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Customer Discussions > Textbook Buyback forum

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

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Showing 26-50 of 97 posts in this discussion
Posted on Apr 15, 2012 4:01:54 PM PDT
Liam Phoenix says:
We have a local store here where I saw a used item for sale at twice it new price. It sat there for a few months, but someone did eventually buy it. The point is, there's always someone dumb (or lazy) enough to pay way too much, so there will always be people asking way more than something is worth.

Posted on Apr 26, 2012 8:38:39 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 26, 2012 8:45:56 PM PDT
It is very disheartening at times to be looking for an out of print book on amazon and find it only to discover that it costs hundred (sometimes more) over the initial asking price, let alone a reasonable market value. One book I recently purchased was volume 2 of a three volume set that had gone out of print. Originally the book (volume 2 alone) cost $49.95. Two sellers had a copy of this volume 2 listed for somewhere around $900.00. Luckily, the publisher reprinted all three volumes and I beleive I paid $59.95 in the end for a brand new, volume 2 of this set.

It seems like a few (not all) sellers will take advantage of the market (especially out of print, hard to find books) and try to get all they can for this out of print book. While I certainly believe in supply and demand, it seems like some sellers are trying to take undue advantage of others. I realize also that I have the choice to buy or not to buy a grossly marked up price of a book; I also have the choice to earmark this seller and not buy (or ever buy) from them again.

Posted on Apr 26, 2012 8:58:51 PM PDT
I attempted to buy these two out of print how to draw books and and both were cancelled on me and i had to buy more expensive books.i was alittle upset,but sometime the books are worth the price.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 27, 2012 10:48:43 AM PDT
DSJ says:
LOL, thats a good way of marketing your book...hopefully u will make more sales!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 27, 2012 1:11:39 PM PDT
T. V. Bowker says:
I think that may be it as well.

Posted on Apr 28, 2012 10:08:31 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 28, 2012 10:10:10 AM PDT
humbahbug says:
As a previous seller, there is no penalty for creating a listing and sitting on it in perpetuity, NONE. The listings are free, unless you need to create an item that doesn't reside in their product database already, that requires a professional account @ $40 a month.

Posted on Apr 28, 2012 10:29:49 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 28, 2012 10:35:02 AM PDT
In a way I think it's very fair but a little sad that sellers overprice books. There are plenty of books that i want that are ten times the general asking price but since there sold out and out of print the only option available is the overpriced seller. While i understand that the seller wants to make money i think there should be a limit of not charging more that three times the normal price of an item original/usual price. However Amazon will never and should never be the ones to put such a rule in place it should just be a common rule like the ones of society not laws but things people frown upon.

Posted on Apr 28, 2012 11:20:10 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 28, 2012 11:34:45 AM PDT
Gary Dickson says:
Not all books are listed at outrageous prices. And it is only a minority of third party booksellers who do this. As a seller I look at the prices of books that are in the same stated condition as the one I'm listing, and I also find some very unreasonable prices out there. If I see a price that looks extremely unrealistic or see a very large gap between lower priced and higher priced books in similar condition, I check other bookselling sites. There are also some aggregators out there that show prices across different selling venues, such as Amazon, AbeBooks and others. These will give me an indication as to what realistic prices for books are and allow me to set an appropriate, fair price.

When I buy books on Amazon I look primarily for two things. The first is the seller's rating. I do not buy from any seller whose rating is below 97. You will see many sellers with ratings in the low 90s and even the 80s (gasp). If a seller is truly customer-focused and cares about the products they are listing, then you will see ratings of 97 or higher. You will even see sellers out there with ratings of 100 who have a total number of ratings in the thousands! These are booksellers who list a book accurately with a fair price and will do whatever is necessary to keep their customers satisfied.

The second thing I look for is the description. A reputable seller will conscientiously describe a book's condition in reasonable detail. The seller should describe a book by stating any tears (and size of them), bumps, discoloration or fading, water damage, dogeared pages, pages that have pen or pencil markings, names written in them, condition and squareness of the spine, any bends in the cover or any missing pages. This amount of detail is not that difficult to provide and helps justify the condition and price of the book.

