What new fresh hell for booksellers is this, Amazon?

Actually saw this NSFE discussion yesterday, when it was first created, but waited to see if it would blow-up with comments about receiving the same message.

It has:

New Seasonal Book Restriction? (link, NSFE)

Sigh. Just plain damn sigh.

1 Like

That’s nuts. Notified on the same day that the restriction starts. Real nice Amazon. Damn is right!

2 Likes

What is a “Seasonal Book”?

1 Like

There are pre-existing references to seasonal books in Seller Help with a partial list and tips for sale.

They include Christmas, Halloween, Summer Reading, and others.

Removal from FBA other than for the two months prior to the season was recommended.

Looks like they are going further to limit the excess of what is dead stock for the rest of the year, and potential customer service issues during the season.

Books are already a tiny portion of what actually sells on Amazon. Seasonal books are a true issue. Many books are remaindered when their season has passed, and Amazon is full of books remaindered in seasons past.

Not only does it create short term space and customer service issues, it creates issues for NEW booksellers, publishers and Amazon as a seller.

Amazon is a marketplace for new and current products, not obsolete, out of print, or collectible items. They got that message through my thick head, and are working on other thick heads and stubborn sellers.

Whether there is an alternative marketplace for these newly restricted books is arguable. I have no recommendation as to what might be one.

Cash cows have to control their costs as well as their profit margins.

Amazon needs good relationships with publishers.

Amazon will not be expanding its fulfillment centers, what they have must be optimized for the greatest profit.

Amazon will not be increasing their head count either.

3 Likes

To be fair, it must be admitted that this discussion appeared around noon EST on 16Jan24, so it could be argued that, given the 3:00 AM EST orientation of Amazon’s Enterprise Domain, a 15-hour heads-up was in play.

Which is only slightly better than the many new initiatives of which our Seller Community was only notified ex post facto.

Any way you slice it, however, I’d submit that “DAMN!,” most-decidedly, is an appropriate expletive.

1 Like

:smirk:

2 Likes

DAMN may be correct, but this should not really be a surprise.

The business trajectory should be clear by now.

The NSFE tread on the textbook Buy Box should be even more troublesome.

Were we to list businesses which were going to be thinned on Amazon we might include"

Booksellers
DVD and BluRay sellers
CD sellers and LP sellers
Ungraded Sports Collectibles
Advertising Collectibles
Entertainment Collectibles.

On Ebay attrition will probably include

Used Clothing
Jewelry
Used Auto Parts
Retail Arb anything

Competition in online retail is already too high. The market is not growing. Marketshare is being reallocated. Costs are too high because they were masked by high growth and must be reduced.

This does not mean there will not be any winners, but the number of losers who cannot survive will increase. and there will be a lot less sellers by the time the FTC lawsuit makes its way through the courts.

I saw references to this on the NSFE; so far, I’ve not received the e-mail. Hopefully I’m grandfathered in or something, or perhaps, nothing I have is considered “seasonal”.

I can sorta understand not wanting stuff sitting in FBA, but this doesn’t seem to state that you can’t send stuff to FBA, but rather that you can’t have it listed. Seems absurd that an FBM seller would have to sit on inventory until the right season before even being able to offer it for sale, then have to worry about relisting it if it gets delisted after the season.

As for not sending seasonal stuff to FBA until “2 months before the season”, I see two issues; first of all, what constitutes the beginning of a season? If it’s a Xmas book, does the season start on Xmas? Or Black Friday? What about the people who don’t wait, and start buying in September?
Secondly, considering that it sometimes takes 4-6 weeks after shipping to FBA for a book to be fully available, with no extra delay for the customer, do we base the 2 months on that factor? Or is it getting to the FC 2 months early?

Lastly, it seems that if they are going to make a change in what we can have at the FC, they should at least allow free removals.

5 Likes

** sigh ** More **** from Amazon for book sellers – will it never end? Lake is right - the answer is NO. If the issue is about FC space and AZ support then this should only affect FBA listings; however, it does sound like it means ALL seasonal books. I have not received this email, and wonder if it is because I do not do FBA…

1 Like

Exactly.

I do not believe that FBA has anything to do with this.

Neither does this Seller, posting on NSFE.

Plenty of items can be listed but are restricted from FBA.

This is something else. :thinking: @Booksellers

1 Like

Seller Support: You know, seasonal books…the ones that make you feel fuzzy inside during the spring, summer, winter and fall. LOL

Am Se Su: Drunk or stoned?

