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Category: Ebay

No more Bonanza- Update- Maybe I was hasty

Hiya Bookies! I’m sad today. Long-term readers will note that my blog no longer has the link to my Bonanza booth. Back in 2008, a small startup site called Bonanzle grew quickly into an alternative to ebay, because ebay declared war on their sellers. It was a great time, I enjoyed the site, but then school and other duties came along and I lost track of what was going on there. Today I went back.

And found out that Bonanza has become ebay. Just like the ebay-gestapo that threatens you if you even breathe wrong, so Bonanza has become. I asked a question on the forum and was told I violated posting policies. Once upon a time that would not have happened, my question would have been answered and a discussion would have ensued. But no more. Now, Bonanza has become just another crappy site with few sales, telling me that to be successful I need to ‘upgrade’ my membership, which means give them money.

So as of today, Bonanza officially sucks, and I am officially sad.

June 13, 2011- Okay, I’ve cooled off now and maybe I was a little hasty. Bonanza doesn’t actually suck. In fact, it’s pretty good. Just different from the halcyon early days, and it’s me who needs to adjust. So, to all of the above ranting, I say…never mind.

Have the mice been playing?

Good morning bookies! Stand by for news and comment.

Wow, have I been dogging the blogging. Sorry about that. The cat’s been away, I hope the mice have taken advantage. The other night, just after 10 pm, three 8′ bookcases decided to topple over in the home office of the BBG Cave, smashing this, that and just about everything in their path. The cleanup continues, but along with all of the other stuff one deals with in everyday life, it hasn’t left much time for bringing you book news. For which I apologize. Let’s get to it.

*** As Ebay continues to flounder about like…like…well, like a flounder gasping for air on a boat dock, Bonanzle continues to grow at a pace not seen before in ecommerce. I was one of the first few hundred to join, as of today the membership stands at over 28,000, with over one million items listed. BBG at Bonanzle. A number of articles have been published lately documenting their rise.

Bonanzle growing faster than a largemouth bass in a pond full of minnows

*** And yet, with ebay’s idiocy well documented by now, there are still so-called journalists out there that are so far behind the curve they still give credence to ebay’s press releases. Seriously, for those who follow this on a regular basis, you read articles like this and wonder if the person who wrote it even knows how to turn on their computer, they are so far out of the loop. But I guess somebody has to write a fluff piece and this doofus volunteered.

Kissing the ebay toad

Contrast that fluff piece with this much better thought out look at the dying ebay. It’s amazing what happens when someone who actually understands ecommerce and is familiar with the details of what Donohoe has done to destroy his company writes about it.

Gigging the ebay toad

*** Okay, maybe a catalogue is stretching the news about books thing just a little, but not so much that it bothers me. When the Nazis overran Europe, one gets the sense that is was more to arrange a shopping spree than for any other reason. Most of the bigwigs gobbled up collections of this or that, but the most voracious collector of them all was Hermann Goring. Now a catalogue of his ill-gotten gains has been compiled. I wish I knew how many of these had been returned to their rightful owners.

Goring had good taste, anyway

*** Forrest Ackerman has long been considered the greatest collector in SFandom. When he died he vowed to take it with him but, so it would appear, that really isn’t possible. Thus, the bulk of his collection is being auctioned off and is expected to bring a cool half mil. Having once met him I can say that I found him a gracious and genuinely kind man. One of the good ones.

Forry’s stuff is going on the block

*** Not long ago I profiled The History Press, a publisher that whose mission I greatly admire. They are in the news now, in a good way. It seems they felt obligated to pay back royalties to some authors, even though they were not legally libel for them, and have now done so. The CEO who oversaw this operation has stepped down now that the job is done.

So let me get this straight: a company does the right thing even though they don’t have to. And the man whose job it was to accomplish this moves on when his job is finished. Can this be true? Do ethics and morals still exist in business today? I guess they do. Who’d a thunk it?

