Amazon announced their earnings and stated that book (and all media) sales were flat but they are back-logged on Kindles.  Does this matter to us small online booksellers given our scale is so much smaller then Amazon’s?  Long term I think it matters if the Kindle really becomes an option for people.

People who buy Kindles are either gadget heads who just want the latest thing or they are avid readers who love having a portable library.  The avid readers are likely avid book buyers so the transition of their book sales to electronic form will have a long-term negative effect on online booksellers.  Will this happen soon – not likely but it does not bode well. 

One of the issues with the Kindle is that Amazon is pricing titles on it less than they are a regular copy of a book.  This can have the effect of havingo nline booksellers trying to beat the Kindle price on books.  I am not sure if the inventory and scouting services are showing Kindle prices yet but maybe they should.

Lets not forget that the Kindle is not the only device out there – Sony also makes one and you can even put books on your iPhone.  Sales of the Kindle are one thing but it remains to be seen if people are actually going to adapt to using it as their primary way to read – as we have seen with Amazon recenlty deleting Orwell titles there are several issues with the Kindle that will effect its popularity.

Electronic reading devices are going to have to become a whole lot more popular for online booksellers to throw in the towel

There is almost never a case when I do not accept returns - most markets require you to accept them (see Amazon's A-Z policy). I keep my return policy simple. The only time I have not accepted a return is when a significant amount of time has passed between the purchase date and the return date or if the books condition is materially different from when I sold it (such as full of highlighting). Sometimes it is easy to lose sight of the customer experience when I run a business from home and do not interact with the customers. Continue reading
What does CWS mean for us booksellers? Not much. You will not have your account credited until you ship a book. If you use The Art of Books or a similar inventory management system Amazon should be automatically updated when the book is shipped. There are a couple of downsides to Amazon's Charge When Shipped - you do not get to send your own confirmation email to the buyer and the buyer can still leave feedback on a canceled order. Continue reading
The question isn't if you should collect sales tax because that is impossible to do on most sites except eBay. Trying to collect sales taxes would kill sales if you are the only one doing it. Now - I am not a lawyer or accountant so I will simply tell you what I do - which is to pay my states sales taxes Continue reading

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