Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Oxford English Dictionary 'will not be printed again'

The next edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, the world’s most definitive work on the language, will never be printed because of the impact of the internet on book sales.

More from The Daily Telegraph
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Sunday, 29 August 2010

Amazon Marketplace Disbursements

Your earnings are automatically transferred to your bank account every two weeks and take about a week to appear in your account. You can also initiate a transfer once every twenty-four hours. Some sellers 'disburse' once a week and others every day.

When deciding on how often you should transfer your funds, it's worth bearing in mind how much money you can afford not to access for up to 30 days. The reason for this is that if Amazon suspects that there are any problems with your account, they will suspend your account first and ask questions later. An account can be suspended for something as small as your credit card expiring as well as more serious breaches of their terms and conditions.

If it is only your credit card that has expired, you can get access to your account soon after you supply the revised details or register a different card.

Unfortunately, Amazon only let you know that there is a problem with you card when you try to do something like disbursing your earnings. In this case you will receive an email telling you that “Your Amazon.co.uk Marketplace deposit is on its way”, but within the hour you will receive another email telling you that your disbursement has been delayed. In reality, the payment has reversed and you won't be able to initiate a another transfer of funds for 24 hours.

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Saturday, 28 August 2010

Book Depository's sales rise 20 per cent

The Book Depository's sales in its latest financial year have increased by more than 20 per cent to £74.2m. For the year ending June 2010, sales increased by more than £12.7m. The internet retailer, which won the BDS Direct Bookselling Award at the Bookseller Industry Awards in May, refused to disclose profits for the business.

More from The Bookseller
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Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Waterstone's to open bar and restaurants

Waterstone's is opening a new bar and restaurant in its Manchester Deansgate branch and a new café in its Cambridge Sydney Street branch.

More from TheBookseller.com
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Saturday, 21 August 2010

EU responds to Amazon Price Parity complaint

The European Commission has responded to MEP Graham Watson's Parliamentary Question on concerns about Amazon's Price Parity policy:

The Commission wishes to inform the Honourable Member that the Commission follows very closely the developments in the market for the online sales of books and is aware of Amazon's price policy.

As regards compliance with competition rules, Article 101 TFEU prohibits anti-competitive agreements between two or more companies. In this case, it concerns a unilateral decision taken by Amazon. Therefore, it appears that Article 101 is not applicable. Article 102 TFEU prohibits companies with a dominant market position from abusing their position. However, the Commission has not assessed whether Amazon has a dominant position. The Commission is hence not in a position at this stage to take a view on whether or not Amazon's price policy is in line with EU competition rules.

As far as small book retailers are concerned, the Commission would like to inform the Honourable Member that so far it has not received any formal complaints in the matter of Amazon's price parity. The Commission will continue to monitor the developments in the market for the online sales of books so as to ensure that competition and level playing field is preserved amongst all market players.

This response raises a number of interesting points:
  • Although Price Parity was initially a unilateral decision taken by Amazon, what happens if a company which sells on Amazon Marketplace complies with the policy? Would this be considered to be an 'agreement between two or more companies' and would it put the seller in breach of Article 101 TFEU?

  • Although Article 102 TFEU prohibits companies with a dominant market position from abusing their position, it was surprising to hear that the Commission has not assessed whether a major player like Amazon has a dominant position.

  • What constitutes a formal complaint? We know of several sellers who have complained through their MEP and we also know that the IOBA wrote a letter of complaint to the European Commission.

Graham Watson has written directly to the Commissioner to register the concerns that have been expressed to him and to ask the Commission to investigate Amazon's market position and policy. He also said that he will continue to pursue this important matter with the Commission, and will keep the bookselling community updated with any progress.

The question of how vigorously Amazon are enforcing their Price Parity policy still remains. We know that they have added a 'Tell us about a lower price' link on their product pages, but that would only be effective for new books. There is no mention of Price Parity in the Amazon.com Terms and Conditions - and Amazon Germany does not enforce Price Parity for books. We have seen no evidence - apart from The Book Depository's apparent departure - of any seller being warned about non compliance. Please let us know if you have any information regarding Amazon's enforcement of this policy. You can do this anonymously by adding a comment to this article.

Also see:
Amazon introduces Price Parity policy
Amazon Referred to European Commission
Amazon Price Parity Does Not Apply to Books...
Amazon Introduces 'Tell us about a lower price'
Has 'The Book Depository' left Amazon?
Copy of the IOBA's letter of complaint

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Friday, 20 August 2010

A.S. Byatt and John Carey win oldest book prizes

Novelist A.S. Byatt and critic John Carey have been announced as the winners of Britain's oldest literary awards. They were awarded James Tait Black Memorial Prizes which are for best work of fiction and the best biography published during the previous 12 months.