The History Press shows the way

*** Let’s put this under the category of ‘Laughing so you don’t cry.’ It seems that Bill Ayers, the terrorist who tried to kill people as a member of the Weather Underground, a group that did its best to kill people, good friend and mentor of the new president, is getting his own graphic novel. That’s right, a member of a group of would-be murderers not only gets to walk the streets, he also gets illustrated editions of his books. Too bad they failed, he probably would have gotten a bigger advance. Nice gig.

He tried to kill people, failed, and now gets paid for it

*** I guess most bookies know that I was once an avid comic book collector. And, like every other collector, I drooled at the thought of stumbling on a copy of Action Comics #1, the first appearance of Superman. And before you ask, no, it didn’t happen. But it did happen to someone else, even if it was 59 years ago. And when a cherished comic like this finally leaves its owner’s hand and comes on the marketplace, it’s very big news indeed.

The first linked article explains how and where this comic comes from. That’s interesting. But what’s even more interesting to me is that, while the comic will be auctioned online, the word ‘ebay’ is nowhere in the picture. Instead, the auctioneer will be using their own website. Ha! For those who follow such things this spells doom for ebay, because when they are no longer attracting this sort of high profile rarity you know things are turning south. Oh, and by the way, the original Superman didn’t fly, he could just leap a really long way.

Action Comics #1 Found

Wanna see what it looks like?

Baseball is near

Good Sunday morning, bookies! It’s bright skies and warmish weather here in West Tennessee and my least favorite month of the year has given way to my second-least favorite month of the year. February is a month of hope, no matter how cold it might be. Because in less than two weeks I’m going to read those magic words that mean Spring is just around the corner: ‘Pitchers and catchers reported to training camp today.” That’s right, baseball season is getting close, and they don’t call them the Boys of Winter, now do they? Heck, college baseball season starts in less than two weeks. Let’s get this show on the road.

*** Sometimes I tell you things and you don’t listen. Like last August when I told you about the new start-up ebay alternative I had found and made a home, Bonanzle. You didn’t believe me, or you blew it off and thought ‘yeah, yeah, where have I heard that before?’ But here we are, six months later, with Bonanzle past the million listing mark and being heaped with praise from media everywhere. Of course, it’s still early in the company’s history, so you, too, can jump on the bandwagon.

Bonanzle keeps growing

*** The list of Best and Worst places to work in 2008 seems a bit harsh to me. The Best Place to work would be anywhere that gives you a paycheck that doesn’t bounce. The worst would be the place that lays you off. But, using different criteria, Glassdoor has compiled its own list, presumably one of companies that actually still pay their employees. And guess who at Number 47 in the bottom 50? Yep, you guessed it, ebay. The site-that-aims-to-have-zero-traffic has never been a highly rated place to work, but bottom 50 is pretty bad. I guess John Donohoe hates his employees as much as he hates his sellers. and no, that doesn’t make sense, but neither does anything else the company has done for the past year.

ebay rated as one of the worst places to work by its employees

*** Since we’re on the subject of auctions sites and ebay, here’s a quick little round up of what some of them plan for the immediate future:

Coming soon to a site near you

*** And, since there’s more ebay stuff, we’ll just pile it all on here. This actually involves more than just ebay, it’s about how our beloved Congress wants to make life even harder for those trying desperately to make a little extra cash on the internet. Why people want these buffoons to have even more control of their lives is beyond me.

Of course, the irony in the attached story is that while Congress is out to destroy the small internet seller once and for all, ebay, who has spent the last year trying to do this very thing, wants help from the small seller in fighting against Congress. In other words, the Devil wants our help fighting Satan.

