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« The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale | Main | Book Buying Survey »

February 20, 2009


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I like the flat postage rate, and wouldn't like it to be removed, as the large sellers would soon reduce the current minimum book price (£2.76) to much lower levels.

I actually think the current £2.75 is quite generous, as my average postal cost is only around £1.40.

An increasing number of buyers are aware of sellers feedback now. So it is possible to sell books way above the minimum price, as long as you have good feedback and are prepared to wait a bit.

You just need to make sure that you factor the real postage cost into the book price, so heavy books will always be more expensive.

That depends - I recently sold a lovely copy of Stubbs' Anatomy of the Horse which I special deliveried and that cost £18.00 I did still make a profit as it was an expensive book to start with, but Juxtabook is quite right. Standard large hardbacks just aren't worth selling on the large sites unless you're prepared to have enormous amounts of stock sitting around for years. It's a pity ebay have changed their postage policy now, as ebay was a way I sold a lot of large and expensive books. I still stock them, but am more likely to sell them via my own website now.

I have stopped stocking a lot of standard equestrian non fiction. I can't compete with someone selling a book for 1p, with £2.75 postage when it will cost me over £3.00 to post - not when I've paid someone rather more than 1p for it!

As more sellers come into the market it becomes harder to sell some things, as there are too many other people selling the same thing cheaply.

I think its good that it isn't easy to sell books online for a profit. It means that only those people with specialist knowledge will survive in the long term

Hello both - looks like just the booksellers are weighing in on this one. I am not necessarily saying that the should change the flat rate on Amazon, just that it will change the market and possibly the stock of secondhand books available. I think the really bad thing is that both Amazona and ebay now have this rate policy. They are probably the best known used book outlets and by operating the same police bookdealers have their choices of business model limited. Customers also have some choices limited too. I used to stock classic fiction at about £1.25 for a Penguin Classic say, and typcially £1.25 or £1.50 postage - that's less than customers pay on Amazon but because Amazon has cornered the market it took me too long to sell them to make it worth while. Classics have gone to the antiques centre unit will the big books as a result.

I do agree Jackie that the market is better with specialist sellers, and that competition is good, but when Amazon and Ebay make up such a large part of the market things get silted up. There needs to competition between selling sites as well as between dealers. I agree with Jane that my own site is becoming more and more valuable to me as I set the policies and customers know what they are getting. I have a nominal flat rate on there which I can afford because sales don't attract commission and because I set ehat the rate is, and because of that I reduce the postage for little books which is fairer for those customers too.

I agree - more competition between selling sites would be great! Amazon + Ebay commision is so large a percentage of the sale. It would be great if there was a popular independant site which worked too.

I have little to add to the discussion here: I arrived because someone linked from this blog to mine, so I thought I'd come on over and see what you were talking about--and was very surprised (in a good way!) to see those three book covers lined up before me because decades ago, when I had barely written a thing, I did just a little bit of research work on that Tolkien book: I think it was only my second or third credit, and I haven't seen it for years.

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