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What's with the really HIGH prices by some used book sellers?


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Showing 51-75 of 318 posts in this discussion
Posted on Nov 2, 2011 2:46:25 PM PDT
Gerald Lame says:
I have wondered about this too. There are ridiculously high prices for new books that are still in print. My guess has been this is part of a money-laundering or illegal money-transfer scheme. Wasn't Bin Laden in the honey business for similar reasons? I even wrote the FBI about this possibility. But maybe it does make sense for legitimate booksellers for arcane reasons I don't understand.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 2, 2011 3:05:44 PM PDT
Hunter says:
preying - not at all religious.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 2, 2011 3:07:55 PM PDT
Hunter says:
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Posted on Nov 2, 2011 4:24:29 PM PDT
C. klauber says:
has anyone ever asked these sellers directly what's with the prices? I am curious what they would say....

Posted on Nov 3, 2011 8:40:16 PM PDT
Riddick says:
Most comments have been off the mark here. Sellers use the ridiculously high prices to drive Amazon's automatic pricing algorithm up, and accordingly, make the seller's price seem more reasonable. This is most effective with items where there are few sellers. Do a quick google search on this phenomenon for more info.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 3, 2011 10:08:40 PM PDT
It makes sense but the sellers never lower their price.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 4, 2011 1:21:10 PM PDT
Kevin K. says:
I have seen one book selling for over $1000 by one seller! I thought the guy had to be nuts since there were others selling it for $5 to $10. I guess its how the old saying goes, "A fool is quickly parted from his money."

Posted on Nov 6, 2011 12:05:00 PM PST
Gabriel says:
I am going to tell you why most sellers are selling their books overpriced.
Yes, some users are greedy and wants to make a fortune sitting on their computer 24 hours, but most of these users...don't even have the book ! So they list the book and when somebody stupid enough is buying a 300 $ book, what they do, they purchase that book from another user and then they send it to the buyer.
If you guys do notice, most of these overprice sellers, have negative feedbacks from buyers , mostly common, they receive the book in over two weeks.

Posted on Nov 6, 2011 4:48:57 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 6, 2011 4:54:17 PM PST
Denni says:
I've also been wondering about those high prices for USED books.

My example is a mmpb Twenty-One Great Stories (Mentor), a collection of short stories by various authors. Apparently it is particularly appreciated by English and Lit teachers, as several schools show this book as a requirement on their 'back to school' lists. Unfortunately, the book is currently OOP (you'd think the parents would have a hissy at being required to find and purchase an OOP book for classroom use).

The cover price was $7.99. Around the time school started, I was looking to buy a couple clean, used copies. Everything under $40 had already been snatched up, and slim pickings up through about $80. Amazon venders were listing this book for $160, 599, and up to 900 used. There's still a vender listing two used copies (both with detailed descriptions) for $688 each, one in acceptable condition with heavy use and very worn corners. Her other copy for the same price is listed as Very Good condition with highlighting and writing on the first 20 pages.

Someone at my bookclub suggested these high prices were typos or software errors, and she had success by contacting the sellers directly (ie the price was probably meant to read $6.88 and auto-fill messed it up). So I tried that...surprise!...no replies.

The more I see of these ridiculous high prices, the more I'm inclined to think Amazon should put a stop to it. Maybe cap used book prices at $100. Anyone with a book worth more than that can sell it on e-bay or (better yet) through a legitimate book dealer. Either because Amazon customers are being blatantly ripped off, or Ami admin is smart enough to understand they don't want the legal hassle if the money laundering/drug sales theories are true.

PS, now the Back to School rush is over, more copies are being offered for reasonable prices (under $10). But still those stupid expensive books are listed.

Posted on Nov 6, 2011 7:40:58 PM PST
The question should be: Why are so many new quality books underpriced? The high prices will have to go down while it sits there, only ten cents, waiting ten years for a buyer. If it's out of print and good, more power to the overpricers.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 6, 2011 9:03:39 PM PST
Kcorn says:
Dennis- buyers can be ripped off on EBay too. The venue doesn't keep sellers from listing books for any price desired. Capping prices at $100 for used books penalizes the sellers who research and sell first edition, rare, and/or signed copies. Rare book dealers do sell some books for well over $100 but "brick and mortar" stores, those not online,are also becoming rarer, especially in this economy. Buyers who have been searching for a scarce book for years know of its rarity.

This doesn't keep unethical sellers out of the mix, of course.

Posted on Nov 7, 2011 9:59:43 AM PST
C. klauber says:
Lots of theories out there. I wish someone from one of those booksellers would add to the discussion. I think I will contact a few just for kicks...carrie

Posted on Nov 10, 2011 2:19:22 PM PST
Skriker says:
I can see high prices for truly rare and valuable volumes, but have to laugh heartily when people list paperback novels for $100+. I'm a doctor who fan and have been for years. Collected novelizations of the shows as well. I took a break from collecting and in the interim a couple new series were released. Some of the books are harder to get a hold of than others and I about choked when I did a search on one and the cheapest price I could find it listed for on ebay and Amazon was $96. For a paperback novel based on characters from a TV show. I couldn't believe it. I made an offer on the book to multiple sellers in series for what I considered a reasonable price for an old paperback book and every time got told not to waste their time unless I had a real offer. When questioned further all of the sellers used each other as the reason for the price: Well everyone else is selling it for this so I will to. Needless to say I still don't have the book, but I can't bring myself to spend that kind of money for a single used paperback...

