A New Search Engine (And Why You Should Care)
Of course this isn't a replacement for the book sites. They do an important job. Those sites have many regular buyers, and they place your books in front of their customers in return for the commission you pay. Most internet book sales happen this way. However, that should not stop you from directly approaching those collectors who are not customers of the book sites. There are plenty of them. Here at AE we constantly hear from people with questions about books, many of which could be answered by looking at listings on the websites, but they've never even heard of them. Just because you know Abebooks as well as Abe Lincoln doesn't mean everyone does. There are people searching the internet for books because they either don't know another way, or are not satisfied with the alternatives. They are looking for you.
Google has already taken a giant leap into this void. It's called Froogle. Froogle is simply an attempt to take product listings, including books, from anywhere on the 'net, group them together, and separate them from all the other listings on the web. It ends up looking almost like a bookselling site, except that the links go into others' sites (including yours, if you so choose) instead of their own. So now potential customers can search for books on your site either through Froogle, which separates them from library and other non-selling sites, or through Google, which includes them with all listings. Either way, people can now use the world's most popular and powerful search engine to find book listings on your site. All you have to do is let them.
Now, back to the beginning. We said there's a new search engine on the block. There is. Something old, something new. It's Microsoft. Oh, them. Yes, the folks who gave us Windows and Internet Explorer are in the process of creating their own search engine to go head-to-head with Google. Now Microsoft currently offers a search engine on its MSN website. However, that is not their search engine. They are obtaining their results from Yahoo and others. Microsoft, despite its size and dominance in so many areas of software, has never had its own search engine. Until now. As we all know, Microsoft can be a brutal competitor when it wants to dominate a market, and Microsoft has rarely been known to enter a market with intentions anything short of dominance. That said, I'm not sure they have ever run into a Google before. Google isn't Netscape or Lotus. This should be interesting.
My advice to booksellers is don't get in the middle of this competition. Just get the most you can out of both. And here is why Microsoft's new search should be of greater interest to you then their old one. The performance of the new MSN search is more reminiscent of Google than the old (and still current) MSN search. It too digs deeply into your site. Not as deeply as Google yet, as they are still building their list of sites to visit. But, it is finding things the old MSN search misses. This is one more opportunity to get your listings, as presented on your own site, out before the public.