DETAILED MEMBER BENEFITS LIST (scroll down to view all)
The WBM Bookselling site
Our WBM selling site is steadily growing in size and customer sales, although it will likely be some time yet before the selling site itself begins to rival the larger and longer-established sites in terms of direct sales achieved. There are NO commissions or handling fees whatsoever charged on any sale at the site. Any such transaction is entirely between the WBM Member and the customer.
The WBM website has a secure credit card module (fully PCI compliant) at which customers can leave their credit card details for forwarding to the Member(s) selling the book(s).
The WBM bookseller site carries some very sophisticated and advanced search routines, such as automatically finding "Mac" when "Mc" is entered, and allowing any combination of apostrophe to be entered by either seller or customer and still returning a "hit" (so that a search for Obrians will still find O'Brian's and OBrian's and O'Brians', and so on).
The site also boasts a very effective and easy-to-drive Variable Shipping Weight matrix, permitting Members to set different shipping rates for different customer countries and for different weights of book. Up to 6 weight ranges and 6 local and international geographic zones are catered for.
The WBM site allows its Members to post up to 10 images per book. Each of these extra images may carry a text caption set by the Member (see relevant section below). Links can then be created to that Gallery of images and captions which can be inserted into emails to customers, or displayed at other sites where this is permitted (e.g. at one's private website).
Some Members elect to have their private websites display all other Members' listings along with their own. Thus, when you upload books to the WBM they instantly display on many other Member websites around the world. Many extra sales come from this cross-fertilisation of private websites. The WBM site actively encourages re-direction by Members to their own websites.
Automatic onload of books data to all your bookselling sites
No more painstaking and time-consuming uploads to booksite after booksite in succession - a WBM Member only has to upload his or her listings once (to the WBM). Our fileserver will thereafter forward that file to every site a Member lists on within the next hour or two. All such onloads/forwards are logged and viewable by the Member, and if the receiving site has a problem with its FTP protocols (or is down for any reason) the member will be advised that after three time-spaced attempts to forward the file to that site the receiving site has failed and a manual upload or refresh of that file is required for that site.
The WBM Member has a configurable Dashboard in which he or she sets all the FTP addresses, passwords etc required for this exercise, and once set, that configuration area requires no further attention. Sites can be set for Book Listings Only, for Pictures Only (see next section) or for both Books and Images. Sites such as Chrislands require two separate FTP addresses configured - one for books data and one for images. Our Dashboard caters for this.
Sites can be marked as Active or Inactive at any time in the Dashboard, so you can turn automated forwarding OFF or ON for any site as you wish, and when you wish. When you add a new listing site to your list of sites, you simply configure a new site protocol on your Dashboard and thereafter it will be included in the automated forwarding procedure.
There ARE some restrictions to this procedure: Amazon must still be attended separately (just as at present with Homebase), and some micro-sites (not many now) still will not accept FTP protocols on upload (UK Bookworld is one such site). Since our forwarding system is built around an automated FTP upload routine, these small sites remain excluded from our system. Very close to all sites accept FTP, however, and in most cases a Member will be able to service all of his or her sites with this automated tool.
Automatic onload of images to all your bookselling sites
This works much the same as the automated books listings tool referenced in the above section, but with all your images. These will be forwarded to all those sites you have configured to receive images in your WBM Member Dashboard.
Just as with your book listings, a WBM Member uploads images - either a few recent ones, or a large bulk of images all at once - just the once (to the WBM) and our fileserver then passes these on to all your other listing sites which take images.
You can also use your cache of images at the WBM to act as the main Silo or Control Store of all your images, and send the URL for these to those sites which permit of image display with foreign hosting (e.g. Antiqbook, Booksandcollectibles). If you have a great many images, this will actually save you money at some sites (e.g. Chrislands) which charge an extra fee for images over a certain quantity uploaded directly to them.
Variable data onloads to all your bookselling sites
Very much one of the "jewels in the WBM crown", this tool follows the same onload/forwarding procedures as detailed in the Auto-onload section above, but permits a wonderful array of VARIABLE data to be forwarded to each site in turn (as set by the member on his or her variable Data Forwarding Dashboard.
Thus you can set different prices by % or $ value (up or down) across all your listings at a certain site or sites; or you can specify greater or lesser prices for this or that site based on your coded WEIGHT uploaded to the WBM per listings; or you can exclude certain categories of books from selected sites; or you can add separate text tags to be attached to all your listings at this or that site, or selected sites, but not at others.
