Polymath A (mostly) technical weblog for Archivale.com

November 20, 2012

The Bay Area Book Exchange – a new kind of bookstore

Filed under: Personal — piolenc @ 2:46 pm

Just visited the Bay Area Book Exchange site. It’s brilliant! My first reaction was to smack my forehead and say “why didn’t I think of that?” It is yet another way to make money while giving things away. The primary attraction of this store is a huge array of books free for the asking – books that were donated for that purpose.

People trying to sell worthless old books are a persistent nuisance of any brick-and-mortar used-book dealer, motivating many to move to an Internet-only business model. Unfortunately, that move also excludes good stock that would otherwise walk in the door under its own power, and forces Net-based dealers to spend time and money hitting the auctions, pawnshops, thrift stores and so forth looking for the one book in twenty or in one hundred worth having in inventory.

This new way of doing things leaves the Exchange with a graceful way to reject the worthless stuff – it goes on the giveaway shelves – while retaining the good stuff for sale. The giveaways attract visitors, some of whom will find what they want in the “sale” section and add to the Exchange’s revenue. It isn’t mentioned in the pages I’ve read, but I’m sure they’re not depending completely on donations, and do shell out cash for the odd really good item. They obviously also offer book searching and brokerage service.

I keep finding more advantages in their way of doing things. The giveaways are not subject to sales tax and all the related BS, like the 25-cent tables used by other book dealers to attract customers. That is tantamount to a profit, because what is saved in processing costs is more than what the 25-cent sellers earn.

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