Rare Book Monthly

Articles - March - 2007 Issue

Getting "Fulfilled" by Amazon

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Amazon's automatic fulfillment lets us vacation on Kauai.


by Renée Magriel Roberts

Fulfillment. A wonderful word and quite an old word, from the Old English fullfyllan "fill up, make full," from full + fyllan (see fill, which is ultimately from the root of full). Used early of prophecy and perhaps a translation of L. implere, adimplere.

I was just checking my Amazon account this morning and there brightly highlighted was an invitation and link to "upgrade" my account to "Fulfillment by Amazon". I'm always looking for ways to get fulfilled by the mega-sites on which we list our books, so I thought I'd go check it out. Two of Amazon's senior staff graciously walked me through the program: Drew Hardener, Senior Public Relations Manager, and Joe Walowski, Senior Product Manager/Fulfillment by Amazon.

Amazon is a customer-centric company, and not surprisingly, this new program focuses on satisfying particular customer needs. Amazon's customers have been saying for quite some time that they really like the added selection and variety (as well as the prices) of books for sale by independent sellers on Amazon's site. However, they have been less enthusiastic about the quality of the fulfillment process, as well as the lack of integration with other Amazon programs, such as Amazon Prime, which enables a customer to pay for shipping in advance with a flat rate fee. Books purchased through independent sellers on Amazon do not qualify for Amazon Prime.

This being the case, Amazon has come up with a beta Fufillment by Amazon -- one of three legs of a merchant program, including Pro Merchant and Webstore by Amazon (not yet available). Through Fulfillment by Amazon, Amazon arranges to handle the packing, shipping, and servicing of independent bookseller orders. Participating sellers simply send their inventory to an Amazon fulfillment center and when orders are received, they take care of the rest.

Amazon picks, packs and ships the book. The inventory is physically stored in Amazon's Fulfillment Centers. Book inventories in this way are eligible for "Super Saver Shipping" and "Amazon Prime" shipping programs. Purchases appear on customer self-service accounts in the same way as direct Amazon purchases. There is 24-hour customer service and the capability to gift wrap purchases.

Books are stored for $.45 per cubic foot per month. Additional handling fees apply: books priced less than $25.00 are billed at $.50 each plus $.40 per lb. If the books are more than $25.00 they are billed at $1.00 each plus $.40 per lb. A $3.00 handling fee is applied if the book is more than 18" long x 14" wide x 8" high, or weighs more than 20 lbs. Of course, the Amazon merchant commission applies to each order as well.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.

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