May 27, 2009, 12:00 AM

Alibris will do all the work for sellers who want to unload books

The online marketplace for books has launched Alibris Distribution Services, a new book fulfillment program.

Mark Brohan

Research Director

Alibris Inc. has launched a new book fulfillment program that provides sellers of new and used books a cataloging and fulfillment service. Alibris Distribution Services is designed to help booksellers turn inventory into cash in an affordable manner.

The 13,000 booksellers on Alibris typically catalog their books online, enter product information, price books, store inventory, and process and ship orders. Alibris takes a 15% commission on all sales.

Alibris Distribution Services enables booksellers to send their books in bulk to Alibris. The company then performs the cataloging, pricing, warehousing and fulfillment for the booksellers and takes a 30% commission on sales.

The new program is aimed at independent sellers in the United States who exceed their operations capacity, have more inventory than they’ll ever catalog, or want to liquidate large amounts of new and used books, says Brian Elliott, president and CEO of Alibris, No. 116 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

The company tested the program for a year before rolling it out. During that time, participating sellers sent more than one million books to Alibris, which spurred the company to formally offer the service to all sellers.

Alibris says the program offers booksellers convenience and broad sales exposure. Alibris Distribution Services books are listed on Alibris, Alibris U.K. and Alibris for Libraries, as well as business partner sites such as Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Borders, eBay and Half.com. The pricing component of the program ensures sellers are getting the most for their books: Alibris re-prices books on a daily basis, according to current market conditions, keeping them competitively priced for sellers and appealing to customers, Alibris says.

“We think Alibris Distribution Services is a best-of-class solution for sellers with excess inventory,” Elliott says. “ADS is attractive to sellers because of its operational simplicity, affordable economics and proven success in turning backlogged inventory into cash.”

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