps at best, apt returns when searching, are purely for Joe and Josephine Schmoe. As usual with this world, big business ensures that returns favour them, even if it means paying handomsely for the privilege (and they do), and that’s why you no longer get the now well out of copyright and possibly now low-selling novel – Dracula, but instead get all the big selling derivations and sub to this, its merchandising, when searching on same. Yes, it’s wrong, but what to be done?

  • You cannot psosibly make a profit buying 5-year old books, retail, and then attempting to sell on eBay.All the bookstores buy books in large quantities (by the pallet or truckload), to get the best price. Until you have the millions needed to be large, stay small.Find out when your local libraries have their annual sales, and go early. Study what is selling, what is not, buy low, and sell low. I’ve had good success buying on eBay and selling on Amazon, or the other way around. Search the books on eBay for quantity lots, and see what they are bringing on Amazon, buy the ones where there is a profit.If you cannot double your money, MINIMUM!, pass, you won’t end up making any net money. Put an ad in Craigslist to buy books.Takes a LOT of work to make a little money.I have $200,000 in retail value in books in stock, and sell less than $500 a month. You figure the profit margins Of course, I’d sell the works for under $40000.Rich