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Why do some sellers list ordinary books for truly exorbitant amounts?

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Posted on Jun 29, 2014 9:57:41 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jun 29, 2014 10:00:34 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 19, 2013 6:32:22 AM PDT
Delos says:
As to the "why don't they go after the [obvious drop-shippers]"? Big shrug from me. I'd assure you there are tooooooooooons of posts discussing this over on the sellers' fourm. It annoys legitimate bookseller operations (perhaps "annoys" isn't even a strong enough word.) Have you participated in the discussions over there if this is a topic that interests you? I mention it because I assume you'd get more info on it over there, than in the textbook buyback forum.

I think it was from there, lately, that I read those sellers celebrating the fact that a couple of the largest offenders in recent history had disappeared. There was a big upload error in the catalog awhile back, and in trying to figure out the source, some noticed couple of these store names seemed gone - so maybe Amazon finally had the data on their side and were able to ban them. (Then again, you have to watch out for the guys who do this and change names/re-open.) Or actually did an audit. Who knows. They'd never tell us publicly action like that taken on a suspicious account.

And I have seen pictures of entire warehouses full of pallet sized bins that contain nothing but remainder mass market paperbacks. Imagine steel racks 5 pallet 'stories' high, and forklifts. They buy them by weight. So, while I agree that storefront's particular number is probably inflated by 'listing hogging' (the different conditions thing you mention), and it is highly unlikely - there are actually (some) book operations out there than can approach *something* like an inventory number that seems inconceivable to fit in a retail store.

Posted on Aug 16, 2013 2:56:38 PM PDT
Swim Swim says:
Excellent Point Bill Entwistle, excellent point, Thank You.

Posted on Aug 16, 2013 10:53:53 AM PDT
If Amazon has a policy against selling "fake" inventory, then why don't they even go after the most painfully obvious cases? If they're using some cancellation ratio metric to identify these sellers, then it must be an inadequate measure, as I demonstrated about a year ago, way back around response #35 to this discussion. That seller is still active, by the way.

Take seller "thebookgrove" for another example. Are we really to believe that they have approximately 8,700,000 items in inventory? An average book store packed to the gills probably wouldn't hold more than 100,000. So this dealer has space for the equivalent of 87 packed bookstores?

And we're to believe that they just happen to have every item they own in four different conditions? (All of the ones that I looked at did.)

And that there are dozens if not hundreds of other sellers with similar immense inventories?

Patently ridiculous.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 16, 2013 6:54:56 AM PDT
Swim Swim says:
Delos: This is one of the most believable reasons for this discussion I have read thus far. It takes into consideration both sides, Amazon and the other "Survivors" ( the grey area sellers) so to speak.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 16, 2013 3:42:21 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 16, 2013 3:42:53 AM PDT
Delos says:
Yeah - but don't forget - if they did, in some cases this is the same thing as price fixing. Price fixing is illegal. I get that it annoys you guys, but Amazon could get in trouble for setting a rule saying something like "no listings allowed for 20% higher (or lower) than the price bar we set."

However, they do have a rule for sellers that they are supposed to only list inventory they physically have ON HAND. Now, since it's their rule, *that* would be enforceable - but just imagine the manpower required to do so? There are hundreds of thousands of marketplace sellers - what are you going to do, visit each one? So, instead, they rely on order cancellation rate. If a seller has to cancel a certain percentage of their orders without sending them, they shut down the seller account.

Posted on Aug 14, 2013 5:52:29 AM PDT
As posted on another thread:

Delos, thank you for your response. "Doctrine of first sale" does not apply here because these people have never bought a copy of my book, therefore I never gave up my rights to the material to them. Nor did anyone give them a copy to do with as they will. I fully understand the right to sell a used copy of any book once it is purchased and that is not in dispute. My point was that they had NOT purchased the book from me initially and that I knew for a fact that they didn't have any used copies on hand as I know my numbers. Your second reasoning was far more on point. Yes, they are drop shippers. But, so are all the ones listing new copies of the book. I understood this to be the case when I saw new listings popping up on my product page. I understood that these were retailers offering my product for sale and if someone purchases from them, then they purchase from me. I signed up for expanded distribution and I got it. Not a big deal and the way the market place works. What confused me is the "used" listings. I didn't understand why a retailer would list a "used" copy but then price it well out of range for the book and how could they claim they had a used copy in stock when I knew exactly where my used copies are. Createspace was able to shed some light on this for me. From what I now understand, they list it as "in stock" because to do otherwise might jeopardize their ability to sell a product when the customer goes elsewhere due to lack of immediate availability. Just savvy business practice there. The reason for the "used" listing to begin with is because often times a drop shipper will have two listing for the product to further their visibility in the market place. They post an actual listing which is the "new" listing and then post a high priced "used" listing to funnel traffic/sales toward the cheaper "new" listing. It apparently also gives them a larger presence over all on the Amazon market place. In the case of any_book (one of the listings) this is obviously the case as they have the book listed as both "new" and "used" and both listings are the same price. The two that I find odd have listings that are for "used" copies only, with each listed for $108, which is utterly ridiculous since a brand new copy bought from amazon is currently $11 and change. But, whatever. If they don't actually want to sell any books, so be it. Who am I to argue?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 14, 2013 5:04:11 AM PDT
Swim Swim says:
Acumen, Thank You, and I sincerely hope, and I believe they(Amazon) are on top of all these discussions to these "Grey" methods of abusing Amazon. Good Luck.

