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Customer Discussions > Textbook Buyback forum

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

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Showing 201-225 of 396 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 31, 2012, 5:55:54 AM PDT
Fred says:
me thinks they are selling other than books Emme.

Posted on Oct 31, 2012, 6:12:09 AM PDT
richard says:
That would be a clever cover indeed.

Posted on Nov 22, 2012, 11:59:16 AM PST
nkay says:
I'm a new Amazon seller. I've only sold about 5-6 books since I started a few weeks ago. I too have wondered who these people are the post books for hundreds of dollars when others have it for under $20. I equally dont understand how some people post books for .99 cents. How do they pay for shipping? I have posted several books higher than others simply because, due to the condition, and being old or out of print, I believe that it's worth it. I only have a few books under $20 because it costs at least $5 for even the smallest book. I am equally baffled by the super high priced and the super low-equally dumb. I think the super low priced sellers really hurt the rest of us.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 22, 2012, 2:27:16 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 22, 2012, 2:36:55 PM PST
richard says:
Hi Natasha,

I pay more attention to ratings and the climate of buyer comments than I do to price. Some sellers (shall I say many) do not even have a book on hand when they sell it. They sell it and then run around trying to find it. If they cannot find a copy sufficiently inexpensive to make it worth their while to fulfill the order, then they cancel the order. When push comes to shove, they at least have had the opportunity to earn some nearly (all but) negligible interest on the buyers' monies they'd held in unofficial escrow for a month or two. A seller sells a book for 99 cents, Amazon adds $3.99 for shipping and extracts its 15% from the total (about 75 cents) whilst the seller banks the balance (about $4.25) until the buyer(s) get fed up with waiting (for books that the seller did not possess in the first place) and then file a claim 5-6 weeks later. The claim(s) take at least a week to process ... total of 7 weeks from purchase to refund.

If a seller operates a consortium of 50 different identities and respective Amazon accounts offering hundreds of books (used and new) daily at seemingly unrealistically low prices and only very very rarely delivers the goods, profit on interest alone of money being held could constitute some folding cash. A very conservative five thousand outstanding orders over such an interim according to the calculation stated above would represent an average stash of cash in such a seller's coffers of over $21,000 at any given time.

The interest earned would be useful but probably not incentive enough. However, having an available (and stable) quantity of superficially legitimate cash on hand continuously over time would definitely have its advantages, depending on what use to which it was put. If the flow was kept reasonably constant with respect to the ongoing generation of new sucker revenues, one could on average live well without having either to work or to provide product. Any cash paid out to cover living expenses would be continuously replenished ... a sort of pyramid scheme played out on the canvas of the Amazon landscape. Essentially, pay the old suckers back with money collected from the new suckers. It's the last batch of suckers in the sequence who will be left up short.

A group of 3 to 5 nefariously inclined individuals could make this sort of thing work if they were very very organized and did seriously "work" at it.

I buy according to the seller's track record as mirrored in the buyer comments. I never default to the cheap fix when buying books, movies, or music online. I want a bargain like anyone else, but I do not want the hassle of foot-dragging and stall tactics that a questionable seller will inevitably provide. I often write to sellers before I buy ... psyching them out a little. My alarm bell goes off when I get excuses and/or evasive language.

I seek to pay a fair price for a good product from a legitimate seller.

Your best insurance as a seller:

... never offer to sell anything that you do not have in your hand, house, or place of business;
... write your product description in such a way that communicates that you actually do have the item and are describing what you personally have seen or observed about it (generic descriptions are very bad and communicate either that you have not really taken the time to look at the item or that you do not even have it in your possession to be looked at);
... always send first class (even if it hurts) ... no media mail ... happy buyers cost a little more;
... always answer buyer inquiries promptly with information, interest, and personality;
... always always always deliver the goods! ... if an item disappears in the snail mail, make reparations promptly and with an upbeat note. I hate it when the Amazon refund email drops a prefabricated reason/disclaimer for the refund. Always accompany the refund with a short pleasant follow-up note. The buyer feels considered and will likely remember you and return as a "loyal" customer to buy from you again. I personally have a list of sellers from whom I prefer to buy ... even when their offering has a higher price than others listed. I remember those who treat me well and are earnest in their endeavor to deliver.

Well ... I have said enough. I hope that this is helpful. I wish you the sincerest best of good fortune
in your " endeavor to deliver " the goods.

Have a wonderful holiday!

... Richard

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 19, 2012, 1:08:58 PM PST
Some of these companies are listed on the stock exchange. Maybe it's a way to boost their worth on paper. ie, they say they currently have one million $ in stock, but in reality their stock is worth a LOT less.
Just a guess. I don't like things that don't make sense. So, this is irksome to me.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 19, 2012, 1:09:52 PM PST
Oh jeez, I didn't see this post before I made my comment. Sorry. He said what I said but in a much better way.

