Tag Archives: Bookstores

2 Ways Google is Killing Online Booksellers & How You Can Help

(1) Google Uses its Dominance in Search to Hijack Traffic from Websites

Google does this by placing content, it has collected from other websites, ahead of their search engine results, to sell its own products and services.  Google engages in this practice in a wide variety of areas from restaurant ratings to travel directions.

However, Google has had a particularly devastating impact on online booksellers—Google has literally embedded its own online bookstore prominently in their search engine results.  Rather than directing visitors to other websites, which should be the purpose of a search engine, Google is abusing their virtual monopoly in search by standing in bookseller’s virtual doorways and grabbing visitors before they can enter.

I’ve been tracking, and participating in, online book sales for 20 years.  My niche is Black literature and the impact on this group of sites has been particularly devastating.

Despite websites being less expensive and easier to create than ever before, there are far fewer websites dedicated to black literature today than there were 10 years ago. Those that remain are struggling to grow because they are unable to attract enough visitors to generate the revenue needed to maintain their websites.

The video below demonstrates how Google does this:

 

(2) Google’s Virtual Monopoly in Search Allows Them to Control Which Sites are Visited

I would argue that Google’s search engine is one of the the most significant developments on the web.  In fact, I use Google’s search engine on this site, because it is an excellent service (Google is discontinuing this service in 2018).

Unfortunately, Google does make mistakes, and these mistakes and be very costly if not catastrophic for the affected business.  Consider the following graph from Semrush’s website, which shows their estimate of this site’s traffic.

Graph of AALBC.com Traffic hit

While Semrush’s data is not prefect, they estimate a site’s traffic based upon how frequently it shows up in Google’s search results (big data stuff), they did correctly identify a significant drop in traffic to AALBC.com, back in 2011.  The drop in traffic was a direct result in a reduction of traffic from organic search from Google.

Now Google never provided, or even made themselves available for, an explanation of this dramatic, overnight, drop in traffic from search.  Many, less sophisticated, web site owners never knew what hit them. The drop in our traffic was apparently the result of a change in the code Google used to rank websites. Affected businesses were left to speculate on the specific underlying reasons for their site being penalized in search engine results.

This lack of transparency from Google has fostered a industry of people touting services to help you understand and improve (or game) your site’s search engine rankings.

This has also fostered a level of paranoia, which has led to an unwillingness of websites to link to each other for fear they could hurt their own site’s ranking in search. This behavior actually puts more power into Google’s hands, as websites are no longer a good way to discover other sites.  AALBC.com has never stopped linking to other good sites. Part of the value the site our site provides is helping visitors discover other websites they will enjoy.

From my experience, the best way to address Google’s search engine rankings is to follow all of Google’s recommendations and guidelines.  No matter how you feel about it, if you want your site to rank on the only search engine that matters, you must follow Google’s rules.

AALBC.com’s traffic has completely recovered 2011. 2017 is on track to be a record year for page views. Visitor quality is also better; visitors look at more pages and stay on the site longer.

AALBC.com is a higher quality site because of my adherence to Google’s mandates, but I invest a significant portion of my time addressing “Google Issues.”  This time and energy comes at the expense of creating valuable content for the site.

The environment created by Google also discourages the creation of new sites because it is not enough to produce quality content, you must also be well versed in Google search engine optimization.

Google Makes the World Wide Web a Less Rich Place

Because of these practices and more, Google makes the World Wide Web a much less rich place.  We are rapidly reaching a point where only the most massive corporate sites have a chance at survival.

Google has argued that they are trying to create the best possible experience for their visitors. In reality, what they have done is help make the web less accommodating to diversity and creativity, by making it an environment hostile to independence and where only the wealthiest companies have a chance to maintain a profitable platform.

Many who would have operated their own website, just 5 years ago, are now using Facebook as their primary web presence, because they believe their chances for discovery and survival are better on Facebook. As a result, visitors need a Facebook account to engage with this content. Once on Facebook visitors are treated to the same cookie cutter style and presentation. This situation contributes to concentrating of wealth into the hands of a few massive corporations. The rich get richer and wealth inequality continues to rises…

What Can You Do?

Support independent bookseller websites by;

  • Visiting their websites (here are more than 50);
  • Purchasing the products they sell;
  • Sharing their content by utilizing word of mouth, social media, anyway that makes sense;
  • Linking to bookseller websites from your website or blog;
  • Engaging with their content by leaving comments and participating in their discussion forums; and
  • Buying advertising on their platforms if available;

Sure, buying from an indie bookseller, might cost you a bit more on the price and you may need to wait a little longer to receive the product, but will we be better if the only place we can buy a book is from Google and Amazon?

