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Amazon Launches Textbook Rental Program

Could Rental Program affect Third-Party Sellers?

This past weekend many Amazon sellers noticed a new addition to Amazon’s textbook category. For the first time ever, Amazon is now allowing students to rent textbooks for a semester rather than buy them. Since the beginning, the staple of Amazon has been selling books but the introduction of renting has caused third-party sellers to worry. With back-to-school deals on the horizon, this new textbook renting program could have negative outcomes for third-party sellers on Amazon.


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Amazon expected to Launch New Tablet Thursday

Septemeber 5th, 2012— Inc is expected to announce the newest version of their Kindle Fire at their press conference Thursday in Santa Monica, Calif.  News of the conference has circulated hundreds of rumors and it finally looks like Amazon will be introducing a larger tablet and updated version of their popular Kindle e-reader.

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Tax Alert: Does the Future for Online Sellers include Sales Tax?

October 9th, 2012— As more and more people discuss the upcoming Presidential election, many e-commerce and marketplace sellers are turning their attention to the upcoming possibility of collecting sales taxes.  Three pending bills (Main Street Fairness Act, Marketplace Equity Act, and Marketplace Fairness Act) could become passed this year making it extremely confusing and difficult for sellers as they would become liable for all sales taxes in every state they do business in.

For years states have been seeking the legislation of taxing e-commerce businesses as, to their estimates, they are missing out on potentially $23 billion in loss revenue. In 2011, senators introduced a bill that would overrule the Quill Corps. v. North Dakota ruling and allow states to collect sales taxes on internet sales. The original ruling was established in 1992 when North Dakota attempted to impose taxes on Quill Corps, a Delaware-based stationary company that sold computer software to users in other states. The Supreme Court later ruled that a business must have a physical presence in a state for that state to require it to collect sales taxes. If these looming bills are passed, the cost of doing business on the internet could rapidly increase and complicate things come tax season for online merchants.

When these taxes go into effect, and we say “when” because its bound to happen, merchants are going to be facing not only file returns for each taxing state, but calculating over 9,600 tax jurisdictions, each one having its own rates and sale tax holidays.  Although e-commerce businesses doing less than $500,000 in annual sales will not face the tax burden, larger merchants will be required to pay up. The only way online retailers can help prevent and voice their opinion of the upcoming law is by contacting congressmen and senators and even then, it looks like this will eventually go into effect.

Track your Orders with Amazon SMS Text Trace

November 1, 2012–One of the things that makes so great is they understand customer’s needs. It’s the foundation Jeff Bezos has built upon to make Amazon what it is today. Typically, when someone makes an order online they want two things—cheap shipping and a time and date to expect their order. Although Amazon already has these two categories covered, they’re now rolling out another feature that makes buying on Amazon even MORE convenient.

Amazon’s new SMS Text Message Alert system, Text Trace, allows buyers to follow their Amazon packages via text messages sent straight to your phone. Although this new feature only works with orders shipped by and not third-party sellers, the service is absolutely free! When your order is shipped, you will receive a text message on your phone notifying you order has been shipping followed by tracking confirmation. Text messages will list the tracking ID and the latest status of your package according to the carrier. Once the package is delivered, you’ll get a text stating your package has been delivered. Amazon’s Text Trace only sends out text messages between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. (PST) but you’ll get a text whenever the package is shipped, out for delivery, delivered or encounters a problem.

To sign up for Text Trace, follow these steps:

  1. Visit Your Account and click the “Your Orders” button.
  2. Find the order you’d like to track and click the “Trace Your Package” button.
  3. You’ll be shown the option to sign up for Text Trace for packages shipped by

Amazon’s Text Trace supports the following mobile phone carriers:

  • AT&T
  • Alltell
  • Booth
  • Cellular South
  • Cincinnati Bell
  • Midwest Wireless
  • Nextel Communications
  • Sprint PCS
  • T-Mobile
  • US Cellular
  • Verizon Wireless
  • Virgin Mobile

Amazon Pages becoming a Reality

November 20, 2012—If Facebook and Pinterest had a baby, it would be Amazon Pages. Although Amazon hasn’t officially announced it, the marketplace behemoth has slowly started allowing third-party sellers to set up their own custom business pages on its marketplace. Amazon Pages, the newest feature from, comes complete with branded URLs, analytics and social-media integration to assist merchants better develop their online business using the marketplace.

Amazon Pages takes the best features from Facebook and Pinterest, and combines them into an Amazon merchandising design. Third-party sellers can choose from three different customizable storefront templates: All Products, Posts With Merchandising and Posts Only. The first two include a merchandising widget that allows brands to display products with an “Add to Cart” button or links to a particular product. Additional elements of Amazon Pages include marketing tools like Amazon Analytics, which measures the volume of traffic going to your page.

The top of an Amazon Page looks much like Facebook’s Timeline and the bottom feed looks very similar to Pinterest. Like any other social-media outlet, Amazon Pages lets brands act as publishers, posting images, content and product links. Similar to Twitter, posts are limited to 140 characters and can be cross-published to a brand’s Facebook page but not Twitter feed.

FAQs about Amazon Pages can be found here. A PDF guide to setting up Amazon Pages can be downloaded here.

PayPal News—New Feature to warn Sellers of Risky Behavior

December 14, 2012—Sellers beware. Too many refunds could put you in jeopardy of losing your status with PayPal. The online payment service PayPal has announced they are launching a new feature that will monitor seller’s performance metrics. The purpose of the new feature is to warn sellers of potential problems by keeping tabs on seller performance. The new rating scale will include three metrics—Dispute rate; Refund rate; and Average refund time. It will also display “Average Transaction price” and “Average monthly volume.”

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PayPal Continues to Expand POS Service for Brick and Mortar Retailers

January 16, 2013—PayPal wants to be a major player in the point-of-sale service. The online payment processing company announced earlier this week they had exceeded their goal of signing up 20 large national retailers to its POS service by the end of 2012. PayPal’s VP of Retail service said the company currently has 23 retailers in agreements for the service.

“The vision we started to lay out in 2012 is quickly becoming a reality, and when you now walk into 18,000 physical stores around the U.S., you see the PayPal name when checking out, making the reality of any time, anywhere payments come alive.”

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Online Haggling coming Soon? Amazon files for Patent for New System

October 10, 2012–Since the dawn of the internet, the sport of online shopping has worked in only two ways—Either you pay the listed price for an item and receive it, or you don’t and receive nothing. Unlike flea markets or garage sales, haggling has never played a major role with online shopping except for maybe the occasional Craigslist ad. That may soon be ending as Amazon’s new patent idea in the form of an online haggling system could soon be on its way.

Online haggling system? has filed for a patent that would create a first-of-its-kind system to allow buyers and sellers the ability to intermingle with one another and freely make offers and counteroffers on items until both parties agreed. Although eBay has a similar service called “Best Offer” where buyers can make their own offers, is looking to revolutionize the buying and selling experience online with their new patent. Along with their haggling system, Amazon would propose a rating system for both buyers and sellers based on flexibility, average closing prices, and how likely either side is to drop a deal before it’s done.

With the Holiday season rapidly closing in, this haggle feature could become a must-have for marketplace buyers as more and more people look to save money during this extremely expensive time of year.