Posted on Aug 14, 2013 3:52:51 AM PDT
Acumen says:
I have self published two books. I know every sale as all stock comes from me. Yet on Amazon I find a number of sellers claiming to sell my book for very high and inflated prices. Interestingly almost every seller has 2 copies in stock. I've never supplied any of them. I thought they had obtained a copy of the book and were offering a 'print on demand' type product and they would illegally print off a copy if they ever made a sale. I've seen my book for sale in many places such as India and they aren't selling copies I've shipped. After reading this post it would seem that many of these high price sellers may be just computer robots and customers will eventually be told the book is out of stock.
There is one seller though with a price 10 cents below mine. This seller could be taking orders from me.
I've written to Amazon several times and without any resolution. They claim they will not advise the outcomes of any investigations (privacy reasons?). Whereas I think they are allowing crooks to do business. Amazon should take a brave stand and put and end to it.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 5, 2013 2:50:32 AM PDT
Delos says:
This is pretty easy to explain.

#1 - doctrine of first sale
#2 - drop-shippers

You can google both, and I think then (hopefully) get how each applies here.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 4, 2013 8:31:46 AM PDT
Swim Swim says:
I can never believe that each case is "FOR PROFIT " in each case, nothing else, period.

Posted on Aug 3, 2013 11:02:17 PM PDT
I know this is an old discussion, but I thought I would add to it just the same. I'm a brand new author. My book went up for sale last week. I've only sold a total of 6 paperback copies of my book and it's only been family and friends who have copies at this time. Yet, I noticed yesterday someone listing MY book used for $108.00. Then today, two more used listing. another at $108 and one at $32. They also state the book is used - very good condition and in stock. Now, this is not physically possible, because again, I've only sold SIX physical copies of my book and they are ALL safe and secure in the hands of loved ones. Hell, the physical book wasn't even in existence until the 23rd of July. I wrote Amazon and they put it off on Createspace to deal with. I haven't heard from Createspace as of yet.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 20, 2013 5:38:21 PM PDT
Delos says:
Doctrine of first sale. Google it.

Posted on Jul 18, 2013 7:32:02 PM PDT
LaughingRain says:
I'm an author who has no control over the price set on my book at Amazon or at Barnes and Noble. it's the right price here on Amazon, around $18, and over at Trafford self pub. it's around $20. I didn't know when I signed up with Trafford I wouldn't have control over the pricing. my fault. I do have control when making it an Ebook. Over at B&N I noticed they are asking $43. I was greatly upset, as my circle of friends don't have that kind of money to toss around on the kind of book it is. are people that impulsive really? I don't think so. In 5 yrs I've sold maybe a half dozen books and certainly not at anything over $21. Trafford gave me maybe $1.20 each kick back. They just looked at me and kept asking for more money to promote it. If I'd have known what I know now, I would have just went with the Ebook market only. I am reporting the price gouging to scambusters, as I for one am not flattered by it, and I'm not winning any popularity contests for sure for a high priced book. Amazon was doing it once, it was priced at $89 whatever. but eventually those discrepancies disappeared here on Amazon. it's like it's a virus program and it does hurt the author who wants to be read at a fair and reasonable price.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2013 7:14:07 PM PDT
LaughingRain says:
I was a used book seller on Amazon once. If a book seller become a paid member with annual fees, then they are told they are allowed to sell the book for a penny. usually these certain books have been mass produced and if you list is for $2, hoping to make money, there is sure to be a bunch of sellers who are in this club with Amazon and the same book is listed at a penny. I got out of the book selling business consequently, beaten out by professional book sellers. I had 400 books and gave them to the Salvation army (except for the rare ones) I did not want a membership in their club and didn't want to ship all these book to Amazon so that they could do their own shipping of the material. I couldn't figure out how I was gonna pay all that shipping cost to Amazon of my books and how we both could make a buck from that deal. so much for the little guy's book store business. I guess it's working ok for a bookseller that does nothing all day but sell books and are good with numbers. it was a hobby that was costing me.

Posted on Jul 8, 2013 6:17:15 AM PDT
Thriving in the 21st Century Economy Transformational Skills for Technical Professionals (Technical Manager's Survival Guides)
This book is only $59 (New) and at a discounted price of$56 at Amazon. The same book - used is listed at Amazon for $789.
Better buy the new book and save all the money!