Take a look at Amazon's condition description guidelines. You can find them on the title's used listing. At the right is a small box parallel to the book title called "Price at a Glance". At the bottom is a button labeled "Sell yours here". Click that button and you will be taken to a page that allows someone to list a book to sell. Under Step 2 you will see the words "condition guidelines" highlighted in blue. Click that link, then scroll down the page to the "Books" heading. There you will see all the condition guidelines for new and used books that sellers are supposed to follow.

Reputable booksellers will try to follow these guidelines exactly. Beware of those who do not provide any description or only a generic description. New books should be in new, unread, unused and in pristine condition. The same is true for "Like New" books. Like New books should not have any wear and definitely should not have any tears, writing, stains, dogears, etc. A book in "Very Good" condition should be in extremely good condition with only minor shelf wear. Any book with writing or marking of any kind in it should always be listed in "Good" condition. If you suspect a book isn't accurately described or you have questions of any kind about a book you can email the seller and ask him/her to provide you with a detailed description.

Be skeptical of those sellers who don't provide any description. Also, do not buy a book whose stated condition does not fit Amazon's condition guidelines. Unfortunately Amazon does not have any process or software that filters out inaccurate condition descriptions or unrealistic prices. Like in many areas of purchasing goods or services it is "Let the buyer beware." Use critical thinking skills and Amazon's condition guidelines and you will be a more satisfied consumer. There are some greedy used booksellers out there who price a book at an outrageously high amount in the hopes that a non-critical, naive buyer will come along and purchase it.

Finally, if you are unhappy with a book you purchase, CONTACT THE SELLER. Don't just go on Amazon and give the seller a bad rating. Reputable sellers like myself and those that I know are happy to take a book back that somehow is inaccurately described. Yes, we do make mistakes in describing a book or inadvertently overlook some condition issues; however, we will happily refund all or part of the purchase price in order to make it right for the customer. Communication is the key to customer satisfaction.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 14, 2012 4:34:30 PM PDT
Lenora says:
Did you leave negative feedback?

Posted on Aug 17, 2012 12:10:12 PM PDT
I think Robin Harrison's explanation is the only one that makes sense, assuming that we're talking about the same type of sellers that I constantly run into. They obviously have no inventory at all and must be banking on the assumption that if the customer pays enough money, then they can dig up a copy somewhere. To use a random example, I just looked at the inventory of seller "any_book". If I search their inventory for "Miles Davis", it turns up 1,818 books and CDs, 76 pages worth. There is no way that any dealer on Earth has 1,818 Miles Davis items. If I search for John Colianni, it turns up all of John Colianni's CDs. For every one, they just HAPPEN to have exactly three copies: one New, one in Like New condition and one in Very Good condition.

It's obviously a lie, so why does Amazon allow these sellers to continue to operate? There are scads of them ... SimplyReliable, Quick_N_Easy Marketplace, Japan Records, etc. Just search for anything and scroll to the end where the ridiculously high prices are.

But seller any_book seems to be the most egregious abuser, at least in the CD realm. Judging by the feedbacks to any_book, they are also unconcerned about delivering the stated condition of books that are purchased. They repeatedly send used books that were listed as new, then try to talk the customer into accepting a 20% discount off their new price.

Does Amazon read these discussions? If so, why don't you get rid of these obviously fake sellers? After all, one of the cardinal Community Rules of Amazon is "Do not misrepresent yourself", no?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 20, 2012 2:29:35 PM PDT
Swim Swim says:
Hey andy, is it possible that there is a "Tax" write-off for those with a small business tax account number????

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 20, 2012 5:26:43 PM PDT
DSJ says:
I heard somewhere that they set it to go up a certain amount daily...there was a case of a book that was over a million other instances I found a book for 10.00 used that was selling new for 600.00 i asked the seller why he did this and he said its because he has the only new book...price gouging at its

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2012 2:44:59 PM PST
I understand what you are saying. However, you are over looking one detail; Its called the seller having something you want to buy. Would you pay $100 for a cassette Walkman? Nope, but I bet you would have 25 years ago. I guantee 40 years from now wouldn't give $30 for
An iPad 1. As long as the consumer is will to pay the price I'm willing to price the item as high as I want. No one ever said you have to but it.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2012 2:52:57 PM PST
Somebody obviously thought it was worth the stated price. How much do pay for a bottle of water? Or a gallon of gas?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 17, 2012 6:48:19 PM PST
I guess somebody wants to REALLY stick it to crohns patients, then...

