Good day bookies! Stand by for news and comment.

*** Finally, finally, Midsouthcon has updated their guest list for 2009. Among the regulars Glen Cook will be back. He’s a pretty interesting guy and usually has a good selection of books for sale. CJ Cherryh will be making a return visit in 2009. This is a good con, not small but not huge, either. Fun times.


*** Rare books remain rare and desirable, even in the midst of slow economic times. We have seen this during every previous slowdown and it appears to be the case again. Indeed, if upward price pressure does slacken, the well-financed collector or speculator can get a really good deal, then cash in when things turn upward and realize a much higher profit than in many more traditional venues.

And that goes for cute bears with an addiction to honey, too, as we see indicated by this auction of some rare Winnie books with hand-drawn illustrations by A.A. Milne.

Winnie the Pooh and big bucks, too!

*** As I continue to chronicle Ebay’s slow sinking into the west, the question might arise as to why your friendly neighborhood bookseller spends so much time on this topic. After all, this is supposed to be a book blog, right? Well, I joined Ebay in August, 1998, just a month after starting my business. In the ensuing decade I sold more than 3,000 books there and bought more than 1,000. It was a major part of both my selling and my collecting.

That all changed when some con artist convinced the doofi (plural of doofus) running Ebay that something called ‘disruptive innovation’ was an actual business strategy instead of what it really was, just screwing everything up to see what happened. No matter whether something had been successful or not, it was changed for the worse. The idea, if you can call it that, seems to be that if you drive every single person away from a site, you will then be able to start over and make it even better. I know that doesn’t make sense, but objective observation can come to no other conclusion.

Of course, when the company finally completes its collapse, the con artist will be on a beach somewhere spending the mega-millions he convinced the doofi to pay him for destroying their company.

What a world.

*** The linked article does a terrific job of summing up just how badly Ebay is being run these days. During the last recession the company prospered, as by its very nature it should, but this time around the frantic moron at the top made sure that would not happen, as that would defeat his dream of a billion dollar company with no page views and no customers.

Viewed objectively, there is really no other conclusion. The transition from an auction model to a fixed price one did not have to be antagonistic toward sellers, who are also in many cases buyers. It did not have to destroy businesses and lives, or create such a tidal wave of negative feelings. That it has done so can only have been deliberate. And who in their right mind would deliberately drive their your best customers? Either a lunatic or a moron. Being that I’m a nice guy, I’m going with moron.

Ebay’s continuing slide into irrelevance

*** Yet more analysts weigh in down-grading Ebay. If I posted all of these I run across this blog would run out of storage space.

Two more think Ebay is sinking