Netherland. Joseph O'Neill
This inflation thing is getting out of hand...

Bookselling for Dummies

The first customer of the day today is one of our favourite local authors, a lady who has supported us from the day we first opened.

She asks me if she can order a book.

I look the book up for her and tell her that it looks like it will take about a week to come in.

She nods and then asks, almost as an afterthought, and how much is it?

It's fifteen ninety nine, I tell her.

She pauses, but it's seven ninety nine on Am*zon, she says.

Is it? I say. My heart sinks.

I'm no expert, she says, but why can't you order it from Amaz*n and then charge me ten ninety nine?

Well, there's the postage, I say, hopelessly, and also, it would be admitting defeat.

But seven ninety nine? How can that be? She asks.

Well, I say, it's because, UK publishers already give the biggest terms in the world, far larger than the US and Australia, to Amaz*n.

I continue, and when I have finished telling my customer that publishers are now complaining that the only people benefiting from the *value chain* are Amaz*n and that if it carries on like this, they are worried that pretty soon there won't be any bookshops left (Twats. Cake. Eat.), I am foaming at the mouth (possibly), and our lovely local author customer is looking a bit startled.

Don't worry, she says, I'll still buy it from you.

Thank you, I say. And I mean it.


Clive Keeble

My first sale of the day here was Benazir Bhutto "Reconciliation", which I have sold at £5 off from the day after publication when Amaz*n apparently played dirty tricks with the publishers. The "buy now" direct button mysteriously disappeared, and then re-appeared two days later with the discount increased from 30% to 50% : the publishers muttered something about a technical glitch.

I virtually never discount, because I cannot give away the bottom line. However, Amaz*n will discount a £17.99 title by 50% which currently stands at over 80,000 in their sales ranking. Responsibility for killing the market and sales for this title must firmly lay at The Basin's feet.

Thankfully I have a solid customer base who accept that "high street" bookshops have a substantial investment in stock : many of my customers have noted the supply terms on Amaz*n Advantage programme where they only pay in arrears after an actual sale has been made and furthermore demand either 55% or 60% discount.

At times I tend to fluctuate from acute depression in worrying about the trade's future and sheer elation when somehow my business manages to get through another difficult trading month.

Yesterday I had one of those special days when established customers purchased a varied selection of quality titles, in many instances they would have been at both a price and supply disadvantge on Amaz*n.

When we say "thank you" to customers it is very from the heart, for without our regulars we would be closed for ever. Too many quality bookshops are closing here in the West Country : apparently Truro Bookshop which specialised in Cornish and academic titles recently went out of business.

On a lighter note I see that both Crystal Palace and Yeovil are going to compete in a pre-season tournament here in the west country

chris walker


Clive - I've received a copy of Of Mice and Men in the Penguin A format edition. The copy I sold last week was £5.99 the new copy is £8.99...

Hi Chris - thanks for the link, I've ordered your books for you.

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