Join our conversation about the importance of independent booksellers (both online and physical stores).

Support Independent websites, including this one, especially if you want them to thrive rather than merely survive.

Video: Update on The Premier Website for Black Books

AALBC.com is a massive, feature rich, website.  Many visitors don’t appreciate the site’s size and scope, so I created this video to help describe some of what AALBC.com has to offer.

I also describe some of the recent enhancements which have been added as a result of the upgrade we started last year.

March 28, 2017 Newsletter — Book Recommendations, News, Contests, and More

Top 120 Children’s Books from the Past 50 YearsTop 120 Children’s Books from the Past 50 Years

Our list of the Top 120 Children’s Books published over the last half century is updated on an ongoing basis and reflects some of the best, most beautifully illustrated books published in the past 50 years. Most are awarding winning, critically acclaimed, titles. Some have become obscure over years, and some were independently published and never enjoyed a large platform to gain a significant audience. The Illustration above is by Leo & Diane Dillon and is from the book Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions.


New Books Coming Out April 2017New Books Coming Out April 2017

Learn about these and other excellent new books coming out this month and in the coming months.


AALBC.com Mourns the Loss of Poet Mari EvansAALBC.com Mourns the Loss of Poet Mari Evans

Evans’ poetic voice helped define the 1960s Black Arts Movement. Over the course of her career, Evans has been a distinguished writer and university educator. She has taught at Cornell University, Indiana University, the State University of New York at Albany, the University of Miami at Coral Gables, and at Spelman College. She is the author of numerous articles, children’s books, plays, musicals, and books of poetry.


Kimberla Lawson Roby, Beatrix Williams and Shelly Shepard Gray described their favorite independent bookstores New York Times best-selling authors, Kimberla Lawson Roby, Beatrix Williams and Shelly Shepard Gray described their favorite independent bookstores during the Southwest Florida Reading Festival, which was held March 18 at Centennial Park in Fort Myers, Florida.


Recently Reviewed Books

izzie & McKenzie’s Fabulous Adventures: Mayhem in Madrid by Dina C. TateLizzie & McKenzie’s Fabulous Adventures: Mayhem in Madrid by Dina C. Tate

Dina C. Tate set up Global Girls Squad LLC in order to develop and self-publish a series of chapter books for young girls of color. The idea is to set young heroines, Lizzie and McKenzie, on adventures that will have them traveling the world, learning about other cultures, and celebrate being different.

Tate makes a fine start in accomplishing her goal of, inspiring young girls to read about different cultures in her first installment, Lizzie & McKenzie’s Fabulous Adventures: Mayhem in Madrid. The adventure actually drives the story. Learning about Madrid is simply part of the adventure. Exposure to other cultures in this fashion is sure to make the learning process fun. Young readers will certainly look forward to more of Lizzie and McKenzie’s adventures as they learn about other places around the world.


Recommended Reads

Obama: From Promise to Power by David MendellObama: From Promise to Power by David Mendell

“I recommend this wonderful book to anyone who wants to know the real story behind Barack Obama’s historic rise to national political stardom. Having covered Obama since his Senate campaign began, David Mendell offers an insightful, richly detailed and refreshingly balanced account of a ‘change candidate’ who was neither as perfect or as flawed as others might want you to believe.” —Clarence Page

Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea BeatyAda Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty

Like her classmates, builder Iggy and inventor Rosie, scientist Ada, has a boundless imagination and has always been hopelessly curious. Why are there pointy things stuck to a rose? Why are there hairs growing inside your nose? When her house fills with a horrific, toe-curling smell, Ada knows it’s up to her to find the source. What would you do with a problem like this? Not afraid of failure, Ada embarks on a fact-finding mission and conducts scientific experiments, all in the name of discovery. But, this time, her experiments lead to even more stink and get her into trouble!


The Black Panther Party [Reconsidered] – Download the First 20 Pages for FreeThe Black Panther Party [Reconsidered] – Download the First 20 Pages for Free

The Black Panthers was the most effective grassroots black revolutionary group in American history — but one whose legend, replayed in sensationalized news stories, a major movie, and countless publications, has outlived the group itself. Featuring never-before-published reflections from former members as well as tables and illustrations, this pioneering collection of essays examines this unique organization in depth using a new approach that places the views of former Panthers alongside those of historians and cultural commentators. The result is a vital dialogue between inside and outside perceptions and realities. A section on gender dynamics offers a much-needed examination of the role of women in the Party. Other essays in the volume address the social forces that gave rise to the Party, the organizational dynamics involved in maintaining its activities, and the internal and external factors that eventually contributed to the Party’s decline.


