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Had enough of auctions? Fixed pricing could be just the thing your business craves.

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This story appears in the April 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Online auctions aren't for everyone. "If you have rare and collectible items, auctions seem to be the way to go," says Brian Schell, president and owner of Replay Media Inc., a three-employee seller of second-hand books and recordings. "But for things we sell that aren't rare but may not be available locally, fixed pricing seems to be the way to go," adds the 35-year-old Dayton, Ohio, entrepreneur.

Fixed-price marketplaces, where all kinds of pre-owned, overstocked and clearance items are listed and sold at prices determined by sellers instead of bidders, haven't gotten much attention compared to that given to eBay's auction action. But today, 60 percent of items on eBay are noncollectibles such as cars and even real estate. In addition, 40 percent of eBay's transactions have started taking place at fixed prices, either through auctions featuring the "Buy It Now" option to purchase something at a set price without bidding, or via eBay's all-fixed-price subsidiary, Half.com. Driving the growth of fixed price is the fact that these markets have special appeals to both buyers and sellers.

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