Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Secondhand Bookshops and the Amazon effect



I am busy with the future of retail at the moment, hence no blog posts for the last few days, fortunately my bookshop will be closed tomorrow and I will be taking a well earned break.



Occasionally I get asked how and why my bookshop is still open when most largish general secondhand bookshops have closed, I guess the answer is twofold.

1 is maintaining a fairly high quality of stock.

2 is making sure that the majority of the books in the shop are cheaper than you can buy them online.



At the moment there is a bit of an online secondhand book battle going on between Ebay and Amazon with the price of an average reading paperback settling around £1.50.



This is around the cost of posting a paperback, which in itself raises some interesting problems.

Anyway I spent Monday and Tuesday taking every book off of the crime fiction shelves in the shop and checking the price against the online price, adjusting the price where applicable.



That’s about 30 shelves out of about 1,000 in all of my bookshop, about 30 books to a shelf so about 900 books, thank god for barcode readers.

Book customers by definition tend to be fairly well educated and able to use modern technology, so they tend to point the camera of their smartphone at the barcode of the book, before buying it too


Anyway I am working on the general fiction now, perhaps it would be just easier to match the online price at the till, who knows, at the moment we are sticking with putting a competitive price on the books and refusing to engage in haggling.







68 comments:

  1. I went to a bar code demo at IBM in 1976, some of the retail people I was with said it would never catch on. They said shoppers liked to look through the shelves to find the bargain items that were marked with last weeks price. But in those days with double digit inflation prices were going up weekly.

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  2. Yes Michael, I acknowledge your problems having been both a buyer and seller at your shop. Just remember that we don't all carry smartphones and assorted barcode reading paraphernalia.
    I use Amazon to check reviews and synopses of possible books to buy [mainly non-fiction] before making the journey by Loop bus from Margate and entering your emporium. Then if you don but ... enough already. The world is big enough for your personal service and amazon information and efficiency too. Keep on keeping on and thanks for being there.

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  3. I generally get through a minimum of one book per week, as I don't watch TV apart from the occasional DVD. Most of these I buy while browsing local charity shops (usually Birchington), but if there's anything I'm specifically looking for then I usually go to Amazon & ebay, with Amazon more than often winning. A recent example was a Sandie Shaw's "The World At My Feet", published in 1992: price 1p + postage!

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  4. I bought a Kindle last year. Whilst it is useful for going on holiday I'm not using it much at home. The reason is simple. Real books are actually cheaper than the electronic versions. In addition, when you've finished with the real book you can give it to a friend or relative to read. You can't do this with Kindle books.

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    1. Doesn't look as good as real books on the bookshelf either! I honestly can't think of anything less appealing, but then I don't even have a mobile phone.

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    2. What about the aquifer, missing monitors or 0% salaries. All sheep talking about books when there are more serious issues. No wonder TDC get away with their corruption with simple minds like you lot around.

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    3. 0% stick to the subject of the post or your comments will be deleted

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    4. Allan MallinsonJune 12, 2013 7:30 pm

      Well said, Michael, but back to the thread and I would just like to endorse the comments by Col. Please do keep going for no on line service can possible match the pleasure to be derived from searching around a second hand bookshop.

      Delete
    5. Anon 6:55 should write a book!

      Delete
    6. Allan MallinsonJune 12, 2013 7:51 pm

      Good idea, Peter, entitled 'The Most Boring Man in Thanet' or 'My Records Stuck in its Groove' by the Aquifer Man. Doubt if even Michael could sell too many of these though if the prose is of the same standard as the blog comments eminating from that source.

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    7. I don't care what he calls it, but I was half-serious there. It would perhaps be a far better way of trying to put his point across... and while we're at it, perhaps John Hamilton could write an unauthorised biography on Ian Driver!

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    8. Amazon has the besr price on ramsgate books and no hassle ordering. So I suggest you all shop at Amazon

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    9. And I suggest you learn to spell.

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    10. I could do that. Maybe the achievements of Ian Driver. I could do it as a pamphlet, I could do a series, perhaps the next one could be "Thanet, how it has progressed through recession with the help and support of it's population", although that would be a FAR larger pamphlet than the one concerning Driver :)

      On the subject of the thread though, I usually buy new books from either large disount stores, Supermarkets or Amazon, sometimes Ebay. Second hand books I always buy at Michaels shop, and while I spend some considerable time there browsing what he has, I often buy new books, and inevitably many more books than I intended. Even my family buy me books from Michaels for Christmas, Fathers day and Birthday! There is a LOT to be said for browsing, and buying what takes your fancy.

      Can't do the Kindle thing, nothing like a book in your hands, I now have 7 book cases, LOVE choosing a book to read! Kindle just doesn;t do it for me!

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    11. Anonymouse 10:36 pm,

      You really are a spiteful little creep. Can you not find some other onanistic method to excite yourself.

      Delete
    12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
    13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
    14. Anon pasting great chunks form other websites isn’t allowed here for a number of reasons, copyright infringement and spamming to name two.

