Friday, September 18, 2009

E-Mail Scams and Orders

As an internet bookseller, I receive book orders from a variety of sources. There are listing sites that aggregate large numbers of booksellers into a single database, plus I have a web site of my own -- Orielis' Books. Every so often I get orders directly over the phone or through snail mail.

Then there are the 'orders' that come to me directly via e-mail. These can be interesting .... they can also be potentially dangerous (if they're scams, then the goal is to separate me from my money).

I got an e-mail a few days ago from someone purporting to be from Seoul, South Korea. It was written in a typical fractured English of someone for whom English is a second language. It started this way:

I am Dana, I am mailing in request to order some of your products for Supply to the Shipping Address Below :

Well, this is a red flag when the person writes a bookstore and doesn't mention books. So I ran a couple of Google searches. The company name implied by his e-mail address turned up nothing (another red flag), but the shipping address had two interesting hits. It turns out that an Australian publisher Allen & Unwin has a subagent located at that exact address! That sounded promising, right? They publish children's books, I sell used children's books.

Then I looked at the second Google hit for that address and all I could do was laugh. Have you ever heard of the Back Yard Chickens Forum? I sure hadn't, but apparently it is the in place for those folks who raise chickens in their back yard. At any rate, one of the posters there (Chicknwhisperer) had received the same e-mail, word for word identical with mine. Needless to say, that clinched it for being some sort of scam and I moved on. Unless, of course, this person was looking for a copy of Raising Chickens for Dummies .....

The jury is still out on the second e-mail I got this week. More later on that.


Monday, September 14, 2009

New Beginnings

This has been a season for trying out some new things with my book store, and this is something I have thought about doing for a while -- so why not now?

I started selling books on the internet as Orielis' Books in August, 2002 and have been working (with a lot of help from my two sisters) on building the business for the past seven years. I sell all sorts of used books with specialties in Mysteries, Science Fiction & Fantasy, and Children's books, but carry titles in a number of different areas.

It is a very personalized operation for me and my sisters -- seeking out books to sell, pricing them, entering the books into inventory, taking orders over the internet, and finally packaging and shipping the books. For me, it is very satisfying to know that I have complete control over the business. Of course, when things don't go right there aren't too many people to blame either.

One important consequence of running a book store out of one's house: The place is absolutely overrun with books. Stacks of them surround me as I work (and we won't even mention the basement). It can be a bit overwhelming at times, but at least there is never any lack of things to work on. ;=)

And so I am launched on my maiden voyage into the blogosphere. Hopefully, I will be able to find topics that are interesting and somewhat related to books and bookselling.