Posted on Nov 9, 2005

By some strange accident I’ve fallen onto the distribution list for a couple of computer trade magazines (CTS and Microscope). The articles are mostly pretty boring, veering between fanboy reviews of the latest gadget, articles about changes in the channel market (who bought who, why Microsoft/Cisco/anyone-big is killing the reseller market, etc.) and general industry news (usually stuff that was in ComputerWeekly the week before).

What is much more interesting are the advertisements, which include trade prices for equipment. For typical system components and laptops it seems that the trade price is pretty close to what you’re paying from a decent end-user supplier. A £1000 laptop might only differ by around £20. Other things seem particularly cheap, for example a 200GB USB external hard drive from Maxtor (with the “one-touch backup” button) for £66.50. Sure, you need to buy in bulk, but who knows - “bulk” might be only 10 units.

In with MicroScope one week was a fat catalogue including a wide variety of equipment - processors, memory, graphics cards, laptops, LCD televisions, plasma displays, modems, etc. In essence, everything you need to set up a PC World rival. Out of the whole lot it was Samsonite laptop bags that caught my eye with a trade price around £50 and a “suggested retail price” of £100! Hmm, maybe running an Ebay store wouldn’t be such a bad idea after all…