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Alibris Marketplace Simplifies Fee Structure for Gold Sellers

Alibris marketplace will roll out a new fee and inventory structure for Gold sellers effective March 1, 2014. Eliminating its 13-tier structure, Alibris will introduce a simplified, “more affordable” 5-tier plan. “As a result of this new plan, current Gold Sellers will receive lower monthly fees, higher inventory allowances, or in some cases, both,” according to the announcement.

Those who are paying the same in monthly fees who commented on the boards did not sound excited about higher inventory allowances. Under the old fee structure, a seller who was listing an average of between 2,001 – 4,000 listings per month would pay $35/month. Under the new plan, that seller would continue to pay $35, but would be able to list up to 20,000 listings per month.

Some sellers do see a savings in their monthly fees. For example, a seller listing between 4,001 – 10,000 listings had been paying $40, while sellers who listed between 10,001 – 20,000 listings had been paying $50/month. Starting March 1st, those sellers will pay $35/month.

New sellers can take advantage of the program as well.

According to the announcement, the new fee structure presents a better value for a large portion of the Alibris Seller community. “With these changes, and the growing Alibris Partner Network (which includes Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and dozens of others) Alibris now presents the best value in terms of listing media products across the web.”

Alibris said the change would positively impact 97% of existing Gold Sellers: “Some Sellers will receive a lower monthly fee, some a higher inventory threshold. Over 50% of Alibris Gold Sellers will receive both.”

None of the eight sellers discussing the new fee announcement on this Alibris Dealers discussion thread seemed to benefit from the new fee structure, nor did they point to any negative impact from it either. But they did voice some criticism of the company.

One seller said an increase in shipping reimbursement would be more welcome than the new fee structure.

Another pointed to the massive site problems in November that also affected sellers in December and said the new fees did not constitute “restitution” for the problems. “What needed to be done was obvious to everyone except Alibris, credit November subscription fees (after all the site was down through most of it), but I guess that was more money than Alibris could stomach losing.”

When asked about what Alibris had done to make amends for the problems, as promised, Alibris spokesperson Dorothy Davis said, “Rather than do a one-time fee reversal as a make-good to our sellers, we felt they would benefit from even more impactful changes. After carefully considering all the options we chose to make significant changes to our inventory and fee structures. These changes are permanent, and will have a positive impact on our sellers for many years to come.”

She also said Alibris has invested in a new hardware solution from Oracle that will provide its customers and partners with much-improved performance and stability, and said the solution was in the process of being integrated into Alibris’ infrastructure.

Another seller said he already spent $35/month with between 2,000 – 3,000 listings, and pointed to a problem he faced. Alibris did not adjust his inventory across partner sites when he deleted listings, leading to double orders that resulted in a hit to his seller rating. “For years now, our deletes do not propagate to the partner sites, so we get lots of double orders. I’ve pointed this out to Alibris repeatedly, but of course they won’t admit there’s a problem.”

More information about the new fees is available on the Monsoon Commerce blog.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.