I wasn’t on this forum then, but I had been selling books for awhile.
I was a “hobby” seller, not trying to make a living–but I did want to make a small profit. I always had some niche-market books, and I sold nothing lower than Very Good. I could never compete with the penny sellers so I just didn’t list books like that.
The recently increased fees made it so difficult to turn a profit that I’m out of the business now. I have to price too high to make it worth my while.
You are both full of it.
(BTW, anyone selling anything is at the mercy of market forces. Even erstwhile giants like Sears, Macy’s, and yes someday Amazon eventually do not understand those forces and fail.)
We sell books as that is the perfect excuse for looking for finds and our huge inventory we “someday” will list for sale because otherwise your relatives call you a hoarder! Luckily our other media makes real money!
OK, so where is the market heading?
The only thing that seems clear is that sooner or later almost nobody will read paper books, except a handful of collectors and paper die-hards. Eliminating paper will require further technical breakthroughs. I am not happy about the coming death of paper media, but that is the future of the market. Like Kodak and photographs.
What i am noticing by the responses this time compared to five years ago is that the enthusiasm and determination has waned . There doesn’t seem to be the " fire in the belly" or the "we will survive no matter what " that here was back then. Maybe the book sellers are not reading the forums much anymore?
It is true, buying and finding interesting stuff is more fun than selling lately. I am 62 and going back to my old career before bookselling is tempting, but books have a way of capturing your imagination, so much usefull and interesting information and knowledge.
What I meant by understanding market forces is not that I am God and can predict the future, but simply that by selling books for the last 10 years i see some trends and try my best to understand where the market is heading and what buyers are looking for. i cannot speak for Lake but I know tha he has been selling books even longer than i have , and i respect his opinions.
Sold books for only 3 years, at first it was killer, easy money. As the fees began to stack up it just became less interesting. My own products are much more lucrative so that is where I put my attention now.
Have a just a couple boxes of MF books to go and I’ll be out of that altogether. Really don’t even care if they sell. If not gone within 6 months will donate them.
Great thread… again!
So interesting to read all the predictions from years ago.
Been selling books on Amazon almost 10 years now… Book selling has changed, no doubt. But still a viable business if you work hard and keep learning. I’ve seen many longtime booksellers refuse to learn and phase themselves out. And I’ve seen many new faces with scanner in hand gone in a matter of months.
Seems we were all so frightened by e-readers five years ago. And they have cut deeply into the new fiction market. But there was never great resale value there anyway.
I do agree that Amazon and their ever changing fees, rules, and restrictions are the true gatekeepers of the used book market. It will be interesting to revisit this thread again in five years and see where we all have landed!