Apr 112005

I have a kernel of an idea that I will be exploring here over, most likely, several posts. The issue is the nature and implications of the online aggregators for bookselling. As a starting point, I will make the following observation: The problem with the likes of ABE is that all “dealers” are, to all extent and purposes, “equal.” That is to say, they have built a “mall” where the weekend flea market seller, the consignment dealer, the Dollar Store, Saks Fifth Avenue and Fendi are all treated the same…and, to the customer, are indistinguishable from each-other.

The book market used to have/has a number of viable and equally important business models. The lines separating the various approaches has become increasingly murky. High end dealers who used to lot out dreck are now listing much of of it (often ignoring the margins), used dealers who would direct particularly good items to a boutique dealer now believe (oft times, correctly) that they can sell the volume just as well themselves and at a greater return. The net of this is that far too many are engaged in a race to mediocrity…

So fair warning…there will be a series of posts on topics thus related.

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