Posted on Jun 7, 2013 12:48:27 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jun 7, 2013 12:48:34 PM PDT]

Posted on Jun 7, 2013 12:46:35 PM PDT
Mmm. Guess you could engage an intellectual-property attorney to tell you what's legal and what isn't and what people are getting away with anyway, but personally, that sounds like a lot of $$$ for info that may or may not be of actual use. I feel sorry for you and wonder how many other people's property is getting shall be say "stretched" this way. It may be customary. It may even be legal. But based on what you've told me it sure doesn't sound RIGHT. Of course you do not have a spare thousand Dollars lying around. That was someone else's suggestion and I think he meant it kindly in the nature of a bluff.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2013 12:32:41 PM PDT
That wouldn't help at all. First, because it would scare off people who might otherwise actually buy my books. Second, because I found out after doing quite a bit of digging that the problem is that CreateSpace gives your print-on-demand files over to Ingram, which is a massive book supplier/distributor that has their own print-on-demand ability. Therefore, Ingram has the capability to just print another one. Third, because I do not have a spare $1000 lying around to spend on anyone's books not even my own. I am waiting on a call back from Ingram's legal department to explain to me the process by which they feel entitled to lower my book price without contacting me or gaining my prior approval. The lady I just spoke to said it was her understanding that they weren't supposed to do that but this is what has happened.

Posted on May 31, 2013 11:15:50 AM PDT
Well, in theory (perhaps not in this case), I'm pretty sure an author/seller can still stipulate "I sell directly to end-users only, not to wholesalers, intermediaries or speculators" (in olden days, "No sales to trade" would have sufficed). In such a situation the author is the owner, and she'd have absolute control over the cover price . . . but when Amazon fronts for third-party sellers, I'm guessing it gets a lot more complicated?

As it happens, I went to Brandy's website and saw nothing about any book for sale, be it e- or hardcopy. Is this book being marketed or listed as available thru Amazon? Clearly there appear to be LOTS of rules and regs for doing so, and the free-market paradigm one enjoys selling "out of the trunk" or via direct-mail doesn't hold up so well. Nothing that I know about this is illegal, though.

However, like Brandy, I'm a little baffled if this situation implies that a third-party vendor is listing a book it does not yet own for a price that is lower than it would have to pay for that book . . . something's gotta give here, since one rule that remains in all this is the rule of the market and no vendor intends to LOSE money on any sale.

Interestingly, this thread started out about books that are jacked up way high. If some (wholly hypothetical, *of course*!) "N.E. BOOKS" asks $1,000 for a ten-dollar book, I think the ethical issues are more pronounced, though apparently they can get away with it with the customer playing the part of the "greater fool" who doesn't understand s/he is wasting money. On the other hand, how can an asking price (disregarding S&H) be cheaper than acquisition price.... well it can't.... perhaps this is a question for Amazon. Perhaps one of the several Amazon apologists who post on threads like this under the guise of ordinary readers can offer a tactful explanation of how it works.

Now of course, if somebody got hold of Brandy's book and counterfeited it, either physically or digitally, it's time to call the cops. Or maybe these days, call a lawyer first.

Brandy, you obviously know how things work or ought to work. All I can suggest is that if you have some sort of standing sales agreement with Amazon you contact them to see how the aitch this situation can exist. I'm sure we'd all like to hear how it works. At some point, rationality must prevail, even if the rationality reduces to nothing more than profit motive.

In reply to an earlier post on May 31, 2013 10:30:22 AM PDT
What you could do is your raise your price by about $1000.00 then purchase the copy they supposedly have. This would force them to purchase your copy. :-)

Then when they are not able to ship because of "no inventory" you can give then a negative feedback rating. Two can play the game :-)

Posted on May 31, 2013 9:58:35 AM PDT
Oh, I agree, once they've purchased the book they can set their own price. However, they can't have purchased the book BECAUSE I HAVEN'T SOLD ANY! I understand discounting. I know the concept quite well. What I want to know is how they can be offering books at a lower price than I'm selling them for when I haven't sold any books to anyone.

In reply to an earlier post on May 31, 2013 9:36:02 AM PDT
Maybe you could lower your price too.

In reply to an earlier post on May 31, 2013 9:13:55 AM PDT
There is almost no such thing as a fixed price these days. The "S" in "M.S.R.P." means "Suggested" (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price) and that's about as firm as it comes. If you are your own publisher, at some point some vendor(s) bought your book for less than that price and they can discount it from "cover price" if they want. Go to Kohl's or Penney's (or Amazon) and you'll see that discounts are almost the norm; in fact, many people refuse to pay the listed retail price. Once the book is sold it's out of your hands and the end seller doesn't need "authorization" from you, but I assure you they don't intend to lose money. The exception to that would be if you directly market the book yourself with no intermediaries, and then you can charge what you want. But you won't market it thru Amazon or any bookstore chain if you insist on that. Take some comfort in the fact that you got what you got from the original sale, and nobody can take that away from you. If the book(s) are offered at a drastically low price, that means they're remaindered but again, not your loss. A retailer only needs one item to offer it for sale or even put it on sale.

In reply to an earlier post on May 31, 2013 7:32:25 AM PDT
I have that same question. I have four retailers all offering my book for less than the retail price I have set - yet I know for a fact I don't have that many sales and I also know that they didn't get authorization from me to offer it for less.
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Discussion in:  Textbook Buyback forum
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