As an example, you could direct our fileserver to change each of your uploads so that all books over $100 in price were EXCLUDED from Abebooks and Alibris, but included in uploads to all other sites. Or you could request that all books marked over 1 kilo in weight (at your database) have an extra $5 added to the sale price at Abebooks (but not at Alibris). And so on, in like manner across the whole range of your sites configured by you for auto-forwarding/onloads on every upload to the WBM.
Members are currently using this sophisticated tool to drive a wide array of variable prices and text tags and exclusions/inclusions across all their listing sites, and its use enables a member to tailor-make all aspects of listings to the maximum advantage at all their listing sites (including their own websites, or their Chrislands site etc).
Sophisticated Bookseller Database free to members
Members are free to download and use our WBM Bookseller Database (WBM-BB), which is arguably the most powerful and sophisticated of its type in the world.
It is also extremely easy to use and drive, and is designed to deliver top-class power to a bookseller who is not necessarily a technical guru. It uses very easy-to-navigate menus and pages, and is intuitive in its operation. Very much a bookseller's database - designed and crafted by actual booksellers, with an eye to actual bookseller practical needs and requirements.
You can download a full, working copy of the WBM-BB database and its comprehensive User Manual from this website and experiment with all its ordinary and advanced features for yourself. This is not a functional USER version (the full database is supplied free to WBM Members and is not sold separately or commercially) and is restricted to just 100 records, considered an ample limit for all testing and experimentation purposes by a prospective WBM Member wishing to fully explore the database and its many powerful features.
To download a working version of our database for testing and trial purposes, click here
Unlike Homebase and similar databases, the WBM-BB is unrestricted in its power of Find Records, and Search and Replace of data across multiple fields. You can isolate any category or group amongst your listings and then perform data changes across any of the fields very quickly and efficiently.
The WBM-BB is "menu driven" meaning that most of the fields for Publisher, Binding, Category, Edition, Condition, Spine State, Previous Owner Marks, Signed by Author, Extended Dustjacket Condition, Previous Owner Inscriptions and many similar fields are all driven by a set of drop-down menu lists which you can select with the mouse, and which you can add to or edit as you please. The database comes supplied with some 300 bookseller-designed, pre-set phrases and useful tags across all these fields, which you can use "as is" or change as you wish.
The database contains what we consider to be the most advanced routines available for uploading books to Amazon. Our system bypasses the error-prone UIEE formats preferred by a database such as Homebase, and instead employs user-manipulable tab-delimited export formats where the user can blend various different approaches globally and per listing to achieve a genuine 100% success rating at that most (technically) difficult of listing sites.
The WBM-BB has a full Spellchecker on every field; can print out typeset-style Print Catalogues (plain paper or to text files for email) of all or selected groupings of listings; will generate automatically prepared invoices to customers with full listing details inserted; can generate automated emails to customers with full book details and headers and footers of the user's choice automatically inserted, and many similar or related features.
You can set and change Serial number sequences at will; can change the names and drop-down menus of all the entry fields or boxes; can choose between an automatic save or saving a record only after user confirms; and can enter secondary or archival information or data into eight fields marked "Other" for later searching and record grouping (handy for recording purchases from a particular collection etc).
The database comes with its own advanced error checking facilities and tools, so that a "wrong" ISBN entered will instantly flash an error warning onto screen, and there are special buttons for you to find and display all or any records which are missing data in crucial fields such as Edition, Publisher, Binding, Category and other key fields which ideally should all be populated for maximum effect of listings at sites like Abebooks.
The WBM-BB comes with a number of pre-set Print List formats (including one which generates a list of Cost vs Retail price and a complete Inventory Check with $ and % values. There are also inbuilt and automated Sort routines so you can sort your listings alphabetically by author/title or by price or by any other chosen field before printing a List or a Print Catalogue.
All in all, our WBM database is very much a Rolls Royce of bookseller inventory management and data uploading systems, and is designed to interface with our WBM fileserver in a number of important ways to generate various audit and cross-checking results and reports, which are detailed elsewhere in this list of benefits for Members.
The WBM-BB database is upgraded with new features requested by existing members and any necessary bug or glitch fixes approximately every 3 months.