We Could Be Brothers by Derrick Barnes

In this middle-grade novel by Derrick Barnes, two thirteen- year-old African-American boys become friends during a three-day stint in an after-school suspension. They were both involved in two unrelated incidents with the same person, the resident menace at Alain Locke Middle, Tariq Molten. During this three-day span, the young men visit each other’s homes and chop it up on a variety of subjects including respect of self and Black women, the dire state of hip-hop music, the use of the dreaded N word, and masculinity. Before long, the three boys are on a collision course.


130+ Book Events, Fairs, Festivals, and Conferences

acramento Black Book Festival - June 2-3, 2017Sacramento Black Book Festival – June 2-3, 2017

The Fourth Annual Sacramento Black Book Fair will feature more than seventy authors of African descent, showcasing and highlighting a diverse spectrum of authors and literature, from contemporary and historical fiction, to anthologies, poetry, academic books; children’s stories and books, non-fiction to biographies, self- help, and inspirational, religious, and financial works. AALBC.com’s founder, Troy Johnson will be giving a talk on “The Corporatization of the World Wide Web and its the Impact on the Black Book Ecosystem.”

Learn more about this festival and more than130 others coming up over the next 12 months, in our events section.


Win Two Books by Kimberla Lawson Roby

Win Two Books by Kimberla Lawson RobyTo enter be one of the first 10 subscribers to answer the following two questions.

1. What is something that you really like about our newsletter or website?
2. What is something about our newsletter or website that can be can be improved?

Three winners will be randomly selected from the first 10 responses. Winners will receive Kimberla Lawson Roby latest book Copycat, and an early prepublication version (a “galley”) of Kimberla’s next book, Sin of a Woman.

The winners of this prize have already been selected. To learn about future prizes visit our contest page.


When the slaves get together, that’s the beginning of getting out of slavery.”

Who said this? Visit this page to learn the answer. You’ll also be able to read and listen to the entire speech.


Two Terrific Ways to Promote Your Books on AALBC.com

Spring Special - Your Book on Two Popular Pages Until June 21, 2017 – Only $89Spring Special – Your Book on Two Popular Pages Until June 21, 2017 – Only $89

Your book will appear on AALBC.com’s Homepage and the Book’s Main Page for the entire spring, now through midnight June 21, 2017.

Place Your Horizontal Ad Banner on Every AALBC.com Page for as Little as 50 Cents per Day!

Place Your Horizontal Ad Banner on Every AALBC.com Page for as Little as 50 Cents per Day!

728X90 Ad Banners are displayed at the top and bottom of every AALBC.com page and are seen by 1,000s of visitors daily. Select the banner placement (top of page or bottom) and the number of days you’d like the campaign to run.

Get your book noticed by avid readers today!


Dear Reader,

Troy Johnson Head shotIn the first 18 years of running AALBC.com, I’ve profiled more than 900 authors. In the past year alone, I’ve added profiles of 2,000 more authors—that’s an increase from 1 new author profile per week to 1 new profile every 5 hours!

Not only has the number of authors increased, but the quality of their presentation has improved dramatically as well. Each of the author’s books has its own page. If the book has won an award, is on a bookclub’s reading list, or is reviewed there are links to pages with more details on all of that information. Ta-Nehisi Coates book, Between The World And Me, is a good example.

Each individual book’s buy links are customized to get readers the best deal—even if it means sending them to another bookseller. Consider Misty Copeland’s new book, Ballerina Body: Dancing and Eating Your Way to a Leaner, Stronger, and More Graceful You; autographed copies are available from Mahogany Books, and our buy links will prominently reflect this deal as long as it is available.

For this reason, more some authors, like critically acclaimed novelist Elizabeth Nunez, use AALBC.com as their primary web presence. This is just one example of many improvements to AALBC.com.

Please know that none of this would be possible without your spiritual and financial support. So please consider paying for your newsletter subscription and continue to share any of our content, you find valuable, with others.

Peace & Love,
Troy Johnson
Troy Johnson,
Founder & Webmaster, AALBC.com


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AALBC.com eNewsletter – March 28, 2017 – Issue #243

Huria Search supports web independence