Online Book Stores

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Re: Online Book Stores

Postby deej » 06 Apr 2010, 08:33

FranW wrote:
deej wrote:Welllllll when you click on the Bella Books, Bella's logo comes up when you click on LGBT Bookshop, Bold Strokes Books logo comes up? I'm guessing this is one more step of Rad's to do it all?


No, both links go to BSB 's books at that bookstore -- I matched them to show how identical they are.


Yes but when you open both of them, Bella books logo appears at the top of the page and also on the tab that's opened. When you open the LBGT click, it clearly reads Bold Strokes Books on the Tab and as the logo on the page.
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Re: Online Book Stores

Postby FranW » 06 Apr 2010, 08:34

Yeah, but if you go to any given publisher's listings on the GLBT page, the publisher's name comes up in the tab.
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Re: Online Book Stores

Postby beerbohm » 04 Apr 2011, 14:36

This is an online bookselling/publisher point so I think it'll be OK here.

Recently it was announced that Zvab/Choosebooks was purchased by ABE. Zvab is a German based antiquarian site. Choosebooks was an American book listing site that was taken over by the the owners of Zvab in 2004.

Not very earth shattering news.

Zvab/Cbooks is reckoned to be the fourth strongest of the secondhand book sites after ABE, Alibris & Biblio. Added to that list & probably a long way in front should be Amazon as a secondhand lister.

Amazon owns ABE & now ABE owns Zvab, it's almost certain that the English Language Choosebooks will be shut down. ABE also owns the old Justbooks, the Bookfinder search site, Chrislands, a company that specialises in producing websites for independent booksellers, Fillz.com - a book data company & several national versions of ABE.

This contraction of the secondhand market may not seem important, especially to the authors amongst you who will obviously want the scarce royalties from the sale of new books, but I think it does matter when so much of the control of book sales is vested in one company.

You have to look at the reasons why a large company like Amazon think it's so important to provide a venue for small scale sellers such as myself & why they want to control the major secondhand listing sites. Of course it's about money but not the money they earn in commission from booksellers or profit from listing sites. The main economic driver is the one that says if you have to tell your customer that you don't have the stock they may go & find it elsewhere and then they risk not just losing the single sale but many subsequent ones.

This isn't new, pre internet the high street chains had the same obsession and had lengthy wants listings in the secondhand trade mags every week. In new books, Murdoch tried his hand at cornering the book market by first buying out many of the publishers and buying into the high street chains, the '87 crash scuppered that project (another long story that I won't bore you with) but during that period independent sellers of new books had their margins pared to the bone.

Amazon has developed the biggest market for book sales. Customers in my shop would ask for books I didn't have, if I suggested they try the internet it amazed me how many times they would say "I looked on Amazon" the implication being if it wasn't there it wouldn't be anywhere else. Now that is shit hot marketing.

I sell through Amazon, I buy through Amazon. They may know squat about books but they know about online selling.

I list my books on several other sites, I sell very few books that way except when Amazon is down & orders come from the smaller sites (probably via google). The general customer trusts Amazon & Google.

Why am I taking the trouble to mention this here. Mainly because I think that the internet has been great for the development of gay & lesbian fiction. When I was young the tiny amount of lesfic was published via the soft porn market. Sort of limited. From the 70's to 2000 there was, in comparative terms, a huge growth, with small scale publishers, womens book shops etc. However it's the internet that's seen the biggest development in titles, writers have emerged & publishers have been able to take their books directly to the customer. I would really like to see that continue.

The trouble is that whilst the publishers have their own shops they are also using sites such as Amazon to sell through. I know that some of the publishers treat these sites with caution. They maybe delay sales of new releases through other sites by a few weeks, they maintain prices so that their authors receive proper royalties. I'm not sure what percentage of their sales come directly from their own sites or from Amazon et al but I do believe that if they don't concentrate very hard on selling directly to customers then Amazon will gradually put the squeeze on them.

I've been taking a look at a number of GLBT sites in the last couple of weeks and in some ways they're very good. If I want info about the author, new publications, events etc. great. If I want to buy the book or even worse download the ebook, not so good. All these publishers start with a disadvantage. If I want to to buy four books from four different publishers I have to put in my details four times - I can go to Amazon & four clicks and I'm done. You may think I'm being idle here, but consider this, a few years ago I wouldn't have expected to make sales to universities & libraries through Amazon - until the introduction of 1-click. In the last few years my sales of books in the £350+ mark have all come through Amazon. (No I don't have many in that price range but Az sells the ones I have)

Last month in AE, an American antiquarian bookseller & techie gave an interview in which he described how his business had developed strategies to liberate themselves from the large online listers. Although aimed at the antiquarian book trade I think it makes interesting reading for any small publisher. The first link is to the recent interview, the second to a longer speech he made in 2008. Worth considering by anybody engaged in book retailing.

http://www.americanaexchange.com/AE/AEM ... &Year=2011

http://www.betweenthecovers.com/btc/articles/70



Edited by Baker: added some spaces to make the post easier to read.
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Re: Online Book Stores

Postby FranW » 05 Apr 2011, 19:15

Beerbohm, I must be particularly stupid today because I couldn't figure out what point you were trying to make. If you're saying that lesfic needs dedicated bookstores online that offer books from all the lesfic publishers....um, Starcrossed did that for a decade or so, and now Moon Horse Books has filled that niche.
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Re: Online Book Stores

Postby Sacchi » 06 Apr 2011, 02:12

Radclyffe wants to attract readers for her werewolf fiction who might just think "ewwww, romance" if she used her more famous name. I can understand that.