Two vampires fighting over the same blood

*** Ah, finally, you say. An actual blog entry about a book. Isn’t that what this blog is supposed to be about?

There is an obvious new trend in World War II histories, one that is quite refreshing to someone like me, but might be easily misunderstood. Namely, historians are examining the role of the Allies in what some might call atrocities. Certainly the Americans, French and British did not set out to commit atrocities, and those that were committed were done so against the rules. But not so with the Red Army, whose behavior in Germany was at least as bad, if not worse, than the German behavior in the USSR. But the Germans had in coming, you say? Not so fast there, bucko.

Let us not forget that until June, 1941, the USSR was no friend of either England or the USA. Stalin had, by that point, invaded and conquered half of Poland (we always forget that the Red Army also attacked Poland in September of 1939), the three Baltic countries of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, had attacked Finland (without provocation or warning) and taken the Karelian Isthmus for herself, had taken Bessarabia from Rumania…in other words, Stalin was every bit the aggressor that Hitler was, except that his conquests did not have ties of allegiance to the west. Nor was he any less bloody in his treatment of the populace. How many Ukranians were killed during the collectivization of the 20’s? Millions, surely, but how many millions? 10-20 million is the figure I see most often.

So the Russo-German War was, in reality, a clash between one murderous dictator and another, nothing more, nothing less. Does the fact that Stalin was an ally of the West during the war years excuse the Red Army’s barbarous behavior? It’s a question that probably could not have been asked until recently.

Here’s a seven year review of Anthony Beevor’s Berlin: The Downfall, who was the first of the big named authors to start down this path.

The Red Army’s bloody road of rape

*** Hallelujah, hallelujah, we are saved from ourselves by the US Congress! But not for another year.

Bookies have read my rants about the idiotic new anti-lead law passed by the US Congress that was so poorly written that it banned almost anything that could even be seen by a kid under 12, including used books. I commented at the time that, like almost everything Congress does, it was so out of touch with reality that it would need to be seriously amended, delayed or cancelled. Well, the government has picked delay. The silliness won’t go into effect until next year, presumably so they can issue guidelines to try and make sense of the senseless.

I say again, just ban imports from China and be done with it.

This, that, the other and more

Good morning bookies! Stand by for news and comment.

When I said I might miss a few blogs this week, I didn’t think it would mean the whole week. Sorry about that. I was in Arlington, VA., for the funeral of my uncle, a most solemn and moving experience. It’s hard to express how you feel when you realize that someone you thought of as merely ‘uncle so and so’, a nice man who was there your whole life wearing his cherished but heavily worn jacket, his baggy pants, paying you to wrap his Christmas gifts when you were a kid, growing his own vegetables and pickling them for Christmas gifts, that seemingly ordinary man who was your uncle earned through his career the honor that brought 40-50 men and women of the United States Army to venture out into the January cold for his funeral, people he had never met but who honored him as one of their own. There was a band, an honor guard, a horse-drawn caisson, the riderless horse with the boots backward in the stirrups. There was the shooting guard firing its salute, and an honest-to-goodness bugler to blow Taps. He was buried less than 200 yards from his oldest brother, both in the shadow of the Pentagon. From five brothers born to a middle class family, two are buried at Arlington.

I guess I always knew my uncle was special, just not special in this particular way.

Now I’m back, so let’s get to blogging.

*** Okay, someone has my ideal life. Or one of my ideal lives, anyway. Running a bookstore on the high seas. Yep. If we can have a ship that is a floating condo complex, why not one that is a giant bookstore? This is one of the neatest things I’ve ever seen, I wonder if it could navigate the Mississippi River up to Memphis? I have to assume that the books are all new, unless the public brings in their used books to sell (trade?) while the ship is in port, which would really be kind of neat. The link is to an older story about the ship, there are newer stories but this one had the best pictures.

Floating bookstore

*** During the 60’s and 70’s there was a flurry of activity surrounding Japanese soldiers who were left behind and forgotten on various islands scattered around the Pacific during World War II, men who didn’t know the war had ended and were still fighting (or, mostly hiding from) US forces. I have read the autobiography of one such man, Onoda, who was trapped on a small Phillippine Island until 1974 but who was accused of cowardice on his return to Japan. (The Japanese of the pre-war period weren’t big on forgiveness) Now here’s the story of another such man who, for some inexplicable reason, lived a similar story but was NOT thought of as a coward on his return to Japan. I think to know the reason one was thought a coward and the other was not, you would need to be Japanese.