Posted on Dec 19, 2012, 7:58:04 PM PST
There has to be something to it. I just looked up a used Chicken Soup book (which start at about two bucks used). No shortage of them. Not out of print. But some sellers listed them for five hundred bucks. I am thinking it is something nefarious. The most likely answer so far is that people are pricing them high to make their inventory look valuable to those who might be buying their stuff. I can't think of any other reason but, then again, I am on the buying end.

Posted on Dec 21, 2012, 5:30:22 PM PST
Bankershill says:
I always just figured it was money laundering for another illegal business.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 22, 2012, 12:16:25 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 22, 2012, 12:16:59 AM PST
richard says:
Could be ... or just a business unto itself.

Money laundering usually would involve quantities of money that are not likely to float unnoticed on Amazon.

A thousand bucks is all but nothing. To launder even a million bucks would attract attention. Those who would do so likely might follow a different route. Still .. it is possible.

This discussion has been going on for a long time.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2012, 12:59:00 PM PST
CS-Punk says:
I was right as a kid, math should be banned. Lol. Thanks for the link.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2012, 7:05:50 PM PST
wrong kind of praying. it should be preying as I doubt they would pray for them.

Posted on Dec 28, 2012, 2:18:37 PM PST
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 29, 2012, 2:25:17 AM PST
Greg says:
Proverbs 17:28 ESV / 29 helpful votes

Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.

Posted on Jan 5, 2013, 1:21:56 PM PST
Deboriah says:
Well one thing I think wasn't mentioned from reading the posts is that maybe these sellers are listing for such high prices sometimes to get people to click on their name and go look at their other items. I did this and a list of items with more reasonable prices came up all from the same seller. Maybe that is the main idea?

Posted on Jan 5, 2013, 4:39:05 PM PST
Blinken says:
Just google auto re-pricers and learn a bit about how they work and the formulas they're based on. There's your answer.

Posted on Mar 4, 2013, 3:17:13 PM PST
I am just finding this as well. I really suspect the stores are being used as a front to sell something else and the high price books are just a way for people to buy illegal items thru Amazon. In other words, no legitimate person is going to buy a book for $349. But a person buying something illegal who knows that they can go to ______ store front and buy it under the name of "Scrapbooking Your Favorite Family Memories" for $349, will be under the radar. It is one thing for there to be the "first book" or limited edition book but these people are selling regular books and other items at prices so high that only an idiot would buy them or someone who is using this store front as a way to conduct some very shady business, be it drugs or something else.

Posted on Mar 5, 2013, 10:59:26 PM PST
As an self published author I know that only three copies of my $12.95 book have been sold, yet four "used" books are for sale for over $50. One guy says the book is slightly worn on the binding! Of course the sellers never bought my book and don't stock it. Hey, do I care? My $12.95 book looks cheap compared to their "used" prices. The real bugger was the guys who were selling my book for less than my Amazon price yet allowed to advertise on the book's Amazon page. My royalty if sold by Amazon is about $2.70. If sold by one of the used book sellers, $0.30. Yep! 30-cents. I had to quit enhanced distribution outside of Amazon to prevent that rip-off. Evidently, if an Indie author allows books to be bought at wholesale they risk having the vultures sweep in. Now, no one can order my book from a bookstore but no "Bookseller" can get my book at wholesale and undercut the Amazon price in direct competition on their website.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 6, 2013, 2:00:03 AM PST
Blinken says:
...or, look into selling it here as a kindle book. Easy. Then, no one but Amazon can list it, if that's your concern.

(I'd point you towards the free podcast model to driving long term fan base growth and later much higher ticket sales for paid performances for comedians, but...whatever.)

It continues to amaze me that starting authors are amazed that the gift copies they give out to family and friends end up in thrift stores, which end up getting to online sellers.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 6, 2013, 2:07:55 AM PST
Blinken says:
And, once again - I'm not sure why this idea keeps recurring. It is a terrible way to go about illicit activities. #1, you're leaving a HUGE electronic tracking trail on both ends, #2, you're automatically having to give Amazon 15% on these transactions. There are MUCH easier, more discreet, and less overhead cost ways to go about doing this if that is their aim - therefore, that's what you'd do if that is the activity you're up to.

When you're a grad student, it's not entirely out of the alm for your textbooks to be in that range anyway. As for the rest (non-textbooks), AGAIN - many sellers are using auto-repricers that crank up the price to just below what the other guy has, AND there are a bunch of people getting into the book scanning game that have no grasp on the reality of sales rankings, and excitedly buy and post books when they see those listing prices, without really paying attention to the actual level of demand of a book.

Posted on Mar 6, 2013, 9:53:18 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 6, 2013, 10:08:32 AM PST
richard says:
This thread has gone on for a long time.

Re: Donald Stebbins (above) ... restricting sales of one's book to Amazon (i.e. same as limiting distribution to Amazon) falls upon the path of serving Amazon's progressive monopoly of the publishing industry.

