Monday, December 29, 2008

Unabashedly Reducing my Inventory

I recently read an article about the shameful online resale of books and was interested to see that some may think there is a moral issue here. Why there should be such an issue now, when for centuries booksellers along the Seine have been servicing students of the Sorbonne unaccosted escapes me. Apparently, taking something that has been done in slow and unorganized fashion for ages and modernizing it somehow brings moral issues into the picture.

From a moral perspective, one might think that many would be in favor of used book selling; selling books hits the trifecta of environmental saaviness - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - in a way that many other green initiatives can't compete with. Selling a used book reduces that book from the waste stream. Reusing a used book is an excellent example of fixed cost depreciation, in that doing so reduces the impact of the sunk cost to the seller of the initial purchase. Plus, selling a book is an implicit endorsement of the content and a recommendation, in a way that a recycled tin can can't compete with. I might easily venture to a new author in a seller's collection if I feel an affinity to the authors I know in their store, but am very unlikely to adventure to some new vegetable based on seeing the can left out for recycling in my neighbor's bin.

On my ejly store, I've sold everything from books to CDs to toys to consumer electronics. Check it out if you have a chance.

Why do I sell used items on Amazon?
  1. I used to use ebay, but their pay-to-play modus operandi is sour to me after Governor Blagojevich's fiasco. Why should I pay to advertise something that doesn't sell? For we of the craigslist generation, this makes zero cents.
  2. Listing is super-simple with the UPC code handy, and Amazon has calculated the likely shipping costs for me already. Bravo. Again, simple and easy to get started. I don't need to invest in a scale to start; I can trust their shipping prices.
  3. I can carry a huge inventory at no particular expense. On other sites, the listing fees prohibit this.
  4. I'm shopping on Amazon anyway, so listing there makes sense.
  5. Amazon provides great tracking for sellers to stay on top of buyer activity.
  6. Amazon provides for communications management to buyers within their site.
  7. Amazon's listings are indexed by Google, and your resale item is sold right alongside the new item, which positions it well for the sale.
  8. The ratings system is fair, buyers understand the product better since the inventory is UPC based and can provide ratings easily that are focused on the service of the seller and the quality ofthe merchandise shipped instead of holding the seller liable for the manufacturer's quality. So, for example, you can still get a high-quality review for selling a lousy book. The lousiness of the book is recognized as being beyond the seller's responsibility.
  9. Every item that leaves my house is one less that I have to dust, inventory, and maintain. My square footage is valuable, why should I pay to use it to store a copy of a book at home that I also pay taxes to support a libary to house? My local library, Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library, is fantastic about ordering new books, CDs and movies that are suggested, too. (Disclosure: I have an overload of books at home, and no plans to eliminate them all. The ones I re-read and reference are kept close at hand, in beautiful hardback form. Some of which were bought with funds from used book sales.)

Thanks Monicuta for inspiring this post!


Unknown said...

Read this article from your Twitter post! Most Excellent! I find no moral issue with the re/selling of books at all and actually find it peculiar that some would.....however, my dilemma *moral and otherwise* is parting with books, i seem to acquire them....and once I've read them ...I become entertwined with their tales, hence cannot separate them from myself... and must then acquire more of the valuable' square footage you speak of...THIS is my ISSUE :)

Ejly said...

6 months ago, I had about 20 CDs that I couldn't list because wasn't carrying the SKUs. I checked them today and 1/2 of them are not available. Hurray Amazon!