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Japan/KA17Dh01.html

*** I know, you’re going into withdrawal. It’s been more than a week without a story bashing ebay. Well, this is a Bonanzle story, not an ebay, exactly. Of course, without ebay’s momentous choke job last year there would not BE a Bonanzle, not one growing so fast as the 2009 version, anyway, so the following story from CNN shows just how far the little-site-that-could has come. More than 20,000 members now and you can only think it will grow exponentially from his point.

*** Bonanzle gaining steam and members

*** The demise of the independent bookstore is rather an old story by now, but there is still room to mourn when a good one goes under. I never shopped at Cody’s, but it seems like the sort of store that I would have liked. Our local independent small-chain seller, Davis-Kidd books, is terrific, the personnel irreplaceable, but one can only hope they are in this for the long run. Losing them would hurt very badly, so I understand the sense of loss for Cody’s loyal customers.

A good one bites the dust

*** There was a time when I took historian David Irving seriously. As did many other people, I might add. He was British, he was a historian, he sounded good and had the right credentials. His opinions were a bit different than most, but so what? Mine are too. Of course, this was before he wound up in jail in Austria for denying the Holocaust. (As an American this seems bizarre, that someone could be thrown in jail for espousing a political view, even one as awful as this. But if I am ever in Austria again, and I hope that I am, you can be sure I won’t be denying the Holocaust or Sieg Heil-ing down Kartnerstrasse, even if I were so inclined, which I’m not. I mean, how stupid can you be?)

Anyway, Irving lost pretty much all credibility when he went about saying the Holocaust wasn’t real and didn’t happen, but this has lead to a most interesting turn: Irving, it seems, was chosen by Hitler himself to be his biographer. Not that the two ever met, of course. Irving spent part of his childhood dodging bombs dropped by the Luftwaffe and was still a child when Hitler ate the end of a Walther. But, no matter. Hitler somehow knew Irving would come along one day and appointed him the task of writing his ‘true’ biography. How could he know such a thing? don’t think about it, you’ll get a headache. Instead, read the attached article, it’s fascinating and eerie and you’ll hope you’re never sitting next to Irving on a long plane flight.

David Irving is even stranger than you thought

*** I note that Patrick McGoohan died Tuesday in L.A. ‘The Prisoner’ was one of those fleeting moments of remembered greatness in one’s youth, so transitorily wonderful that you never forget it. During one of my two years at UT Knoxville there was a marathon of ‘The Prisoner’s’ one and only season that I sat through until my backside ached. The series was one of those that was so uniquely English that it could never have been made anywhere else, and efforts to try would have failed miserably.

A legend has passed.

*** Not merely one legend, however. I see where sir John Mortimer has died and this is truly a loss that I will feel. For those who haven’t discovered Rumpole of the Bailey, I feel sorry for you. Second only to PG Wodehouse in my estimation of the great 20th century British humorists, Mortimer could seemingly will laughs from even the most dour reader. ‘She Who Must Be Obeyed’ is something all husbands can relate to and none would admit to doing so. Sigh…

No more Rumpole

Happy Birthday to the Marine Corps!

Good morning bookies! Stand by for news.

*** Today is the 233rd birthday of the United States Marine Corps. As they say, Semper Fi, Mac.

*** Generosity, ignorance or something more sinister? It seems that UK charity Oxfam found something quite unusual in its deposit bin, a set of 18th century books on the English Civil War, bound in leather and tooled in gold. Who put them there and why? You would think a charity would not look a gift horse in the mouth. But Oxfam, it would seem, has some cheek about them. It seems there are only 4 books and the set should have six. They want the rest.