More from the BBC
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Used book sales on the up

A poor economy drives supply and demand according to a report by Publishers Weekly. For example, Alibris had a great 2009 with double-digit growth and is still seeing growth overall in 2010.

More from Pubishers Weekly
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UK Book sales reach 15 month high

Book sales have been higher than last year for the fourth consecutive week, the first time the market has experienced continuous growth over a four-week period for almost 15 months.

According to Nielsen BookScan's 'Total Consumer Market' panel of some 6,500 UK book retail outlets, just over £2.5m more has been spent on books over the four-weeks to 14th August period in 2010 than last year — up 2.1%, and up 3.3% on the same period in 2008.

More from 'The Bookseller.com'
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Friday, 13 August 2010

US publisher to abandon traditional publishing

Dorchester Publishing Inc, announced that it was abandoning traditional publishing and moving over entirely to POD and e-books. Last year sales dropped 25 per cent.

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Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Video of in-store Print on Demand machine

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Wylie's exclusive eBook deal with Amazon

Last week's news of literary agent Andrew Wylie's exclusive agreement with Amazon.com to publish Kindle editions of 20 backlist titles by notable writers represented by Wylie provoked strong reactions among some major publishers and elicited extensive industry discussion regarding the implications of this agreement.

More from the ABA
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Friday, 6 August 2010

Apple faces lawsuit over 'iPad is like a book' claim

Apple is a facing a class action lawsuit in California from consumers who feel that Apple's claim that 'reading on the iPad is just like reading a book,' is false. The claim was filed last week claiming that because the iPad overheats after prolonged use and its poor visibility in sunlight prevent it from living up to Apple's marketing promise. There is a link to the actual legal document (PDF format) within the link below:

More from The Consumerist

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Amazon.com Marketplace launches shipping service

Except that it isn't really a shipping service and it isn't FBA (Fulfilment by Amazon). It's just an online postage buying service - much like PayPal have been doing for some time now. Sellers buy postage through their Manage Orders pages by clicking the Buy Postage button under the order's Product Details section.

Amazon Seller Support Blog

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

This weekend's PBFA Book Fairs

Saturday, 7 August, 10.00am-5.00pm
Reid Hall, Castle Street, Forfar, DD8 3HX

Sunday, 8 August, 10.00am-5.00pm
Victoria Hall, Station Square, Ballater, AB35 5QB

Sunday, 8 August, Noon-5.00pm
Holiday Inn London Bloomsbury, Coram Street, London WC1N 1HT

Biggest U.S. book chain up for sale

Barnes and Noble in the USA is struggling and is considering a sale of the America’s largest bookstore chain.

More from The New York Times

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Feedback plummets on Amazon Marketplace

Many Amazon Marketplace sellers are reporting a significant drop in the amount of feedback that they are receiving from their customers. One of the reasons for this is that Amazon do not allow customers to leave feedback until 48 hours after despatch. Although this prevents impatient customers from leaving negative feedback too early for non delivery, it does have the effect of penalising efficient sellers and frustrating customers who want to leave feedback as soon as they receive their order.

Amazon's responses to seller complaints have - to say the least - been varied:

"Feedback issue being addressed... highest priority."

"There is a delay for leaving feedback. Buyers must wait the estimated delivery time has been concluded before leaving feedback to ensure that buyer has received the item prior to leaving feedback."

"If your buyers are having trouble leaving feedback, please ask them to contact our customer service department. Their phone number is 0800 496 1081."

"No issue - buyer in question needs clear details on 'How to leave feedback'."

And Amazon's response to a buyer complaint (edited to correct the English):

"As you know you can leave feedback only when estimated delivery date has passed. We have set this time frame based on inputs from sellers [!] and various resources."


Monday, 2 August 2010

Has 'The Book Depository' left Amazon?

During my recent browsings of of the the Amazon.co.uk website, I realised that I hadn't seen any listings by The Book Depository. An example of this is Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol. The Book Depository would normally list a popular book like this on Amazon, but they have listed it only on their own site at a penny less than Amazon. I wonder if they have decided to leave rather than comply with Amazon's Price Parity policy? Please add a comment to this article if you have any information on The Book Depository's compliance with Price Parity.

Amazon introduces new Pricing Policy
The Book Depository