eBay is not another Abe or Biblio
- by Bruce E. McKinney
The book listing sites have been around for more than two decades and once upon a time there were many. But not so. eBay saw the number of listing sites shrinking and shifted, in books anyway, to mimicking Abe and Amazon with different pricing and discount features. It remains to be seen how these pricing models will coexist.
eBay’s formula originally was primarily as an auction but lost faith in their business model and fell in love with Abe’s. That was pathetic! Instead they split their old and used book business into twin unequal options, retaining their now anemic auction site while building up their fixed price service to encourage higher listing prices with a mechanism to create faux bargain hunting by offering regulated discounts. Their prices even so seem very full. This is basically a phony discount strategy. It’s a Potemkin village.
What’s lacking are references to reality such as:
When was a listing first posted? What and when were changes in the listing made such as:
- Listing date, price and description including number of days listed
- A complete history of all changes and dates
- A record of all inquiries and/or sales of this item [if more than one] on eBay
In other words prospective buyers would pour over the listing history, become informed, become interested or perhaps disinterested if they saw something like “this listing has been posted for 3,491 days.”
And I understand that eBay wants to keep their sellers’ identities secret because they don’t want buyers to get into open conversations with their sellers. That’s understandable given that their only real interest is to earn a sales commission. But let’s remember the primary motivation for listing is to sell.
At first glance the Abe platform seems better.
At some point Abe, eBay or Biblio will become dynamic because the listings are essentially inert and do not entice interest, and at some time their financial people are going to ask what they need to do.