WBM-exclusive Homebase Data Converter tool
Built into our WBM-BB database package is our WBM-exclusive Homebase Data Converter.
This important tool unravels the entire Homebase data set (from its somewhat non-standard UIEE output form) and converts it into a manageable tab-delimited file, which can then be used in applications such as Excel etc, but which is also importable directly thereafter into a blank copy of our WBM-BB database with full fidelity of field-matching, and with no listing-critical Homebase data lost or missing in the conversion (see section below for more on this).
Automated imports from Homebase or other into our database
Using the Homebase Data Converter tool (see section immediately above), WBM Members wishing to gravitate from Homebase 2.3 across to our own WBM-BB database can do so swiftly and simply.
Importantly, no significant listings or listings-attachment data is lost or voided in this comprehensive conversion and import routine, except for archived Invoice data in Homebase (for those using that feature) which we cannot preserve. All other fields such as Private notes, Location and the like are converted across, along with the normal listings data of Title, Author, Publisher, Conditions etc, and each is placed into the matching field in our WBM-BB database.
Detailed and field-accurate imports into the WBM-BB are also easily performed by the user from any other tab-delimited or comma-separated source, whether that be output from databases such as Booktrakker or Bookhound, or from a privately-customised database using Excel, Access or some such tool.
Picture proofing and checking tool
An exciting and extremely useful new tool for the WBM, which fills out our Picture Management System very nicely (see also Picture Audit sections below).
WBM Members can select a "image proofing" option on their Member Dashboard which will display all their images, or a selected date range of them (e.g. pics uploaded in last month, or week), and will display alongside each image brief book data as listed at the WBM: Author, Title, Serial Number and the date the image was uploaded to our server.
These can then be quickly scrolled and viewed for accuracy and quality, and marked either singly or per page of 50 as Proofed OK after which such marking those pics will not again be presented during any future proofing process. The tool for dealing with any WRONG or corrupted image found during this process is dealt with in the following section.
Once a Member has performed the task of proofing and marking ok (or correcting) all the existing cache of images stored (which can be done in chunks or small bites over a period of time if a Member so wishes), then future image proofreads will only concern book images newly uploaded, which in most cases will be manageable in a short timeframe as a weekly or other periodic chore.
Mark Delete tool for wrong or corrupted images
Where a image displayed is clearly the wrong book, or where it is upside down, or not cropped properly, or has some other flaw or fault, the Member can check the box alongside called "Delete Picture" and this will instantly send to the WBM (and to all other sites configured for auto-forwarding of images) a special "dummy" .jpg image under the book's Serial ID. this "dummy" image is a whited-out upright rectangle box with the words "Image Temporarily Offline" within that box.
This will instantly remove the wrong or faulty image from the attached listing at all such sites, allowing the member to re-do and re-upload that image at his or her later leisure. The re-uploaded image will then, of course, replace the temporary "dummy" previously sent to all listing sites.
Multiple image display: 9 pics per book plus captions
A WBM Member can upload up to 9 images per listing to our selling site, and these will all display there on a special Gallery Page. Members using our WBM-BB database can even add a separate text caption or tag to each of these ten online images displayed in the Gallery for that listing.
WBM Members use this sophisticated addition to our selling site options both for better display of their products there, but also to create a form of Window Display for their more expensive books which can then be referenced via links in emails sent to customers, or placed on their own private websites (which usually lack this multi-display capacity) and in other relevant places.
The multiple pics do not have to be laboriously loaded manually against each listing, but can be bulk uploaded under a special, pre-set filename convention along with all other images uploaded in bulk. Our fileserver will recognise all these, and automatically create the multi-image gallery display upon receipt of the extra images.
Members using our WBM-BB database have the additional inbuilt tool of having the direct link to this 9-image display automatically inserted in the text block of all emails generated from the database to customers, so that a customer in receipt of that email has merely to click on the supplied link, and the full gallery of up to ten images and captions attached will display instantly.
Picture Audit reports downloaded from our server
WBM Members can order reports from the WBM server which will keep them fully posted as to which of their book listings at the WBM server have images attached, and which do not.
These reports are delivered back to the Member by way of an instant-return email, in plain text format, so the member can (if required) load such data into a spreadsheet or other application and massage or manipulate it there. Or they can print out the list of books missing images and then go find the culprits and get their images online.
