All Quiet on the Western Front: Abe Holds Its Summit
Mr. Davies noted that several topics were discussed, including an update on various Abe initiatives, how to help North American sellers take greater advantage of international opportunities, and the sharing of results from recent bookseller surveys. Booksellers from Australia and New Zealand offered "a highly impressive presentation" regarding how Abe can better focus on their market. There was also an open discussion where sellers were asked for their suggestions on how to improve the site. "We heard plenty of constructive ideas that will be seriously considered," he noted. Mr. Davies also pointed out that this was not the only meeting they have held with booksellers since the previous February. They also attended the ILAB, Boston and Seattle shows so as to have greater opportunity to meet with their sellers. We should point out that most of the sellers attending these shows would be those who focus on rare and antiquarian books.
So there it is in a nutshell. There is peace in the valley again. We are aware of some dealers who did follow through on their plans to leave, but the percentage was small, probably balanced off by new members. The cost of selling on Abe is a few points higher now than it was at the beginning of last year. No seller would be happy about that, but the reality is that Abe is still a good deal. That is why most sellers stayed. And, they will continue to stay as long as the site is profitable for them. After all, there are many alternatives available to sellers, some with lower fees. Most dealers promote on multiple sites. Still, Abe possesses one of if not the largest audience of used/old book buyers. So long as Abe offers an equation that remains on the plus side of the profitability line, some sellers may grumble, but it makes no sense for them to walk. This year, we have a sense that Abe has become more aware of that line, and is making a more determined effort to stay on the right side of it.