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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 1-25 of 398 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 20, 2011, 4:54:03 PM PDT
C. klauber says:
I notice sometimes a book will range in price from literally a few cents to lots of money. I understand the low end sellers. Who are these high end sellers? Ex. a book that most people are selling for say 3.00-8.00 range and them a seller listing it for 115.00. What's the deal?

Posted on Oct 20, 2011, 8:29:33 PM PDT
Betsey Clark says:
Because idiots buy them. You do not have to sell very many books when they are priced like this. Toy sellers do it too.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 20, 2011, 11:18:15 PM PDT
David Bailey says:
Obviously they do not want to sell (stupid) them unless they are getting in front of a shortage. but sometimes a shortage is just here on Amazon when there is a place elsewhere on the internet to get the same book at retail. I suppose some of the sellers in this case either did not do their homework, or are not very experienced, or depending on another person laziness or ignorance. It's dumb in many cases just as you think. I disagree with the answer below. No one is going to buy a book for 300 bucks when he can get it for ten all day long.

Posted on Oct 21, 2011, 10:46:52 AM PDT
I commented on this exact same thing in regard to two other books. Fantastic Victoriana, and a James Bond novel (not by Ian Fleming.) The first book came out less than five years ago, now out of print, and was selling at that time for over $1000! It really pissed me off, and I commented that "if you want to really sell your book for a price like that, go to ebay and see how many suckers you can rope in, otherwise don't waste my time on Amazon with pricing like that."

Posted on Oct 21, 2011, 4:45:17 PM PDT
C. klauber says:
It just seems so weird I think something else is going on... Is there a reason you would want to make your inventory seem more valuable? I just saw a Derek Wolcott poetry book for $999. Nobody, even the dumbest person or laziest shopper in the world is going to buy it, so something else is going on. I contacted bookseller and asked about condition. He replied it was out of stock. Now if he thought I really wanted the book, wouldn't he just get one and sell it to me? It's just this little life mystery I would love to solve. There's a reason behind this and it isn't exactly greed or laziness...still wondering...

Posted on Oct 21, 2011, 7:19:22 PM PDT
Gregerg says:
I've noticed this for a long time. My only guess is that sellers use the high price as a way to increase the value of their inventory, useful if they are selling the entire inventory to someone who can't check the value of every single item.

Posted on Oct 21, 2011, 11:19:50 PM PDT
CadenceBoys says:
I'm wondering if it is a software issue? If they have software programs to set up pricing based on certain search parameters, or the frequency of searches for that item... something random enough that a computer is pricing something higher than a real human would. But that's total speculation.

Posted on Oct 22, 2011, 1:00:42 PM PDT
W. Gillespie says:
I thought that instead of taking the item down, they price it really high so no one will buy it until they get more in.

Posted on Oct 22, 2011, 2:07:35 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Dec 27, 2012, 8:22:12 PM PST
The reason I think they do it is because of one click purchasing. They are hoping that someone isn't paying attention or their kid is playing around and clicks on it. They are preying on people.

Posted on Oct 22, 2011, 2:29:39 PM PDT
There are a lot of DVDs and Blu-ray discs that this same thing happens with. What usually happens is when a book/DVD go out of print, some people jack up the price right away and wait until all the lower priced sellers sell out, then they are the only option left.

There are plenty of games and anime that new and used prices are 2-3 times the SRP just a year or so after release.

An interesting side note is I can get Ghost In The Shell 2 on Blu-ray from Amazon Japan (and get it shipped through a reshipper) for something like $80 brand new, and just shipping that one item. (It's more expensive to just ship one thing through a reshipper, but I'm using it to show my point.) Or I can buy a copy for $150 from an Amazon U.S. seller.

Fun times!

Posted on Oct 22, 2011, 3:14:09 PM PDT
sequin says:
Sometimes it's just that a book is rare, or software I think. Like they'll have automatic price adjustments and they just spiral up if there aren't any options? But I'm guessing usually - (as in the example where the seller didnt actually have it in stock) is that the supplier has a revolving stock of items, so once they run out, it's generally easier to just bump up the price to 999 until they get new stock, rather than removing the item and relisting it again from scratch. I.e. a lot of sellers here might sell simultaneously on amazon, ebay, half.com etc. so they migh have one book atm and once it sells, they can just bump up the price on the other sites until they get another copy? (I also did that on half.com when I was going on vacation and would be unable to ship books, rather than intiating 'vacation' mode which has hassles and requirements, minimum number of days etc. it was just easier to bump items prices up until i got back)

Posted on Oct 22, 2011, 3:20:15 PM PDT
I did that while I was taking the bar exam, I just put the price real high so no one would buy it and my wife would have to run out a ship it. However, I think a lot of sellers are looking for the one click users to take advantage.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 22, 2011, 5:42:26 PM PDT
C. klauber says:
thanks everyone. I think Chuck probably hit on the answer, just jack up the price so you don't have to relist...I suppose there are several reasons after all. But preying on the one-click users, that seems pretty low...

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 22, 2011, 5:44:44 PM PDT
C, there are some that do it for good intentions and purpose but if you notice that certain book sellers keep a way high price all the time. It is low but not all persons are good.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 23, 2011, 7:48:48 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 23, 2011, 7:53:29 AM PDT
Kcorn says:
It really depends on the type of book and yes...sometimes a book price is entered incorrectly. But I happen to be a book collector and the condition of a book matters. Those in "as new" or "excellent" condition are more desirable to collectors as are first editions and signed copies.

