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Bill

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  1. The "90s" comment forwards a wrong-headed perspective, casting web style as trendy, like clothing style. If newer functionality is missing, complaint about the missing functionality is legit; but date references are just vacuous & snide. Beside the unmanageable effort of writing your own text, using the author/publisher text offers a preferred neutrality. Users often don't care whether a site has 15, 15K, or 15M pages -- only whether we can easily reach what we want. Dynamic database-generated pages make the idea of "page count" obsolete anyhow. E.g., "How many pages does Amazon have?" ... and "busy"??? ... has Ms. Jeffries seen an Amazon page? By comparison, AALBC pages are relatively minimalist. (if not as structurally polished) "Websites like AALBC also would never have been viable businesses without Google to send new visitors their way." Really? ... maybe without any search engine ... but Lycos/HotBot/AltaVista, etc preceded Google, and might have routed queries for "African American book" to AALBC using their algorithms. I've only used a fraction of AALBC.com, but the community support is unparalleled, and I found the site mechanisms rich & intuitive. AALBC comments notwithstanding, Ms. Jeffries' (re)report of Google algorithms amplifying false content partially mitigates the other sins. Thanks for linking it here.
  2. Bill

    Strategies

    @Mel Hopkins, I'm a systems engineer, aspiring to increase community effectiveness through the kind of amazing engineering Troy's done at AALBC -- structuring from basic mechanisms instead of accepting Others' self-serving bundles. @Troy, Yes, it's a very tough nut to crack ... not just reader conveniences, but "affiliate" incentives too.
  3. Bill

    Strategies

    @Troy, A pass-through commission mechanism sounds great! (nontrivial setup notwithstanding) At least conceptually, that would favor the ideal of an "ecosystem of shared work, responsibility, and rewards" ... while meeting the user demand for simplicity. Any mention of Amazon must surely acknowledge their first distinction: extreme investment in tools and infrastructure to make the extreme convenience of their customer experience mindlessly/effortlessly feed their empire. Seriously competing surely means carefully examining/costing those infrastructure-investment options, even if they aren't taken. You know what a huge range of tools is possible; the "pass-through commission mechanism" seems a smart investment in that class. Surely the broad class merits careful discussion among the potential benefactors/market-constructors. All, Can you summarize for an industry newbie ... Is the industry model of Author=Writer+Publisher+InventoryManager coming to fully dominate niche-market publishing? ... and does that favor a division of labor with firms like AALBC doing the Marketing/CustomerAcquisition part in exchange for a pass-through commission?
  4. CDBurns, thanks for answering my question, noting at least some vendors can sell via Amazon, and at lower prices through other channels. I also heard: Etsy & eBay arbitrarily shut vendors down, sometimes for suspiciously inscrutable reasons. Vendors should weigh the long-term risk of abrupt termination and loss of setup investment. Amazon sales don't get much traffic to vendors' own sites. People don't trust vendors' sites to sell the SAME thing sold on Amazon, even when sold at a lower price.
  5. As noted, it's hard to draw folks away from "40% off, with free two-day delivery". Sustaining a boycott would be challenging. Is it possible ... to slice between Amazon and Black book buyers with an app/browser-plug-in that stays in place? ... to transparently route book buyers to black book sellers where the Black book sellers are competitive? ... to pop up Black book seller options when Black buyers click on Black authors at Amazon? ... to re-route or pop-up only in big cities, where a local Black printer can print & bind the books? Of course, installing browser plug-ins is its own major hurdle ... and Amazon has a huge head start. "Preventing Amazon from dominating the market ..." Is shifting more of our individual purchases to group purchases and community-accountable purchasing agents viable? Businesses have long used them to get the most from their purchasing, and to apply their political filters. Might a similar approach work for us? I'm guessing sales through Amazon are typically contingent on authors/publishers contractually agreeing not to undercut Amazon through other channels ... i.e., to be included, authors/publishers must guarantee Amazon a price that lets it undercut any other seller's price. Is that part of how it works?
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