That’s right, they are looking for the original owner so they can possibly get the missing volumes and get more money for the set. This seems a bit risky, if you ask me. What if the owner has giver’s remorse, claims they were stolen and wants them back? Or perhaps someone who was angry with them donated them without permission. Maybe the owner died and his heirs donated them not knowing they had value. We here a Billthebookguy.com will follow this story closely and report any updates.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/tayside_and_central/7689339.stm

*** Some people would be sad to see a school sell of its treasures to fund repairs to its infrastructure. It seems that New Zealand’s Nelson College is selling off part of a massive collection of rare works on New Zealand and the area to fund upkeep. That’s too bad, of course, it really is. At the same time, it does seem sort of Circle-of-Life, doesn’t it?

*** Quite by accident I popped onto Ebay yesterday, having clicked the wrong bookmark. What a surprise! The site looks awful, junked up with harsh colors hurting my eyes. I left quickly, so glad I no longer do business there. What a mess.

*** The purpose of this blog is not to promote movies or TV shows. However, since I’m the blogger, I can if I want to. And this promo for an upcoming BBC documentary even has a book to follow, so I can justify it even on those grounds.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2008/11/10/nosplit/bvtvlaurence-rees-1011.xml

Adolf Hitler, the Nazis and the Holocaust have long been considered the most evil regime of the 20th Century. One reason, frankly, is because they are such an easy target. Not only were they truly evil, but they were also quite memorable. The uniforms, the pageantry, the figures themselves. Who doesn’t know the names of Himmler or Goebbels? And the numbers of deaths they are responsible for are staggering.

But by any measure you can think of, either numbers or just sheer wasteful brutality, Stalin and the Soviets are equally as bad and quite possibly even worse. Which is why the above linked article is so welcome to this friendly neighborhood bookseller. Despite the postwar hype about Hitler’s plans for the West, the fact is that he never really had any concrete concepts about destroying the USA; his understanding of America was really quite poor. Stalin, on the other hand, knew America much better and was a far greater threat. And during the war FDR knew it, as did Churchill. But while Churchill viewed Stalin as an evil necessity, FDR cozied up to him and gave away half of Europe at Yalta, based strictly on the idea that he alone could control Stalin.

History, it seems, is finally beginning to deal with the truth.

How many people did Stalin murder before the war even began? http://www.projo.com/news/content/ukraine_award_11-09-08_3QC75DP_v14.2c2579c.html

*** It should come as no surprise that, despite the countless books already written on Churchill, major historians such as Carlo D’Este are still writing new biographies on the English Lion. Focusing on Churchill the soldier, the book looks fascinating, and I can think of at least one person for whom it would make an ideal Christmas gift.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/09/books/review/Kagan-t.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

*** Father Andrew Greeley is in critical condition at a Chicago hospital after falling and fracturing his skull. Author of more than fifty books, I’m betting a lot of people weren’t even aware that he was a Catholic priest.

Monday October 20

Good morning bookies! Stand by for news!

64 years ago today Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s invasion to liberate the Philippines began with an attack on the island of Leyte, which prompted a Japanese counter-offensive that lead to the largest naval battle of all time, The Battle of Leyte Gulf.

*** Following up the continuing story of the fire-bombing attack in England on the home of the publisher for The Jewel of Medina, it seems three men were in court at the Old Bailey in the case. (Aside: whenever I hear of someone going to the Old Bailey, I wonder if perhaps Horace Rumpole will be their barrister)

http://www.thebookseller.com/news/69210-jewel-of-medina-three-in-court.html

*** Sunday, October 19, saw the demise of Acres of Books in Long Beach, CA. Founded in Cincinnati in the 1920’s, legendary bookseller Bertrand L. Smith moved the store to Long Beach in 1934. It seems that such classic buildings are no longer wanted in 21st century California, probably too much history, not enough glass, and so the store is now gone. I never had a chance to visit this mythic oasis and now I never will. Had I been there, I would have taken a sleeping bag and slept in the aisles for the last week or so.

http://www.acresofbooks.com/

*** It seems that ABEbooks is having difficulty keeping staff. As an ABE seller, it makes you wonder what they are doing with the fees they charge their sellers. We have known for some time that they encourage workers to take frequent breaks for company supplied diversions such as foosball, but Wii? Seriously? I’m paying fees so these people can play Wii? No doubt there is some logic behind this. No doubt. Okay, there is some doubt.