Members using the WBM as a form of Control Cache for both images and listings, and auto-forwarding both to all their listing sites, can therefore establish which pics are likely missing at ALL their listing sites, and upload or re-upload these to the WBM and hence on to all their other sites automatically.
Advanced Picture Audits & cross-check of pics on other sites
The Advanced Picture Audit at the WBM site depends upon Members marking books which have been scanned or otherwise had a image attached as "Scanned" in their database, which information is then tagged by our server. A image-specific URL is thereby created and automatically sent to sites such as Antiqbook looking for a valid URL to action and display for foreign hosted books.
Once a member has done this at their database end (which can be done in Homebase and other databases, and is not confined to our own WBM-BB) then a report can be obtained from the WBM server which will list all those books which are marked "Scanned" in the member's database but which do NOT have a image stored at the WBM, and vice versa.
The regular use of this tool will assist a member to make sure that his images are all correctly marked in his database (when they are present) and will save a multitude of broken links at sites like Antiqbook and others where the member is using the WBM image cache as his or her primary source for foreign hosting.
Using this advanced image audit tool, Members can also quickly send off to Abebooks or other sites any images which SHOULD be there but for whatever reason are not. They will be able to instruct our server to do this for them with any uncorrelated images as per the advanced audit report, or they can do it manually themselves.
Advanced Book Audits & listings cross-check on other sites
This important tool operates for Amazon (all sites), Abebooks, Biblio and Alibris at present.
It will instantly identify any "ghost" or duplicate listings at the Abebooks site, and will also identify any books which SHOULD be at that site, but which for whatever reason are not.
Its operation is extremely simple. A member simply orders a backload of data from the Abebooks site, and then passes that file directly onto our server as if uploading it as an upload file. Our server recognises that file, and performs a detailed cross-check between the listings/serial numbers it contains, and those stored at the WBM site.
A report is then sent back to the Member by return email which lists all those books which appear in duplicate Serial Number form at the Abebooks site (if any - yes, this DOES happen occasionally, and is the explanation for the claims of "ghost" listings there!), and will also detail all those books (if any) which are listed at the WBM site but NOT at Abebooks, and vice-versa.
Having run this routine a member can then go to the Abebooks site and manually fix any offending or duplicated listings, or can gather up within his or her database any books reported missing at Abebooks and re-upload them in the ordinary fashion, either directly to that site or via the automated upload procedures at the WBM.
ISBN verification & error/warnings reports on each upload
Upon every upload to the WBM an Error and Warnings report is generated by email back to the Member, which lists any critical errors received (e.g. missing or zero price field), but which also contains a detailed list of any ISBN numbers uploaded which are either clearly wrong, or which have failed our sophisticated ISBN validation software test (which is automatically applied to each book uploaded to the WBM).
You may have uploaded an ISBN with 11, 12 or 14 digits, which clearly will be typo or entry errors at your end, or you may have uploaded books with an ISBN which simply does not validate under the logical rules applied to ISBNs. Sometimes these will in fact be simple publisher printing or other errors, but you will be advised nevertheless, and can go verify from the original book, or from other sources.
Similarly, if you have uploaded a book which your database declares was published in 1924, or 1962, and yet have included an ISBN, the WBM fileserver will send you back an ISBN Warning on that book for you to investigate. In such an instance you have got either the year of publication or the presence of an ISBN wrong, of course.
The WBM server will also warn you if you have entered a nonsense date accidentally in Year of Publication field e.g. 2040, or 19877. Swift correction of these and all other errors (and a double check on the ISBNs uploaded) will permit you to make quick changes to offending listings, and re-upload any such for instant transmission via our auto-onload system to all your other listing sites simultaneous with correcting your listings at the WBM.
Data insurance package for book listings & images
A backload from the WBM fileserver to the WBM Member can be ordered at any time, either of books listings data, or of all image stored at the WBM, or both. A Member might order either or both in the event of a local or total hard disk failure or other computer crash or disaster (such as theft).
In the case of our WBM-BB users, the backload of data ordered will provide absolutely every scrap of data stored in any field whatsoever on the original WBM-BB database, including Private notes, all five Categories, Location, Invoice Data, stored customer email data, and everything else.
