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Showing posts from March, 2010

A bit more on Amazon

Amazon have also succeeded in infuriating the new book trade. More here from Scotland.

How bookselling sites are squeezing the independents

In the early days of internet bookselling, there was AbeBooks, a Canadian company launched in 1996 whose mission was to provide a platform for booksellers to reach a wider audience, whilst maintaining their individuality. You paid Abe a monthly fee for listing your books, and another fee when a book sold. AbeBooks was a success: after all, it made sense to join together with other booksellers who had different inventories to yours. You reached customers you could never reach on your own, and life looked good.
Abe launched the British version of the site in 2002, and I joined in 2003. In those days, Abe were keen for you, the bookseller, to promote yourself. You could buy Abe bookmarks on which you were encourage to print your own details; you could have your own website mentioned on the page on which the details of your book came up.
Abe carried on growing, and started to feel the pressure for ever increased profits from its shareholders. Booksellers started to feel the pinch:…

The Pony Club Annual - the last issues

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I've finally finished my investigations into the Pony Club Annual. After the publication of Pony Club Book No 14 in 1963, there was something of a hiatus. The next Pony Club Annual for which I can find any details was published in 1965, and was called Pony Club Annual 1966. There was a new editor, Genevieve Murphy, then equestrian correspondent of the Observer, who remained as editor until 1983. The annual's focus shifted somewhat away from the educational model of the annual under Alan Delgado, and was more obviously aimed at children. This was most apparent in the illustrations, which were no longer the naturalistic equestrian portraits from artists like Joan Wanklyn and Sheila Rose: instead, most articles had almost cartoon like illustrations. Although the content wasn't hugely different, there was a shift of emphasis away from articles of general horsy interest to articles about the Pony Club.
In 1984, Genevieve Murphy, after 18 years as editor, was now succeeded…

A little bit more on Amazon

I've done a bit more digging since my last post, and Farmlane Books are absolutely right: this policy has already been running in America for a couple of years.
There's been no movement from Amazon, unsurprisingly. I assume they have had their lawyers make as certain as they could that what they were proposing was legal under EU legislation: the same change will also apply to Amazon in France and in Germany.
I suppose in a way I am lucky because I can manage to extract myself from Amazon and only (only!) lose 20% of my income. There are many, many booksellers who cannot possibly afford to leave Amazon and so will have to comply with this policy. Anyway, I need to take up the slack somehow, so am going back to listing books on Ebay. I stopped doing this in August last year after Ebay imposed a free postage policy on sellers in many categories, which included books. They have now decided this wasn't wise, so I shall trot back into the arms of Ebay. Watch this space.

Amazon put the cosh on sellers again

I sell some books on Amazon, and they've just decided that you can only sell on their site if your prices there are at, or lower than, the prices you charge elsewhere: eg ebay, or abe (which they own, for goodness' sake) or your own site (and they also own Chrislands, who provide my sales site, so goodness knows what the long term implications are there).
This is added to the fact that Amazon already hit you for 17.5% commission every time you sell a book, in addition to the hit on the postage credit - currently 49p. So yes, the buyer may think every time you pay the £2.75 that that's going to the seller, but Amazon take their cut of it. Why? They're not buying the packaging, doing the packaging or taking the postage. And you pay a monthly fee (£28.75) as well for the privilege of listing on their site.
On my site I deliberately charge less than Amazon so that I actually sell paperback books. I think my paperbacks are generally very good value compared with Amaz…

Review: Alison Lester - The Circus Horse

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Alison Lester: The Circus Horse (Horse Crazy 2) Allen & Unwin - £4.99
Alison Lester's website

The image above is the American printing of the book, having had a bit of a spend recently at Book Closeouts, an American company who sell bargain books!
I've heard good reports of this series, so was keen to see what it was like, now it's being published in the UK, having been a roaring success in its native Australia. This is the second book in the Horse Crazy series about Bonnie and Sam, aimed at newly confident readers, or as a read to, from 5-7 upwards. Bonnie and Sam are, I guess, around 9 or 10, and are indeed horse mad. The Circus Horse is about Bonnie and Sam's attempt to enter the local Talent Contest. They practise and practise a circus routine on their borrowed pony Tricky, having already had a go on Bonnie's dad's Hereford bull, Pedro, who proves that cattle can buck just as well as ponies. Alas, animal acts are banned from the Talent Contest becaus…

The majesty that is the Fancy Dress Class

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Yet more delights from Ponies of Britain magazines ....
Firstly, you have the exhibit where the humans are definitely bearing more of the load (often literally):


Could Humpty actually see? What would have happened if the soldier had dropped the lead rope and the Shetland wall had been left to his own devices? The Guatamalan family below had obviously considered the danger of being unsighted. They only came second in their group, though, losing to the Loch Ness monster below.


This is another one which must have been a challenge while you were in the class. The pony's input here was really pretty minimal, though it looks as if he has a definite opinion on what the humans are doing.

A saintly pony: putting up with those glasses, but that was as nothing compared with


this amazing creation. The Ponies of Britain Magazine calls it "a little masterpiece of production", and it is. What a saintly pony that is, with not only two pairs of trousers, but a trunk as well. I wonder …

World Book Day

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Well, not quite - that was apparently March 4th. The Times today have a voucher for World Book Day, which you can use to buy a book for yourself, and another to give away. To support this, they have a feature in which they've asked various of the great and good what book they'd buy, and what they'd give away.

I always have a brimming list of books I'd like to buy, but top at the moment is Horses and Soldiers: a Collection of Pictures Painted by the late Gilbert Holiday, edited by Lyndon Holden, and published privately by Gale & Polden of Aldershot in 1938. Sporting artist Gilbert Holiday died at the age of 58, having spent the last years of his life in a wheelchair after a hunting accident. His works are not as readily accessible as those of his contemporaries, such as Lionel Edwards: he illustrated relatively few books and many of his works were commissioned by the military. Neither did he issue many prints. As I don't have a copy of the great work, I can't…

Pony Club Annuals

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I've recently been studying my fine collection of early Pony Club Annuals, and what a treasure trove they've been.

When I was young, my mother bought me a magazine every week which was full of information - historical pieces, scientific pieces, and the thing I remember best, and which I looked forward to most: "This week's beautiful picture". Despite long discussions, neither Mum not I can remember what the magazine was actually called. I'm fairly certain it wasn't Look and Learn, but it could well have been The World of Wonder. That title set off a little bit of a cringe at its worthiness, and I do remember being embarrassed about admitting what I read at the time, so I wonder if that means it's it? Just not sure. I think I might have to scour Ebay and see if I can buy a copy, and will then have to reassure OH that no, this is not going to be another field of study; it's just to see if that's what it was, and no I am not going to fill the hous…

Pollyanna

Usually I am a cheery composite of cheeriness, skipping round like Fotherington Thomas - hello trees, hello sky; Pollyanna-like in my determination to see the bright side, but frankly I'm struggling to see the merry side of washing sick off every article of bed clothing my daughter possesses. The winter vomiting virus is alive and well, and living in my house. It was living in me, but now I'm better, in time to nurse daughter. This, and the virus I had before I had the wvv, is why I've been quiet on the blog, and this post will be short as I have to go off and buy new vatloads of disinfectant. Daughter is being force fed Radio 4 (do wonder what she thinks of Patti Smith's early life) as the only spare bed is in my office and even for sick kids I do not do Radio Pop. Thankfully she has now finished being sick.

Hah. Oh no she hasn't. That caught us both by surprise. Wonder, as I rub poor daughter's back until spasm has passed at just how you prioritise a…