ABE adjusted their fee schedule so that they now charge an 8% commission on SHIPPING, a fixed (and constantly increasing) charge over which a bookseller has no control. This is a particularly cruel time to do this as, due to the weak dollar, international buyers have been making opportunistic (but very welcome!) purchases from US sellers. The standard cost for overseas shipment is $11 via international priority mail and can easily go up to $20-40 for oversize books. That's a fee increase of from $.88 to $3.20 on each international sale ON TOP of ABE's already considerable commission on the list price.
In addition ABE recently purchased Bookfinder and Chrislands (a website building and hosting service, popular with internet booksellers) and despite promises to remain hands-off they recently notified Chrislands customers that:
There are two fees involved in enabling your books to be available to BookFinder.com searches.(I guess that is still technically "hands off" but it is certainly both hands out)
1. Flat fee of $10.00 per month. The monthly fee covers the cost to increase your bookstore capacity to handle the amount of searches generated by BookFinder.com.
2. Commission on sales from BookFinder.com. The commission is a 7% commission on sales in your store from customers that came to your store from BookFinder.com. The commission amount is based upon the order total less taxes. There is a maximum sales commission per book of $35 (7% of $500).
So even booksellers who've made an effort to hack out their own web presence are once again corralled by ABE.
Despite these greedy buy-ups, my ABE sales are down 62% from last year (Jan 1-Apr 24) even with a somewhat larger inventory. So instead of effective promotional efforts or selling innovations (like customizable bookseller RSS feeds that I've suggested to them like 50 times) ABE just gives another push and further alienates their already poorly compensated booksellers.
I've been using ABE links on this blog because they were the only venue that listed my complete inventory with images. Going forward I will make no further links to ABE and I will steadily redirect the old links to Antiqbook which so far has been very responsive (I just started listing with them) and allows for sticky searches (staying within a single bookseller's inventory), image links, and exact shipping quotes after the sale.