The Vancouver Sun had a long article about this, which had drawn some pretty sarcastic comments, and it was mysteriously pulled down after a day. Interesting. Perhaps ABE’s notoriously thin skin for criticism came into play?


*** William Christopher, aka Father Mulcahy on M*A*S*H*, is 76 today. Gack!

*** Historian Nicholas Rankin has a new book that is right up my alley, Churchill’s Wizards: The British Genius for Deception 1914-1945. To date it seems the only edition is the English from Faber & Faber. I’m not sure exactly how you justify Churchill in the title, since of that 31 year period he was only PM for 5 years, but I’m sure it helps sell the books.

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/non-fiction/article4954406.ece

*** I’ve laid off of Ebay for a while, but since it is a legitimate venue for new and used books, both buying and selling, it seems appropriate to follow its continuing demise. On July 26, 2008, I wrote this: “Ebay stock this week is trading around $24.30 or so. I think it was around $32 when they started this idiocy of wiping out their customer base. Maybe their strategy will work. Maybe they will bounce back to become dominant again. And maybe not. And the Motley Fool has declared it their stock to dump. Good. I’m always glad to see Corporate Arrogance rewarded.”

As of today, Monday, October 20th, 10:11 am CDT, Ebay is trading around $15.30. More and more articles are appearing in the financial sectors publications about the company not responding to the market and having serious underlying issues. In other words, these financial gurus are beginning to figure out what we peasants in the trenches have known for 6 months, that Ebay’s declaration of war on sellers was not just bad business, it was suicidal. And until they reverse direction, assuming at some point that they do reverse direction, it will not get better. Indeed, it may already be too late.

Overwhelmingly overwhelmed

Good morning, bookies. Stand by for news!

First, sorry about no blog yesterday. One of those days spent doing paperwork for the government.

It’s an Ebay kind of day, as the chickens these people have been buying are streaming home to roost. I want to apologize to those of you who are bored with this topic. I think after today we’ll just let things ride for a while, unless something major happens. Anyway, this week brings layoffs, stock lows, all kinds of good news. Let’s start with an analysis from some guy I’ve heard of, but who probably hasn’t heard of me, either.
http://www.cnbc.com/id/27049104/site/14081545?__source=aol

Falling into the category of ‘they really want these people gone’, we give you this infuriating look at corporate culture:
http://www.webguild.org/2008/09/ebay-layoffs-executives-to-get-4-years-pay.php

I had more links at this point, but it seemed like overkill.

And then there’s this: Ebay is fighting Congressional restrictions on online selling. This blog is intended not to be political, however, it is the position of this blogger, me, that the more Congress sticks its nose into online sales, or anything, for that matter, the more it screws it up. So one tends to side with Ebay when they oppose something which is bad for everyone except those with the deepest pockets.
http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/index.ssf?/base/news-14/1223266542244890.xml&coll=1

And yet more. I’m starting to think this is just piling on. I’m even starting to feel somewhat sympathetic for Ebay. This first one is a firm cutting it’s price target for their stock.

http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idINBNG20761820081007?rpc=44

Next up is an in-depth question of whether or not Ebay’s acquisition of Bill Me Later is a good or a bad thing. Given the out-and-out vitriol generated by PayPal’s sometimes heavy-handed implementation, it may well be a terrible thing. Only time will tell.

