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Thread: Virtual Sales and the Internet Bookshops

  1. #1
    Banned Bo Sullivan's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Virtual Sales and the Internet Bookshops

    Does anyone know if all books listed on Internet Bookshops sites are actually virtual sales that have not yet taken place.

    I recently was subjected to this through my book which appeared in an auction on Ebay selling 25 books and it turned out to be a virtual sale where the bookseller was trying to drum up business before he bought the books, and as it turned out he was asking impossible prices, so the auction sale did not take place.

    If this is the case then authors are well recommended not to count their chickens before they are hatched!

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW LloydBrown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duped
    Does anyone know if all books listed on Internet Bookshops sites are actually virtual sales that have not yet taken place.
    Some retailers do. Some don't.

    If this is the case then authors are well recommended not to count their chickens before they are hatched!
    I don't know what you mean here. If they don't sell, it doesn't affect you at all. If they do, then you've sold books. What's wrong with it from the writer's POV? From a customer's POV, I can see a problem--potentially long shipping delays.
    Lloyd Brown
    www.lloydwrites.com


  3. #3
    Banned Bo Sullivan's Avatar
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    The only problem being that I thought it meant I had achieved sales and this was not the case!

  4. #4
    Banned Bo Sullivan's Avatar
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    And as I surfed the net I found books listed as in stock on internet bookstore websites and it is misleading if nothing else. It gives the author the feeling that things are going well when in fact it is quite the opposite.

  5. #5
    The late, the great XThe NavigatorX mdin's Avatar
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    Several booksellers on Amazon and other sites will list everything available via Ingram. I think a lot of these sellers have software programs that automate it, so they don't even know all the titles they have available. Sometimes they'll even say the book is used when it isn't.

    The best way to see this in action is to pick a random Publish America title. Like this one. No sales rank, but six used and new. Are there six copies out there? Nope. Not a single one of those stores has a copy of the book. If an order comes in, they order it using their retailer's discount just like an bookstore could special order it.

    My Art

  6. #6
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    The internet is a very, very small part of bookselling.

    Generally speaking, an internet bookstore is just a database of ISBNs, not backed by a real physical copy. If the bookstore gets an order, they pick up a copy wholesale and ship it. They can offer somewhat lower prices because they aren't warehousing stock.

    Some Internet bookstores do have physical copies, but they're usually either used bookstores or associated with major chains or bookstores that you've already heard of.

    (Amazon has a series of warehouses but you can drive yourself nuts watching Amazon sales ranks without ever learning anything useful.)

  7. #7
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald
    The internet is a very, very small part of bookselling.
    Around 10%, I believe.

    - Victoria

  8. #8
    Writting broad batgirl's Avatar
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    This may be glancingly relevant - the job I actually get paid for is finding out-of-print books for an academic library, usually by searching on the internet. I've noticed the appearance of several 'virtual warehouse' bookstores that don't actually have any stock, and may not have a physical address. They're just searches, and if you try to order a book from them, the majority of times (unless it's a readily available title you could find in Chapters or Borders anyways) they'll take a month or so to get around to telling you that they couldn't find it.
    I'm guessing Uncle Jim is quite right in suggesting that they just copy all the Ingram listings. The same deal on Amazon, whenever they say a book 'usually ships in 5 to 8 weeks' or any other multiple of weeks. They don't have the book. It doesn't take more than one week to find a book in a real, physical warehouse.
    Anyway, there are more and more of these false fronts popping up. I keep a list of names by my work terminal, and I'm about to copy it to a larger piece of paper. I also have a partial list of red flags for any new big dealer.
    -Barbara
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  9. #9
    fantasy dweller
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    another note

    Barbara I read your job description and so on another note, are you familiar with Baldwin's Book Barn? It's quite near Chadds Ford PA. These folks have a real barn with three floors of books--many rare. Last year I found an old leather bound copy of Napoleon's Russian Campaign by Count Philippe-Paul de Segur. Being a Bonapartist at heart (I long for the empire) I nearly cried.
    Anyway, if you haven't found them yet they're on the web and I recommend them.
    PS. I have no affiliation with BBB nor do I know anyone personally who works there.
    Cm.


    Quote Originally Posted by batgirl
    This may be glancingly relevant - the job I actually get paid for is finding out-of-print books for an academic library, usually by searching on the internet. I've noticed the appearance of several 'virtual warehouse' bookstores that don't actually have any stock, and may not have a physical address. They're just searches, and if you try to order a book from them, the majority of times (unless it's a readily available title you could find in Chapters or Borders anyways) they'll take a month or so to get around to telling you that they couldn't find it.
    I'm guessing Uncle Jim is quite right in suggesting that they just copy all the Ingram listings. The same deal on Amazon, whenever they say a book 'usually ships in 5 to 8 weeks' or any other multiple of weeks. They don't have the book. It doesn't take more than one week to find a book in a real, physical warehouse.
    Anyway, there are more and more of these false fronts popping up. I keep a list of names by my work terminal, and I'm about to copy it to a larger piece of paper. I also have a partial list of red flags for any new big dealer.
    -Barbara

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