      Delete
  5. Amazon has the besr price on ramsgate books and no hassle ordering. So I suggest you all shop at Amazon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymouse 10:35 pm,

      You really are a spiteful little creep. Can you not find some other onanistic method to excite yourself.

      Delete
    2. Allan MallinsonJune 13, 2013 8:37 am

      Spiteful little creep is about right, John. Michael threatens to delete his earlier totally off thread comment so up he comes later, on Michael's blog, calling for people to shop at Amazon. At least this time there is no mention of the aquifer, which is a small blessing, but the nasty mindset of this insidious troll remains self evident.

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    3. It certainly is a troll at 6:55pm and elsewhere but not the Aquifer Man. See below. Many people are concerned over the Manston aquifer and pollution and no credible explanation for clean-up.

      Mallinson seems desperate to engage in insults with all and sundry again - he can provide no explanation for the Manston pollution or TDC corruption.

      A discussion on 0% salaries given the FerryGate scandal would be relevant.

      I am the Aquifer Man. Accept no substitutes or pollution.

      Delete
    4. Allan MallinsonJune 13, 2013 11:20 am

      Aquifer man, do you seriously expect us to believe that the entry at 6:55 pm was not you when it is your style and topic, though I notice you do not deny the spiteful one on Michael's blog about buying from Amazon.

      If you want some credibility as well as avoiding people taking your name in vain, though I doubt anyone in their right mind would want that kind of association, it is about time you got yourself an account. Better still, start your own blogsite where you can rant all you like about your pesky aquifer and those that are interested can visit it. After all nobody else needs to say anything as you have well and truly flogged that horse to death.

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    5. Anon 9:53, how can we accept no substitutes when you are anonymous. Anyone can pretend to be you, whoever you are, and, in case 9:53 is you, how do you know many people are concerned about the Manston aquifer when no one around these blogs ever seems to support your view.

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    6. Mr Mallinson is becoming a cheap version of Hamilton with his nasty and petty insults. I simply do not understand why he believes TDC is not corrupt, nor why he will not discuss the 0% salaries as requested.

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    7. Mallinson'll pipe up with some sideways comment wriggling to save face. He can't explain the 0% salaries and doesn't want to admit it's Tory fraud. He'll fling some mud at Labour then go silent. A twit.

      Cancer Victim

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    8. Allan MallinsonJune 13, 2013 8:39 pm

      So you are back to your old cancer victim sympathy seeking stance again, Anon. Basically I know nothing about the 0% salaries which, for the time you have been going on about it, would seem to be pretty historic now and I do not accuse anyone of corruption unless I know it to be factual.

      In any event, this thread was on bookshops and you have simply tried to hijack it for your own purposes.

      Delete
    9. Gee whizz Allan you raised 0% salaries with various insults. Then you say there's nothing wrong with 0%Gate. Then you say there is no corruption at TDC. Then you say you don't know anything about 0%Gate.You're a rambling random twit trying to deny the undeniable for reasons of your own, presumably party political. Why would you not want 0%Gate exposed? You pay tax and want to ensure it's not fraudulently used?

      Delete
    10. Allan MallinsonJune 14, 2013 12:28 pm

      Anon, I queried what you mean by 0% salaries, that is all. There are also no insults in my comment yet you see fit to call me a twit. Can you not get the message that no one is going to debate 0% salaries until such time as you put some substance on your allegations for no one, other than you, seems to have any knowledge of the issue.

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    11. You're mistaken Allan. No-one's going bother debating with you except Holyer for you are indeed a twit happy to excuse corruption.

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    12. Anon 1:15 pm,

      I'm too busy to play with you today, can I come back and insult you later?

      Delete
  6. I agree that nothing can replace the wonderful feel and smell of the printed book.

    However, if you spend long periods abroad in non Anglophone countries then the Kindle is a godsend. My daughter bought me one for this purpose. And you can read it bright sunlight, not that this aspect has been much good to me in UK.

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  7. A few thoughts here regarding the troll who seems to be a bit like a vegetarian trying to compare various butchers.

    When it comes to comparing the prices of real physical books, as our bookshop pieces start at 5p, there is no real comparison at the very bottom end of pricing.

    As far as working out which is cheaper, between my stock and Amazon’s, I have an advantage here, which is I can look at Amazon’s prices, but they can’t look at mine.

    I am doing the general paperback fiction at the moment, comparing it book at a time my prices and Amazon’s are very much in the same ball park, it is unusual to find an instance where an Amazon price is 50p less than my price and in most instances I am adjusting the prices to be the same or less than the Amazon one.

    There are instances, where a title is just very hard to get where I make the title very slightly more expensive than the Amazon one to maintain stock of the title, but these are few and far between in the fiction.

    In terms of Kindle files and e-books, buying physical books from Amazon, Ebay, other online sources, charity shops, other retail physical shops – new and secondhand – I have to put my hand up to using the whole lot.

    I read a lot, use libraries, bookshops and the internet for this purpose, but then so do most of my book customers.

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  8. Can someone explain whether it is the posting by anon(s) which elicits the strongly worded postings against or is it what anon(s) post about. I confess sometimes it seems one thing and other times it seems just the fact it is an anon.

