On Wednesday, September 10, the following e-mail announcement was sent to BookSense.com members from Len Vlahos, BookSense.com director.
Greeting BookSense.com Bookseller,
Beginning in January 2004 the subscription fee for BookSense.com will go from its current $175/month to $225/month. I'm writing with this news now to give you as much advance notice as possible, and to encourage you to participate in the new BookSense.com Co-Op Reimbursement Program.
The new BookSense.com Co-op Reimbursement Program, if used judiciously, will not only cover the amount of the increase, but can also cover a substantial percentage of your total monthly fee. If you're not currently claiming newsletter co-op, I urge you to look at this program -- through it you will not only earn publisher co-op monies to put toward your Web site's expenses, but you'll also be exposed to new opportunities to sell more books.
As you know, ABA has invested a great deal of time and money in the creation and growth of BookSense.com, and our Board remains firmly committed to the program's continued success. While the Board (all of whom are BookSense.com users) understands how critically important this program is to the overall success of Book Sense, it also recognizes that the program needs to move closer to breaking even. While we've made massive strides in this direction over the past year, we need to impose this modest price increase to help bring us the rest of the way.
This will be the first price increase in two years. During that time we've made many substantial improvements to the product while continuing to control costs and operate in a very frugal manner.
These enhancements have been in response your requests and recommendations.
Here are some of the key improvements made during the last year:
- launched the BookSense.com Co-op Reimbursement program, and with it, added the ability to feature three (instead of one) national theme sections
- added an optional customer comment box in the shopping cart
- improved shopping logic to increase percent of wholesaler fulfilled orders being shipped
- introduced the "discounted ground" feature
- improved local store inventory functionality
- added ability to convert any store-fulfilled order to be a wholesaler fulfilled order
- added ability to designate orders that include short discount books to be wholesaler fulfilled
- added ability to price by binding type
- forged a meaningful relationship with Levenger to create an additional revenue stream and additional exposure for BookSense.com sites
- added two new template options
- made Harry Potter audio available to all BookSense.com stores
- made modifications to admin events tools, including ability to delete more than one event at a time
- added USPS shipping option for P.O. boxes and military addresses
- international, 2nd day, and overnight shipping were made optional
- continued vigilance with, and education about, fraudulent orders
- hardware upgrade to prepare for the holiday selling season
The product has grown immensely this year both in its scope and value to your store. We plan to continue making enhancements to ensure the product stays competitive in meeting your needs. Even with the price increase, the monthly BookSense.com subscription fee is much less than any store would need to spend to build and maintain a comparable product.
Again, the price increase does not go into effect until January 1, 2004. This will give you time to make your own budget plans, to get involved with our Co-op Reimbursement Program, and to ask questions. I hope you find this information useful, and as always, I'm happy to answer any concerns or listen to any thoughts you have on this or any other subject related to BookSense.com.