New World Archive – Unveiled!
There has been much discussion in these pages of the mystery that is New World Archive, but for the first time we have inside information as to what’s going on inside the company.
A reliable source close to the company has confirmed that they are indeed, as surmised here late last year by Liz, Ben and Ron, selling books in Canada as Vanderbilt_ca. Interestingly, the parent company is actually Ultrabuys Disc. registered at:
ULTRABUYS DISC INC.
32 VETERANS LANE UNIT 5
PLATTSBURGH, NEW YORK, 12901
They’ve only been in business, according to NY State corporate records, since January 2009.
Here’s the location – I believe the warehouse in question is directly above the A.
They also have another warehouse in Plattsburgh on U.S. Ave, apparently. What’s fascinating to me, beyond the apparent scope of the operation (an estimated incoming traffic of between 300-2000 packages daily, and outgoing of twice that) is that they are, apparently, in the book improvement business. They – and this sounds crazy – have a team of people (as many as 15 at a time) erasing pencil marks in books and cleaning them up to be re-listed at a higher condition grade and price. I picture a huge, empty room with men and women at desks, quietly rubbing away with little erasers – like medieval illuminators or cigar rollers.
Does this make sense to anyone? I’d like to hear people chiming is as to what percentage of books they sold have pencil marks.
One of their other main activities is cleaning and repackaging CDs (they have CD seller businesses as Mom and Pop and OOP Music) – they run them through one of those industrial CD cleaning machines, shrinkwrap them and sell them as new.
Also fascinating to picture is that they reportedly have P.O. Boxes all over for receiving books – apparently to avoid raising suspicion (which, frankly, suggests that I was right in the first place and they ARE building an underground archive in preparation for the apocalypse and, extremely cleverly, using a giant, Byzantinely complicated book reselling scheme as a cover.) as to the extent of their activities – and shipping books from downstate NY for similar reasons.
It’s believed that Vanderbilt_Ca is only one of their aliases – my CI, as they say in the business, might be able to comment further on this.
What’s most remarkable to me is that they are, to all appearances, buying most of these books on spec, and not dropshipping. They don’t have a ready buyer for the books, just what they believe to be a ready market. I’d also be interested to know if there was any software that was driving these purchases – it seems extremely intensive for people to be doing the buying manually.
Some quick math – if they are, as my source says, selling 2-3000 books a day and let’s figure they make $2.5 on each sale, free and clear on average, (which could be low) they could pay 25 employees to work 8 hours a day for $10 an hour and still be making a worthwhile sum. That’s two grand in wages per day – fixed expenses would almost disappear as a percentage, but let’s call it $20k a month in rent (Plattsburgh is CHEAP) and utilities – that’s $70k monthly in profit (that I just completely fabricated) so you can see that this sort of thing does actually scale pretty well. You’d need quite a bit of capital to build up enough stock to be making those sales though – and a hell of a belief that this was a workable business model.
Didn’t we decide that they were also Michael Milde? That was used for a few years (I got a NWA Milde order just a few weeks ago on ABE) so would have been plenty of practice, I guess.
Interesting stuff, for sure.