Bold Strokes has branched out with several imprints. Greg Herren is now an acquiring editor for gay male books, and Steve Berman, besides editing a YA anthology for BSB, is their acquiring editor for YA books. (Steve told me once that YA books really need to be visible in bookstores, since kids are not as likely to be ordering books online with credit cards or knowing what's available. BSB has the clout to accomplish that better than Lethe can at this stage.)

Yep, taking over the world, but I don't fault them for this aspect of it.
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Re: Online Book Stores

Postby FranW » 06 Apr 2011, 07:06

I can't argue with that, Sacch. Radclyffe knows how to sell books, and she's doing it well, for herself and her company. She's put the time and money into her company -- it's impossible to get books into bookstores without those. Branching into gay male fiction is almost guaranteed to increase the press's worth since gay male fiction hugely outsells lesbian fiction. And pulling in a name like Steve Berman is pure genius.
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Re: Online Book Stores

Postby beerbohm » 06 Apr 2011, 08:16

FranW wrote:Beerbohm, I must be particularly stupid today because I couldn't figure out what point you were trying to make. If you're saying that lesfic needs dedicated bookstores online that offer books from all the lesfic publishers....um, Starcrossed did that for a decade or so, and now Moon Horse Books has filled that niche.


I understand the confusion - I don't think I did a very good job explaining my point.
It's rather wider than lesfic.
Attempts are regularly made to control the stream of book publication. You'd think that in these times of limited censorship that it would be difficult to do, but it isn't. All you have to do is control the main retail outlets. I'm not suggesting that all outlets can be blocked, obviously anybody can publish, books can be written & distributed. However the number of sales from any publisher/author can be substantially reduced if publishers/authors are priced out of the mainstream distribution chain especially with a monopoly.
Try this - You start a new publishing company Fantasticlesfic.com. You get your authors, you produce your books in hard copy & ebook form. You set up your website & online shop to distribute. You want to grow so you look for other outlets, b & m shops & online listers. You start to build a customer base that doesn't go to your shop to purchase. Your sales grow, you take on more authors. You concentrate your efforts on producing good books but, of course, at a cost. You still have your own dedicated sales site but you are now putting all your efforts into producing more titles. No problem because there are all these b&m stores & online listers who are the dedicated retailers. Then your main online retailer starts charging more so you think "I'm not paying that" & look around for other outlets. Then you find that they're not there. The b&m shops have shut & the major on-line listers, although apparently numerous, are owned by a few companies. You have the choice of reducing sales or margins.
Companies like Amazon work at making the source seller anonymous for a reason.
The only way that small scale sellers/publishers can continue is to make sure that they have a strong connection to their customers. They have to work hard to keep control of distribution. That doesn't mean not using other outlets but it does require keeping their eye on the ball.
Hope I haven't complicated matters further.
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Re: Online Book Stores

Postby FranW » 06 Apr 2011, 09:29

Beerb, that has been the case with physical bookstores for several decades. The indie bookshops all went under because a very limited number of distributors took over, and only the chain bookstores survived (for a while, anyhow; not Borders obviously!). This is why the publishing houses, in turn, have all become conglomerates, or have gone out of business. The distributors take a bigger cut than they used to, and the dominant chains also increased their cut, so publishers went from making a reasonable profit to living on a knife edge. They've all merged to gain the economies of scale, and they've cut back the midlist to concentrate on blockbuster sellers.
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Re: Online Book Stores

Postby beerbohm » 06 Apr 2011, 10:02

That's right FranW. However there is an added level of difficulty now. I think there's an assumption that because the internet is so accessible it should be possible for very small companies to compete with much larger ones within their niche. I think the danger is that we become complacent and assume we will always be able to ride on their backs. The other problem is that as sellers realise how dependent they've become they tend to throw up their hands in despair rather than look for solutions. I'm on the let's try to reduce the risks by doing things another way wing.
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Re: Online Book Stores

Postby Proofrdr » 20 Jun 2011, 00:47

All is not well in Amazon.com land. This from Writer's Blog replete with their spelling errors:
Reuters reports that spam books are clogging Amazon's Kingle bookstore. Amazon.com is going to have to find a way to filter out spam books from its index. Reuters reports that the online retailer's Kindle store is being swamped with unworthy titles, which are submitted through its self-publishing system. Many of the spam titles are sold for just 99 cents.

In the most problematic cases, authors are finding their original work copied and published under another name. Reuters also says DVDs, called Autopilot Kingle Cash, are also available that teach people how to create 10 to 20 spam books daily without writing a single word. The Atlantic has more details about these annoying spam kits here
Reuters says ebook spam has yet to kit the Barnes & Noble's Nook store, but it probably isn't far off.

There are also lots of computer generated titles being published. A company named BiblioBazaar cranked out over 270,000 titles in 2009.


The nice ring to "Kingle" notwithstanding, this article highlights the huge problems of pirated works and "unworthy" titles flooding the web.


Edited to add link.
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