Gee ... (Warning: Conspiracy alert!) ... a response such as Donald's (however understandable), were it to catch on, effectively would contribute to handing over the indie market to Mr. Bezos. My gut tells me that Amazon is playing the phantom. A few phantom postings of a book for dirt prices would serve Amazon. The phantom need not at all be in possession of the book. If someone just happens to order it, then the phantom merely waits a day or two ... claiming the book to be "out of stock" to avoid having to deliver. The purpose would have never been to sell a book. The purpose would have been to manipulate the author into choosing to restrict the market of their own book.

Seemingly, everybody's hands are clean ... including Amazon's.

It would serve Amazon to maintain a stable of phantom sellers.

Whatever the reasons for books being offered for unusually higher prices (in conjunction with low as dirt prices), authors are effectively herded into a narrowing shoot (e.g. not unlike cattle) to be chained and subjected to Amazon's rendering.

Nifty little operation ...

Personally (whatever the ultimate modus operandi), there is more here than meets the eye. Were I to be interested in marketing my book, I would follow a less entangled path. I would avoid the seduction of Amazon ... period. Convenience can come at too high a price.

Fine ... so I would not have as grand a marketplace in which to post my production(s). This is the techno age. With a little more work and some planning, there are other ways ... personal website ... book fairs ... the old fashioned way (a la Edward FitzGerald). Certainly, any one of you out there, being are more savvy than I, can add to that list.
If you can self-publish, why then can you not self-promote?

I would not publish on Kindle. That is buying into more of the same.

Today's marketplace is a Siren that would have us believe that it is our only option ... that we have no choice but to drive our creative ships onto the manipulative rocks of a corporate shore. Is that our only option? ... Perhaps it might be productive to steer the thread of this discussion in the direction of true independence. Obviously, what works for Amazon seems not to be working for us.

Perhaps you might find comfort in the Siren's song.

I do not.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 6, 2013, 10:18:31 AM PST
I think people find this thread after they've tried to buy something and balked at the prices it was being offered for. That's certainly how I found it, as I was curious myself. I'm sure as long as people try and sell something at an outrageous price, this thread will keep on keeping on.

Posted on Mar 6, 2013, 4:24:16 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 6, 2013, 4:27:29 PM PST
Ross Go says:
Trying to find sellers shipping SSD's overseas I've found a lot of sellers with prices 2-10 times higher than normal. I guess it's some kind of SEO or something. Actually it's getting annoying -- I'm trying to buy something and all I get is another store selling computer mouse for 1000 bucks. Shouldn't Amazon do something about it?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 6, 2013, 4:45:50 PM PST
Perhaps that explains why I can never buy a book by David Lawson called Cause Stalking. It's always out of stock. Perhaps Mr. Lawson doesn't want to take a paltry royalty sum for his book either and Amazon is always out of stock. Wish he'd sell it himself.

Posted on Mar 7, 2013, 4:33:14 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 7, 2013, 4:46:06 PM PST
M. burton says:
It sounds like few posts here are comming from book collectors. Which makes me wonder why anyone cares, just by the ebook or paperback and move on. A few have taken into consideration that its not free to sell on Amazon, but there is much much more to book pricing. Simply, book pricing can be based on supply/demand/condition/edition/movies/signed in addition to many other factors. Just one example, say your looking for a copy of Stephen Kings Salem's Lot, there are +1 mil paperbacks and book clubs out there that you can pick up anywhere for $1, or as a collector you'd like a 1st Edition/1st Printing which are $300 to several thousand dollars. But why so much & why the price range? 1) few were printed and now he's mega popular (hence supply/demand) 2) the DJ was changed during the printing making 2 versions 3) Price was changed after publiction to help them sell better making the pre-price change copies more vauable. 4) Movie. 5)signed by author....I could keep going, but my only point is pricing is like an iceberg, there is so much you can't see and that can't be taught in this chat. Some prices don't make sence, but that is the same with anything for sale. I'm not even factoring in the time and expense of the book seller. They risk money on inventory that may never sell, and like any business have expenses and wages to consider.

Posted on Mar 7, 2013, 6:26:01 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 7, 2013, 6:29:06 PM PST
richard says:
Having an inventory is not required in order to offer something for sale.
I collect books and value the physical artifact as much as the reading of it.
I have lots of experience buying books and weeding through the layered semi-scams of "some" sellers.

"Some" sellers do offer for an inflated price with the intent of delivering the product ... though they do not specifically have the book in stock. When a buyer "ambles" along, the seller then goes to the nearest fire-sale-in-the-bargain-basement "other" seller, cops a cheap copy, and orders that it be sent to the "ambling" buyer's shipping address. Voila! ... a sale without ever having to touch the product.

Run on sentence? ... you bet.

Run-on game? ... that too.

This is not a chat.
A chat happens in real time.
This is a discourse of experienced folks sharing their theories and insights.

The market for new and used books is many things that it does not immediately appear to be. If you do not care that you are being played, then be played. There are those of us out here who do care and who do ponder the many facets of the game afoot.
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