In the case of members still using Homebase or Booktrakker or other databases, then the backload of data will be as comprehensive and complete as those other packages permit in their pre-set export data routines. For Homebase, this will deliver significantly greater data accuracy and completeness than is available from Abebooks currently on any data backload ordered from that site, which drops Category and other critical fields altogether, and concatenates other crucial fields which should be separated into the component parts for efficiency of use after restoring the database.
Private website creation and hosting for Members
One of the primary aims and purposes of the WBM is to help build and grow the private online presence of booksellers via their private websites.
The WBM has built and now hosts a number of private websites for its Members, the nature and quality of which may be seen by viewing these WBM-created sites:
Lochcroispol Books (Kevin Crowe) in Scotland Click here to view
Ariel Books (Deb & Ron Harcus) in New Zealand Click here to view
Mr Pickwick's Books (Guy Weller) in Australia Click here to view
Carolina Moon Books (Melanie James) in the USA Click here to view
John T. & Pearl Lewis Booksellers (John & Pearl Lewis) in England Click here to view
If you cruise these WBM-created sites, you will observe that these Members have all elected to have their private websites default to carry all other Members' listings along with their own. This leads to many extra sales for WBM Members from these diverse sites around the world, and new Members joining in can elect to have their own sites (if hosted at the WBM) perform similarly, or can default their sites as purely private affairs, as they please.
Members can have their own websites created by their own chosen contractors, or can bring over their existing website (not a Chrislands one, however) and then these can be attached to the WBM server and hosted there just like the above-referenced sites. There are some style-sheet and other compliance conformities required for this to occur, and these can be made available to any website contractor elsewhere designing a new or changing an existing website for a WBM Member.
Private websites hosted at the WBM have the powerful WBM search engines and database attached to their "design shell", and the secure credit card ordering system and other utilities are also automatically attached to any such. This means that a member can have a website constructed by his or her own web designer without all the expense of building and installing these complex engines by separately contracted programmers.
Detailed bookseller data and statistics at Member Dashboard
WBM Members can use their Member Dashboard to obtain all the important sectional data about their listings which can help drive their listing strategy at all their listing sites.
Up-to-date data is always available to a Member regarding total number of listings; total listings with/without images; listings divided into ten Member-set price ranges; listings divided into member-set Categories; listings sorted by Date of Upload to our server; and a wide range of other important data.
Members also get automated error alerts for books missing Binding, Edition, Publisher and/or other key data.
Any of these categorised lists can be displayed to screen, printed out, or even backloaded via an email in plain text format from our fileserver, so that a member can massage and manipulate that data in foreign software packages (e.g. Excel).
Round the clock technical and software support
The WBM has a small but dedicated staff of programmers and other technically-literate folk who provide a constant stream of technical support and advice to members, both on WBM-related software issues and on a wide range of ordinary IT matters, virus protection, firewalls, different browsers and their quirks etc.
In addition, technical problems and queries raised at our Members' Forum are frequently dealt with at length and in detail by other members who may have encountered similar headaches or difficulties in the past.
When you join the WBM you gain instant access to a sophisticated and extremely knowledgeable HelpDesk team of both staff and other Members which will be able to helpfully deal with most of your technical glitches, crashes, simple voodoo and other problems of a technical nature.
Lively Bookseller Forum and world-wide Bookseller Network
Our WBM Members' Private Forum (which is hidden behind our Public or Open Visitors Forum) is one of the most lively and helpful bookseller resources currently available on the Internet.
Here our members exchange news, views, technical tips, advice and a host of other bookselling-related topics and matters. The private Members' Forum is also the hub of our Technical Support effort, and members who are knowledgeable about software and hardware frequently join in as a form of voluntary tech-support team, which significantly helps our central programming and other technical support folk.
WBM Members also operate a form of international support network by way of helping investigate alleged "book didn't arrive" problems in their own country on behalf of other Members elsewhere in the world, and by taking in expensive books from other Members for viewing by a local customer, and assistance with any sale thereafter. Members have often also accepted private cheques and/or direct Internet Banking Transfers in their local currency for other Members abroad, when the latter's customer indicates that he or she has no other method of payment.
When you join the WBM, you are joining an organised Bookseller Club or Guild as well as subscribing to a "business" with its various software and other benefits. For some Members, this has proven to be our most significant asset offered them.
The WBM is first and foremost a Bookseller Co-operative, and we encourage all Members to be on standby to assist other Members who are experiencing some sort of difficulty with customers in another Member's immediate region, and with similar matters of mutual support.