"Available from these sellers.
1 new from $45,021.00
Package Size: 10/Bx
Unit Of Measure: Box "

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2013 3:30:01 AM PST
liam maybe he was on drugs. maybe he was on drugs. but liam if that is such a good strategy why did nearly all rip off stores go bust when wal mart came and many book stores will shame the same fate. i mean its easy to rip someone off who is on drugs. maybe the kindergarten shooter was jesus. he wanted to right all the drugged up guys getting ripped of. maybe the kindergarten shooter was gods punished for liams thinking. yes i believe in god.

Posted on Jan 13, 2013 3:08:35 PM PST
The one thing I've wondered about with the new and used copies of my book being sold is that in reality I've only sold about 5 copies, so how is it possible there are all these used copies for sale? If so, where are they buying them from and who is getting paid because it sure isn't me.

Posted on Jan 14, 2013 2:50:29 AM PST
Blinken says:
Catherine - I find barely read ARCs (not that those are legal to sell here) or free review copies given out and then discarded, in thrift stores, all the time. I've even found smaller run books that have inscriptions from the author to their friends. Sad, but true. At least it gets the word out more, if the second person picks it up and enjoys it.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 14, 2013 1:00:07 PM PST
deslos be happy you have such places. you know in germany i only found stores were they want astronomical prices for books who are just used and old.

Posted on Jan 15, 2013 4:16:29 AM PST
Blinken says:
I am happy about it. Else I couldn't afford to support my reading addiction.

I think they big box store model and 'bestseller list' model in America causes them to waaaaay overprint (some) books, in America. It leads to a glut of paperbacks, which leads to *most* used books becoming de-valued. I assume in Europe, they (publishers) have a more sensible approach to creating supply, and when coupled with segmenting the customer market when different languages are thrown in - you have much different market conditions driving where the used books supply and demand curves intersect, over there.

Posted on Jan 20, 2013 3:22:30 PM PST
Uncle Pinky says:
I don't sense it as a drug-selling ploy as much as a money-laundering scheme.

Posted on Jan 20, 2013 5:24:15 PM PST
Swim Swim says:
Thanks for your comment "UNC".

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 7, 2013 9:56:08 AM PST
Actually, when a buyer such as yourself places a book in their shopping cart, the book is then marked as pending in the Sellers account. It is then not available for immediate purchase by anyone else. The buyer has up to 3 days to actually decide if they want to purchase the book. Meanwhile the Seller can't sell the book because it is out of stock in his inventory. So, at that time I suppose a Seller can re-list the book at a higher price to try to capture a sale that is by no means certain for them should the potential buyer change their mind or just have the transaction slip their mind....

Posted on Feb 7, 2013 10:53:36 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Jun 25, 2013 7:23:58 AM PDT]

Posted on Feb 8, 2013 8:42:58 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 8, 2013 8:47:09 PM PST
MYOB says:
Sellers are supposed to ship items within two days. The buyer can try to cancel but often the shipper will suddenly "ship" if a cancellation is requested (Ex: book hasn't shipped, thus a week later the buyer requests cancellation and suddenly the book is shipped.) Sellers should not try to sell what is not in their stock and buyers should note the time frame of delivery the seller estimates. I once bought a book by a USA seller that promised a quick ship, but it took 6 weeks to arrive...from the UK. The cost issue is a similar bait and switch game, as well obtaining the correct versions/editions. The best you can do is research sellers and request they have correct edition ISBN: Sellers can determine if their ISBN is same edition and if they don't respond, you have your answer to that query. If it is truly different, they can create a new item page with that ISBN or indicate it in their book description. There is no excuse for sending a different edition other than what is listed. Exaggerated prices is everyone's option, but, buyers can always research for the best price. A good deal of books are often available at a discount or free by universities or libraries in PDF form.
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Discussion in:  Textbook Buyback forum
Participants:  59
Total posts:  97
Initial post:  Mar 1, 2012
Latest post:  May 14, 2016

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