LJNDawson.com, Consulting to the Book Publishing Industry
Book Publishing Industry Consultant

October17, 2005

Still haven't managed to figure out the Google-AOL-Yahoo business, and now Barry Diller goes on and acquires MySpace.com. While Murdoch puts in a bid for...no, wait, it's MURDOCH who bought MySpace.com, while Diller's...actually not done anything new, but is now explaining what the f* he was thinking about his AskJeeves.com acquisition.

Mad shuffle on the West Coast. Glad to be in NY, where life is all about 13-digit ISBNs and how to sell books in grocery stores.

The truth is, grocery stores are in some jeopardy themselves...from the big boxes like WalMart which are also selling food. And if the
Times Select thing would work for me - it keeps sending me in circles, all of which involve taking my credit card information and none of which ultimately result in my actually GETTING the article - I'd have some nifty quotes for you on the subject of supermarkets in peril. Stupid Times. At any rate, trust me on this one - the Times is never wrong except when it comes to WMD, datelines and bylines, and...well, yeah, okay, don't deflate me before I've said anything.

The point is, more and more books are being sold in what the business calls "non-traditional outlets" - in other words, not in bookstores. Groceries are a significant chunk of that change. (Of course, books only represent less than 1% of that particular market - they mean far more to us than we do to them.) If that market dries up, and is taking over by price-bulldozing WalMarts and Costcos and what have you, where does that leave the book market?

(Of course, if supermarkets did item-level tracking - merchandising by SKU rather than by price - they'd be able to actually COMPETE with those big-box stores...but that's too haaaaaaaaaaard.)

Yes, this NY Times business has made me cranky. First rule of thumb for e-commerce: MAKE SURE YOUR FRIGGING FEATURES WORK BEFORE YOU LAUNCH THEM.
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