Posted on Nov 11, 2011 1:57:32 PM PST
V. E. Hansen says:
Perhaps it's like the gaming auctions, if a seller can list an item with a price beyond imagination, it will bring up the average selling amount for that item

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 11, 2011 2:01:57 PM PST
V. E. Hansen says:
I believe that all auctions are run about the same, they keep a continuing list of suggested retail prices on all books, this amount changes according to what is being listed, not necessarily sold, so, an insanely over-priced book, brings up the avergage suggested retail price of the books that are selling

Posted on Nov 11, 2011 3:50:33 PM PST
it's not them setting the price, it's price bots, the seller doesn't even realize what the bot is doing (adjusting the price based on some assumptions and other sellers). Imagine two sellers, one makes his price bot look at the lowest price and sell it for .50c more (i'll not go into why the sellers wants the book a little bit more expensive than the competition, but let's just say some people prefer to buy higher prices because it makes them feel like they're treating with a bigger or better seller). So there's one bot aiming for .50c over the lowest price, but the lowest price bot is adjusted to look at the prices and then set it's price for 1 cent less. What happens is they readjust themselves into stratospheric prices little by little, just tell the seller and hopefully they'll right the wrong. It works most often when there are two sellers (or just a few of them). It sucks and it's stupid, yes, but it's more of a "technical" problem than a person actually thinking, "hmmm someone might just buy this book for a thousand dollars!".

Posted on Nov 11, 2011 4:12:56 PM PST
gypsygirl says:
Its either they are out of stock and are pricing the items so high so nobody will buy them, or they are waiting until the book goes out of print and sells out so then if someone really wants the book they will be willing to pay the high price.

Posted on Nov 11, 2011 8:20:07 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 11, 2011 8:21:28 PM PST
Sha says:
Did anybody else read Paul Johnson's link? It's pretty interesting. Power sellers use bots to set their prices.

Company A sees that a book is popular, and they want to maintain their reputation of having all the books (even though they don't have this particular book), so they set a reasonable but slightly high price (10.00, say), and then Company B comes along, with a copy of the book, and marks the price just below Company A's (9.98). But since Company B wants to make the highest profit possible, and they sell, say, 10,000 books a week, they can't monitor the price to make sure they're always competitive, so they set an algorithm so that their price increases with Company A's prices. Company A also has an algorithm to make sure that they're always slightly above the next lowest priced copy - so that customers will never actually order from them a book they don't have. So Company A's price goes up as a reaction to Company B, and in turn Company B's price goes up as a reaction to Company A.

It happens because Amazon doesn't have price limits, as well they shouldn't, and ends up only occasionally creating anomalies.

Check the link: http://www.michaeleisen.org/blog/?p=358

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 11, 2011 8:47:06 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Nov 11, 2011 8:50:54 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 12, 2011 5:16:18 AM PST
1.for a list or record of the books you have 2. motivation to do more with them 3. they set the price and haven't updated it in months.

Posted on Nov 12, 2011 5:16:38 AM PST
list but not sell - 1.for a list or record of the books you have 2. motivation to do more with them 3. they set the price and haven't updated it in months.

Posted on Nov 12, 2011 7:27:46 AM PST
Amazon prices books using sophisticated algorithms that balanced demand with the number of sales and profits. When demand goes up, the price goes up. They only care about maximizing their profit. As sales rise, their price goes up until profit rates level off. My book was priced at about $45 for the first four years after publication. Then after an national TV interview, sales went up drastically. The price of the book rose to over $100 (way too high!) and then gradually fell again as the PR from the interview ran its course. I only sold a few hundred books.

Jerome Mahaffey

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 12, 2011 10:01:18 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 12, 2011 10:02:07 AM PST
Thank you for this detailed explanation, this is the first time I have seen such clear account of what is happening. Our books vary a lot especiallySanta and The Little Teddy Bear: Bilbos Adventures Santa and The Little Teddy Bear 2011 INDIE Holiday Book Winner Lowest price $29.49 to $54.12 this has had us scratching our heads! Thank you again.

Cheri lucking author: Book Bilbo's Adventures: A Christmas Wish! Kindle Bilbo's Adventures: A Christmas Wish

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 12, 2011 2:12:33 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 12, 2011 2:13:44 PM PST
You are very welcome. I'm over joyed I could answer this for you. I have many books I reread, have for inspiration or I simply haven't taken the time to read, but I'm not attached to. If I can sell them and make something and replace them later; I'm happy to do that. I have got 90%+ of my books at less than the lowest price by contacting the highest and making a low offer.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2011 8:21:20 AM PST
I saw a used book for $400 and the condition of this book was listed as only "Acceptable". Imagine paying $400 for a book with a bunch of highlighting and underlining in it? ABSURD.
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Discussion in:  Textbook Buyback forum
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Initial post:  Oct 20, 2011
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