But is this discussion about easily found mass market books?

Also consider that ebooks now out sell "real" books and that even textbooks are being transitioned to digital editions (we'll see how that goes since textbook publishers like those high prices and yearly "new" editions that don't really differ from earlier ones).

sometimes it is hard to find collectible editions of some books whilectons of others- without dust jackets or heavily marked - do exist.

Just depends on the book. Is it available in the SAME condition for far less? Just as some people will only buy clothes or other items if they are pricey the same mindset exists with some book buyers.

Posted on Oct 23, 2011, 7:57:51 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 23, 2011, 7:58:17 AM PDT
Kcorn says:
Also wanted to ask: aren't sellers required to accept returns for a certain period of time? I think that is an Amazon requirement. I learned my lesson after buying an expensive item from a catalog and finding the exact same item here for less. I simply returned the other item.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 23, 2011, 8:27:31 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 23, 2011, 8:33:36 AM PDT
Witty says:
These ("expensive") vendors cater to out of country buyers, that's a way to recoup the actual fees of selling to countries as far as China and Japan. The "one cent sellers" cater to local USA customers so the overall fees (shipping plus one cent) does provide a marginal income, which is great if you have a huge inventory to sell. When it comes to a rare book or out of print, or signed-by-author copy, then they can charge as much as people are willing to pay, it is the good'ol demand vs supply principle.

Posted on Oct 24, 2011, 10:42:42 AM PDT
Large companies in search of specific books don't really focus on the price. They are in search of a specific book and if it is out of print, they pay the price that it costs to acquire it. Of course the sellers with a 49 cent book who have it listed on Amazon for $49. are just playing the odds that not all people do research before buying.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 24, 2011, 8:44:38 PM PDT
If other books are selling 3.00 to 8.00 then people price a book really high sometimes because 1) they don't really want to sell the item - and I have done this myself - when I have an item I really don't want to sell I will almost always price it higher than if I really want to sell it. And if someone really wants to pay $115 for it then I'll say -ok, I'll sell it - but I don't do it often. 2) they are trying to rip people off 3) they are trying to recover what they paid for the item 4) There are many items on Amazon which sell for a penny - but many book sellers can't make a profit on an item especially if they paid more for the item - especially if the price on Amazon is very low - just because some sellers are selling it for a penny doesn't mean that I can do that. I can't. I often price my items for more because I can't make a profit at times for some of the prices that things sell for. For example - let's say I paid $1 for an item and then I have Amazon Fees - I have to charge a certain amount just to cover my fees and make a profit - else it doesn't do any good to even list the item. We have to pay fees, and some of the fees can be pretty pricey - since you may not be selling you may not be aware of the fees that Amazon charges, but they can be somewhat steep at times. - if there are no competing prices then often people will pick a higher price just because there's no competition - once there is competition the price gets lower.

Posted on Oct 24, 2011, 8:50:55 PM PDT
I am a seller of books. Just my law books that I no longer need since graduating law school. I did receive a nice rebate of my shipping costs and another one is supposed to come up in a month or two. So now I am thinking of lowering my price so I will get rid of the book and recoup my shipping later on. That is the only other reason that I see that someone wants to sell a book at a penny.

Posted on Oct 24, 2011, 9:04:43 PM PDT
Karen G. says:
I think I have an answer to your question. I was going to sell some books on Amazon but changed my mind because a 150.00 text book I was going to list for appx. 30.00 that by the time Amazon got their 'share' I would have only received 1.00! Amazon's cut for books is OUTRAGEOUS! and I would guess that some sellers make it such a high price so they can make some kind of profit.. Not sure if Amazon has changed this yet but looks like they have not if you are seeing prices really high. One suggestion, contact seller and see if they will lower cost or put it on another website cheaper for you to buy ;)

Posted on Oct 24, 2011, 9:08:31 PM PDT
Karen, you are right, Amazon's cut is around 35% and up. Still, it beats haggling with law students who want you to give them the item for almost free and trying to get payment out of them. I am still coming out ahead.

Posted on Oct 24, 2011, 9:21:58 PM PDT
Prethyme says:
go to direct text book . com. It lists all online sellers for comparision.

Posted on Oct 25, 2011, 8:36:03 AM PDT
C. klauber says:
You know, I was selling books on Amazon for a time and I couldn't sell any books unless it was the lowest price listed. And I had out-of-print books that didn't sell either. I found the hassel not worth the profit. But, I still don't believe people buy books for outrageous prices. And when you shop the used pages, all the prices are right there to compare. I wish one of those sellers with high prices would reply to this post... And if a book was listed for 999.00 and someone asked about it, why would you say it was out of stock?..just get a copy anywhere and try to sell it...I think no one really buys those high price listings...

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 25, 2011, 9:58:52 AM PDT
Della Street says:
If you didn't want to sell it, why go to the trouble of listing it at all? Apparently, I'm missing something.
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Discussion in:  Textbook Buyback forum
Participants:  232
Total posts:  398
Initial post:  Oct 20, 2011
Latest post:  8 days ago

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