http://seekingalpha.com/article/98748-granting-credit-is-ebay-s-bill-me-later-part-of-the-solution-or-part-of-the-problem?source=yahoo

Then there’s the real question of whether Ebay’s recent moves are a moot point given the dissent and dislike they have generated this year among their once fanatically loyal seller base.

http://finance.yahoo.com/tech-ticker/article/89604/eBays-Acquisitions%2C-Layoffs%3A-Too-Little%2C-Too-Late%3F

*** Ted Briggs has died. Although not book related, I’m sorry to hear this. Ted Briggs was an 18 year old Signalman in 1941, serving aboard HMS Hood when she went into battle against the Bismark, pride of the Kriegsmarine. A shell from Bismark, reportedly a 5.9″ secondary gun, penetrated to the Hood’s secondary magazine and the Royal Navy’s largest battlecruiser exploded, leaving only three survivors from a crew of more than 1500. One was Briggs.

*** Jerome Corsi, author of Obama Nation, has been detained in Kenya. Apparently Kenyans prefer the idea of an ancestral Kenyan becoming president to freedom of the press, reminding us once again that it is not one world.

Never enough Tolkien?

Good morning, bookies. Stand by for news!

*There’s never enough Tolkien. When I saw The Children of Hurin was going to be published as a novel, I found it very strange. A new entry in the Canon of Middle Earth in novel form, 35 years after Professor Tolkien died? But I loved the book. In places it was sketchy, true, but in places it was completely fleshed out, and it was all JRRT. Indeed, in some ways it was far more ambitious than was The Lord of the Rings. It gives depth to the whole history. Glorious.

Now, there is a live chat for you fanatics out there, on October 14th. No, it’s not with Professor Tolkien. Sorry. It’s with Alan Lee, the Tolkien family’s chosen artist for illustrating Middle Earth. Here’s the link. Enjoy.
http://www.tolkienlibrary.com/press/847-Children_of_Hurin_Paperback_Release_Event.php

And lest we forget, this is the 70th anniversary f the first publication of The Hobbit. As you may know, there is a film in the works (which the Tolkien estate fought to prevent. But they also fought to prevent the first three films, and as much as I respect Christopher Tolkien’s editing of his father’s works, I loved the movies) for sometime in the near future, along with two original films that will fill in the time gap between The Hobbit and LOTR. (These movies I am much less on board with. Original Middle Earth material from a non-Tolkien source? Color me dubious.)

*Another group weighs in on the debacle that has become Ebay. As I write this Ebay’s stock is flirting with a 52 week low of $19.94. The linked article does a good job of explaining some of the mess and why Ebay’s customers are leaving the site in droves.
http://ebaygossip.wordpress.com/2008/10/02/professional-seller-alliance-pesa-tells-it-as-it-is/

And if that’s not enough for you, Morgan Stanley downgraded Ebay’s stock today. Here’s a quote from an article on the reasoning why: “Seller checks and proprietary data indicate that trends deteriorated more than expected in Q3 amid eBay’s ongoing transition in its core marketplace, greater economic sensitivity and poor demand,” he writes in a research note today. Joseph writes that he now expects greater deceleration in global gross merchandise volume in Q3 than previously expected, with a possible year-over-year decline in the U.S. And he also cautions that eBay faces a “challenging holiday season.” Jospeh also notes that the company’s current issues are likely to linger: he cut estimates not only for Q3 and Q4, but also for 2009. “We have less conviction in eBay’s strategy to transform its core marketplace from an auction-based ‘thrift’ to a transaction-oriented platform that better addresses fixed-price in-season retail,” he writes.”

Put another way, the whole thing is a mess and nobody has a clue where it will wind up, including those running the company.

* Controversy continues to follow Gwen Ifill and her role as moderator in the VP debate. I’ll say this: she stands to gain substantially from an Obama victory in terms of book sales, therefore she has a vested interest and should not moderate. Can’t anyone spell ‘conflict of interest?’

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