Montag, 8. August 2011

Schöne Aussichten > Antiquare in der Zucht von Abebooks

Unser Bild zeigt Jungantiquar Schäflein-Cottbus beim Einüben des Merkverses: "Du bist nichts, Abebooks ist alles". Es tatzt Amazon-CEO Francesco Gierig

Das Internet ist randvoll mit Kritiken und Enthüllungen über die Geschäftspolitik von Abebooks. Ich halte es nicht für sinnvoll, diese Materialien hier zusammenzuführen, der Sachverhalt ist allzu offenkundig.

Stellvertretend für viele ähnliche Äußerungen bringe ich Auszüge aus dem drei Jahre alten Posting einer Kollegin (Hervorhebungen durch mich):

About Abebooks
by novelshoppe88

(...) Abebooks (i.e., ABE or Advanced Book Exchange), one of the first online used book selling databases for independent booksellers and now a world-wide company, has once again reached into our pockets. Give ‘em an inch and they’ll take a mile, they say. And Abe is asking for another inch. But this time they’re asking for a mile and it has many booksellers worldwide outraged and threatening to boycott Abebooks.

I was an Abe bookseller when I began selling used books on the internet back in 1996. I paid them $25 a month and they added my books – under my name – to their growing database. They did the advertising and provided a platform from which I could make a profit. All was well...

(...) But then someone bought Abebooks and the rules started changing. They asked their booksellers (actually their customers) for an inch and we gave it to them. They wanted us to sign an agreement that, in essence, said they had no responsibility and no liability but would hold us booksellers to a code of ethics that THEY dictated.

Now, let me say here that I have never known a dishonest bookseller (although there have been a few criminals who pretended to be booksellers dealing in extremely rare books but they were always caught, and there very few of them). Booksellers by and large are people who love books, love people and are as independent and dedicated to their craft as any other professional – and as such, live by an unwritten code of ethics of basic honesty and integrity. And knowing that “we” are ultimately responsible and liable for our sales – and the code of ethics was simply a statement we were already living by, we agreed to Abebooks terms. There were grumbles, of course, as we independent-minded booksellers felt offended that someone else was attempting to dictate what our code of ethics should be. But in the end, they knew intellectually, it was just an agreement – putting in writing what we all knew and agreed to anyway. Abebooks asked for their first inch and got their first mile. (...)

The next inch was a small increase in monthly fees. Followed by another increase. Followed by their removing our names from the database so we became somewhat invisible, making the customer with questions have to find some way to ask the question through Abe. It was awkward, inefficient and left a bad taste in the mouths of booksellers who suddenly felt like Abebooks was “stealing” our customers. They were calling our customers their customers. We were being pushed into the category of being a wholesaler – a warehouse, if you will, of books to be shipped to Abebooks’ customers. And in order to do that, they would have to require the customers who wished to pay via credit card, pay Abe rather than the bookseller. This had been an option already for the booksellers who didn’t accept credit cards, but for those booksellers who did accept credit cards, being told they can no longer process their own sales was a devastating blow. Merchant fees would remain the same and our discounts would go up due to less dollar sales being run through our merchant accounts. And it would cost the bookseller 5.5% of the selling price of the book, payable to Abebooks. Most merchant accounts were a lot less than that, so this was a big hit in the pocket. And again, booksellers gave Abe a mile. But this mile was longer.

By now Abe was absolutely a mammoth, and allowing hobbyists and fly-by-night sellers to call themselves booksellers in order to sell their garage sale books for very little money, packing them poorly, shipping late and in general giving professional booksellers a bad name. Their database had become overloaded with thousands of fiction novels for virtually pennies, diluting the market so much, soon there weren’t enough sales to cover the monthly fees.

(...) The responsibility, the liability, the ethics, the integrity, the customer service, THE BOOKS THEMSELVES, are all mine – not Abe’s. And the sad thing is that they know that. Without us, they are nothing. And they want us to think we are nothing without them. So they keep inching and inching and inching.

 Die Bildrechte gehören der Georg-Paul-Amberger-Schule, der wir für die Ausleihe danken.