Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Abebooks.com FillZ up

Abebooks.com, a booklisting service for booksellers, announced its second big purchase on 2/27/2006: FillZ.

ABE.com has been a sore spot for many booksellers for some time now with their loss of Amazon, Half and BN.com as venues for their booksellers. (Amazon decided against allowing any booklisting services on their site and
BN.com went solely with Alibris.com as their outlet for used books. Half.com's another story.) ABE also made their booksellers' contact information difficult to find and major inventory upload problems were big a short time ago. Other items of dissatisfaction have been discussed on ABE's bookseller forum, making these complaints privy only to registered booksellers (and rightly so!). This acquisition announcement comes closely on the heels of ABE's new credit card processing mandate where they alone will process credit payments.

From their press release:
"Today's acquisition is Abebooks' second in five months and confirms its continuing commitment to assisting professional online booksellers - more than 13,500 sellers in 53 countries currently sell through Abebooks. California-based
BookFinder.com, the leading price comparison shopping site for books, was acquired in November 2005. Like BookFinder.com, FillZ will continue to operate independently but have access to Abebooks resources to encourage growth."

FillZ an inventory management system that supports over 10 venues, includes a repricer among its components. The inventory repricer allows booksellers to reprice their books on each selling venue independently of the others. Alibris.com developed their Alibris Inventory Manager "a comprehensive set of value-added inventory management tools available to all Alibris booksellers...free of charge." Alibris' software also includes a repricer.

Within the last five years or less, numerous so-called inventory management systems have been developed. Nearly all, if not all, contain a repricing element. The big buzzword among listing services and the software developers/marketers is competetive pricing. Competitive my arse! With regards to books, competetive has come to mean lowest priced or nearly so. Sure many books are not worth much more than a few cents, like the many million produced copies of Danielle Steele, Tom Clancy and other mass market paperbacks. Those are a dime a dozen and if you live where no used bookstores exist, a penny or so plus shipping isn't a bad deal. But, with more and more people selling books, prices dropping lower and lower every year and the increased number of bookselling sites booksellers use to try to make a living, inventory management systems that include repricers have become a fact of life.

I am not a propronent of repricers. I do not use any inventory management system other than
HomeBase, a free database software offered by ABE. I don't take stock in repricing; my business plan does not cover repricing or the need for it. I believe I am in the minority.

Oh yeah, if you aren't aware of this tidbit,
ebay is having a 10 cent Fixed Price listing day today only.

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