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    Replies
    1. My view is simple. This is Michael's blog and he decides what he will and will not allow. If he has decided to allow people to post anonymously then that is his right. So, if JH and his alter ego don't like it they should continue their love-in over on JH's own site where free speech is more restricted and the abuse more frequent.

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  9. Barry,

    In my case it is always about what the person says, whether or not they post as 'anonymous'.

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    Replies
    1. You fibber Holyer you're always going on about Anonymouses. Without that your posts simply have no information in them.

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    2. anonymouse 3:52 pm,

      Not so.

      I don't know what makes you so stupid, but it really works.

      Delete
  10. While you're all (still) squabbling, Margate has received some good news at last!

    http://arlingtonmargate.com/2013/06/14/secretary-of-state-grants-permission-for-82000-sq-ft-margate-seafront-tesco/

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  11. Good news Peter and it has taken long enough the area has been an eyesore for more years than I can remember but now it will at last be cleaned up.

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    1. I actually did a little dance when I heard the news! What a shame that it has been delayed for so long by so few people.

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    2. go take your porn pics...NOW!

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  12. Amazon has the besr price on ramsgate books and no hassle ordering. So I suggest you all shop at Amazon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous 5:24 pm,

      You really are a spiteful and lying little creep.

      Delete
    2. John anon’s problem – which boils down to it being as difficult for a vegetarian to compare butchers as it is for a non-bibliophile to compare booksellers – obviously as the majority of Ramsgate books on Amazon are the ones I publish and have been put on Amazon by me it’s a bit of a non argument.

      In the unlikely event that anon does actually order a Ramsgate book on Amazon it is most likely it will be posted to him/her by me and I will receive the extra £2.80 Amazon postage fee, instead of sending it post free as I would if it was ordered via my website.

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    3. Michael,

      I like it. The situation you describe is poetic.

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    4. If you don't use Amazon you may not be familiar with all of the intricacies. In fact, many items, including most books, are available for standard delivery, free of postage. You would only need to pay £2-80 for express delivery. The slightly irritating thing is that it defaults to express delivery and you have to actively select standard delivery. When you're in a rush it is easy to inadvertently forget to do this and then you have to pay the extra.

      Delete
  13. Replies
    1. trew I think it is spelled T-R-U-E

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  14. online bookshop is a very useful way to read the books, which we can not find in the market. The books of all categories can easily found on online bookshops to read those books.

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  15. yes , but Ramsgate shops are so much more convenient, especially Michael's shop so friendly and helpful. Been there many times. Always satisfied.

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    1. I CONCUR HE IS SO KNOWLABLE ABOUT RAMSGATE HE MUST BE AT LEAST A 100 YEARS OLD TO HAVE THAT INSIGHT!

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  16. The ongoing saga of the Pleasurama site on Ramsgate seafront was featured in Friday's Thanet Gazette. Interesting that Broadstairs estate agent, Terrence Painter, ex-Chairman of Ramsgate Town Partnership, ex-Chairman of Margate Town Partnership and if the Margate rumour mill is correct, now also ex-Chairman of Margate Town Team has criticised Thanet District Council for having concerns regarding developers SFP and their experience in developments of this scale.

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    1. As an exhibition space, i fear that the pleasurama site is hamstrung by the fact that parking is negligible, a rail link is not close by, there is little viable access for heavy vehicles, and large scale bus/coach traffic would also present a serious challenge, given the limited road space along the promenade

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  17. Is pleasure rama what was one merrie England is the the jist?

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    1. Yes Merrie England was a great place in its day (1940s 1950s) many a happy hour I spent their as a boy, putting my money in the penny slots and losing all the time, playing the film stars and losing every time. Visiting Madame Zelda for fortune telling, she told me I would become a millionaire, I still have time. Riding the bumper cars, helter skelter, the place that showed 3 d films. Candy floss a 3 penny cone of ice cream from Pelosis, sitting on the sands a shivering, yes those were the days.

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  18. Just an observation.. and nothing to do with any subjects here. Ramsgate History. Com... I joined but it is a very INACTIVE site.
    Not many people contribute lately, it needs people who contribute. Don't you all think so?
    So maybe some folks here could join and perk things up with nostalgic recollections.
    And photos.
    Maybe it needs a new administrator that would promote it.
    Any volunteers.

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  19. Very true, as a former participant I agree that this site is in rapid decline and is spiraling to a death, a fate that will ultimately doom it to the internet grave yard of forgotten souls.
    Deemed to be forgotten and lost in a sea of unproductive servitude. Many will morn but few will resurrect this once interesting chapter in internet history.
    R.I.P.

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  20. Oh my goodness, talk about over doing a obituary, wow, wow and wow!

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  21. Hold everything I think a new post is in the offing, I see signs of life in the old girl...we can only pray and hope!

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  22. so sorry, false alarm, no posts, last post was in 1982...oh well

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  23. Yes there was a person named LANGLEY that posted a lot, interesting things too, but even he or she has retreated into the abyss of lost souls.

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