Alibris Hopes to Expand Distribution Business
Alibris will announce on Tuesday "a new book-fulfillment solution" for booksellers. The new program, called Alibris Distribution Services(ADS), will provide full cataloging and distribution services for booksellers who have "exceeded their operations capacity, have more inventory than they'll ever catalog, or want to liquidate large amounts of new and used books."
Participating booksellers will receive 70% of the price realized less 99c per item accepted into the program.
Almost sounds to good to be true. Send all that excess inventory to Alibris, let them catalog it and deal with the shipping, warehousing etc. I've rarely meet a bookseller who didn't have space issues.
Here's the catch. It is a similar model to what the notorious "penny sellers" like Better World Books and Thrift Books employ with libraries. ADS will also apply a similar pricing strategy, repricing books daily "according to current market conditions, keeping them competitively priced for sellers and appealing to customers."
Overall, the concept is a good one though in its current form I'm afraid it does more harm than good for the bookselling community at large. Granted their target audience is not the collectible, antiquarian seller but their pricing strategy puts them squarely in the 'race to the bottom' camp which has been plaguing all segments of the bookselling world.
Here is a preview of the upcoming Press Release.
Alibris Introduces Complete Cataloging and Fulfillment Program for Independent Sellers of New and Used Books
Book, music, and movie marketplace offers new service to help online booksellers to list and sell excess book inventory
EMERYVILLE, CA--May 26, 2009--Alibris has launched a new book-fulfillment solution that provides sellers of new and used books with affordable cataloging and fulfillment services. Known as Alibris Distribution Services (ADS), the Alibris program helps booksellers turn inventory into cash. In its first year, ADS has succeeded among participating sellers, who have sent more than one million books through the program.
ADS is a service for independent sellers in the United States who exceed their operations capacity, have more inventory than they'll ever catalog, or want to liquidate large amounts of new and used books. ADS includes:
· Broadest possible sales exposure. ADS books are listed on Alibris, Alibris U.K., Alibris for Libraries, and business-partner sites such as Amazon sites, Barnes & Noble, Borders, eBay, and Half.com.
· Consignment convenience. Books are shipped to the Alibris distribution center, where they are cataloged and warehoused until they are sold on behalf of participating sellers.
· Affordable fees. As a consignment-based program, Alibris only charges $0.99 for accepted items and pays sellers 70% of the sales price when they are sold.
· No hidden charges. There are no additional processing, fulfillment, storage, or seasonal fees. ADS also covers up to the full shipping cost of moving books from the seller to the Alibris distribution center, depending on shipment size and distance.
· Market-based repricing. Alibris daily reprices books, according to current market conditions, keeping them competitively priced for sellers and appealing to customers.
· Complete customer service. At no additional charge, ADS services all book buyers and process all returned items.
"We think Alibris Distribution Services is a best-of-class solution for sellers with excess inventory," said Brian Elliott, President and Chief Executive Officer of Alibris. "A wide variety of sellers have tried and incorporated the ADS program into their businesses." Elliott also summarized the fulfillment service's assets. "ADS is attractive to sellers because of its operational simplicity, affordable economics, and proven success in turning backlogged inventory into cash."