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Alibris Technical Issues Plague Online Booksellers

Alibris is suffering latency issues when it comes to updating inventory leading to a host of issues for its booksellers. A seller explainedhow the delay in inventory uploads was impacting her business. “We like to upload price changes daily but when the system is slow to process them it costs us sales if books are priced above current competitive prices or costs us profits if books sell below current competitive prices.”

Sellers are already frazzled following major technical problems at Alibris during the holidays. A reader wrote on Tuesday about the continued technical issues, writing, “Not even in the last huge outage did we experience this: Books selling on Alibris are not being removed/marked as sold in our Alibris inventory.”

However, Alibris said that assessment was incorrect. “Items sold are being deleted from the site immediately,” a spokesperson told EcommerceBytes. “Due to unusually high inventory refreshes our inventory processing has more latency than usual, which is creating delays in seller inventory updates. We are working to speed it up as soon as possible. In the meantime, we have alerted sellers to the issue.”

But the reader explained in two cases the same book sold a second time, several hours after selling the first time.

In another thread, two sellers indicated they had patience left in reserve. One wrote, “Over the years, our little book business has made so much money through Alibris and we have always been treated fairly,” and wished the technical staff good luck in fixing the problems. Another seller said they believed Alibris would resolve the issues “and soon it will be business as normal again.”

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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). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.