1 Like

There’s a reason why any trip to Seattle’s “Spheres” will typically find the scent of marijuana being combusted wafts in the air on ANY given day…

Wonder how many cook books will get removed because they contain the word season?

Amazon AI bot: “I’m going seasoned rabbit hunting”
Screenshot 2024-01-17 at 15-50-44 elmer fudd - Google Search

1 Like

Everything has to do with FBA.

Merchant fulfilled might as well not exist for all the attention it gets.

Long tail items are not planned for or accommodated either.

Most seasonal items have a selling season of 3 months or less. You go into a store on July 5 and the summer items are already marked down.

Halloween items move for about a month,

Christmas items sell roughly from Nov. 1 and are marked down on Dec 26.

Valentines items get put up a week after Christmas.

No point in cluttering up the systems and the warehouse with more than will sell in that period.

1 Like

As of 1/17, I have NOT received the dreaded email However, as a bookseller, I am trying to keep abreast of it.

I, like most, am wondering what exactly is a 'seasonal book '. I dropped by the FUSFE to see if anyone had a clear answer.
Not suprisingly, someone had asked seller support. The answer received began with:
Seasonal Book products are books have a certain seasonal feel to them.

Despite the vague idiot’s delight quoted above, I doubt that Amazon will let the usual bunch of idiots do the decision making. Rather, in keeping with the trend that we have seen, Amazon will attempt to have bots do this.
How will they do this? They will try to numerically determne if a book sells particularly well in a short period of time. As an occasional programmer, I can assure you that this is easy to do.

Note that Amazon does not have to designate the particular season. The bot does not care if it is Christmas, Mother’s day, Kwanza, or Speak Like a Pirate day. All it needs to know is that there is a short period of time in which sales are significantly better.

This digital secularism has a sneaky side effect. Most textbooks will be designated as seasonal books. This, IMHO, is the real motivation behind this new policy.

I went over to eBay and scaled up my store to the next level. I am expecting a new wave of Amazon refugee books.

5 Likes

This is why I created this thread in the Selling on Amazon category of the SAS, and undoubtedly why our friend @papy used the @Booksellers tag in Post #10 upthread.

I’m not a bookseller (other than a few sparse instances where I signed off on this or that member of the younger generations’ desire to recoup textbook costs); I’m a book buyer (hence the reason why I couldn’t create this thread over in SAS’ closed BookSeller forum).

Being an inveterate book-buyer is how I first became acquainted with Amazon in the first place, more than a ¼-century back.

Little did I comprehend, then, that I would wind contributing to the alarming trend of amalgamation of publishing control in but a few hands - but naivety then is no excuse for NOT doing what I can to keep the Booksellers Community apprised of how that societal trend could play out if left entirely in dispassionate hands such as Amazon’s (as more and more publishers, in the wake of EPEG lawsuits, seem content to do).

1 Like

Amazon has used an outside service to create catalog pages for books using publisher supplied information.

I suspect that they will use publisher supplied information to identify seasonal books, and it is possible that out of print books might fly under the radar for a while.

I suspect that eventually there will be a bot that picks out the keywords and other identifiers of seasonal books. The can probably think of words like Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Chanukah, Ramadan, Dinali and other obvious clues in listings.

As for the email warning. Amazon bots never get all of the targets the first time around. Amazon cannot afford enough CPU power to examine all of the listings.

When you go into Walmart or Target and explore the book department (if you can find it) you are seeing the future of books on Amazon.

I hope that sometime in my remaining life time the printed book will be rediscovered by some younger enthusiasts in a manner akin to the rediscovery of vinyl. But I am not confident it will. Nor am I confident that the level of censorship will not exceed the current levels.

Booksellers are not yet comparable to the defenders of the Alamo, but we could be soon.

Our recent milestone reported by @Picks_by_Nisha is truly heartening.

2 Likes

I’m gonna disagree with this because for every loser that busts out, there’ll be 2 new ones trying to get rich quick signing up.

1 Like

I’m not too sure of this, at least not in regards to bookselling. There have been plenty of posts on NSFE of new sellers not being able to list ANY books. I have no idea, of course, what percentage of new sellers this represents, but it would appear that selling books is no longer the easy entry point to Amazon that it was in the past. Amazon policies really show that they don’t care about booksellers to any great degree; I think they would be quite happy if we all left.

5 Likes

For specific categories maybe, but overall the number of sellers and the % of losers will probably keep going up.