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    Review of ONLINE BOOKSELLING by Michael E. Mould (see his website)


    Aardvark Publishing, May 2006

    With the advent of Amazon and other on-line book sellers, many of us book-lovers became aware that there was an alternative to taking your excess books to the neighborhood used bookstore--where you would receive a few pennies per book. Putting your books on line and selling them makes so much sense--and eliminates the bookstore middleman, allowing both customers and book sellers to split the difference and come out ahead. But there are problems with this model--how do you do it? Which online outlet should you use? How do you ship books to be certain that the customer gets what he ordered? How do you know how much to charge? Are you making money or would you be better off spending your time doing something else? And do you get your money's worth by paying to become a premium bookseller (at Amazon, for example) or should you simply pay the added fee per book?

    Author Micheal E. Mould moves quickly beyond the online bookseller hype (yes, it is possible to make money doing this) and gets to the practical nuts and bolts of making a business. He provides detailed descriptions (including photographs) of ways to package books to ensure that they arrive with the package no matter how the post office mangles them (I have to say that I spent several minutes with sharp scissors opening my own copy of this book--packed by Mould). He offers practical suggestions on how to acquire books--and makes it clear that my own library of genre fiction is a poor candidate for online bookselling.

    In addition to his detailed text description, Mould includes a CD-ROM complete with a number of Excel spreadsheets designed to (1) allow the prospective bookseller to calculate whether his/her approach is likely to generate income; (2) determine a break-even point (and hence a minimum inventory to really get started) and (3) a fairly complete bookkeeping spreadsheet that will allow the practicing small online bookseller to keep track of his sales, profits, expenses, and tax requirements.

    ONLINE BOOKSELLING is not perfect. Mould sometimes repeats himself and spends too much time justifying why he'd want to write a book teaching others to compete with him. Still, this is the most down-to-earth and useful book I've read yet on this subject. If you're considering entering the world of online bookselling, Mould's book would definitely be worth the investment. The price is a bit high, but Mould's advice is so solid, the payback period should be short.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 12/12/05

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    What do you think? Too generous? Too stingy? Or did I miss the entire point? Send your comments to Give me the okay to use your name and I'll publish all the comments that fit (and don't use unprintable language).