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Publishing and Promoting > Resellers charging double for print copies on Amazon

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message 1: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Zebert | 3 comments As an author who publishes on Amazon, I was linking to my Amazon page today and noticed there were several USED copies offered at more than double the price of the new one. I realize I have no control over reselling, and if they were reselling at a lower price for a used book, that's one thing. But I noticed a couple of resellers from different areas of the country trying to sell the used copies at double the price.

My first thought was that the buyer would be pretty silly to pay double the price. My second was one of anger. Why in the world would Amazon allow this practice? Well, perhaps it's all about the money, but at what future cost and to whom? I called Amazon, and they sent me a seller complaint form, indicating that they would do an investigation. But in order to make a dent in this practice and get Amazon to stop this policy, if it is one, I wondered if any of you have thoughts about this practice and what, if anything, can be done about it.


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Kathy wrote: "As an author who publishes on Amazon, I was linking to my Amazon page today and noticed there were several USED copies offered at more than double the price of the new one. I realize I have no cont..."
I noticed this, too. For one thing, how can they sell my printed book when they never purchased the book. I keep track of my printed books. They must get an order then buy it. I notice on Createspace if you check off other vendors, we get paid 5 cents. What is this about?


message 3: by Faith (new)

Faith I'm not sure what your problem is. You can sell anything you own for any price you want if someone is dumb enough to pay it, so long as you aren't misrepresenting the product.


message 4: by Christie (new)

Christie Maurer | 32 comments This has been going on for years. I've ceased to get upset. If someone's dumb enough to pay, say, $40 for a book they can get elsewhere for $14, who am I to complain?
Maybe for kicks I'll jack my own price up to $40 and see what happens.


message 5: by Eric (new)

Eric Westfall (eawestfall) | 177 comments The "if they're dumb enough to pay for it" comment ties in with my own prejudices about inflated ebook pricing.

Unless it's an author for whom I have an "I'll buy everything, regardless of price" liking I won't buy jacked-up ebooks.

For what it's worth, here's my math: A normal mainstream mass-market paperback is usually around 300 pages. If you type out some random sample pages from several such books (as I did a while back) you find that that's somewhere between 250-300 words per page, or, 75,000 to 90,000 words for the book. The normal paperback price is $7.99.

So when I see an ebook that interests me, I check the pages and price, and then do a quick calculation: pages divided by price times 7.99. If the number is 300+ I'm paying a price proportional to paperback.

A 240 page ebook at $5.38 (something I've seen)is the equivalent of paying $7.99 for a 327-page pb.

On the other hand, an asking price of $2.99 for a 27 page short story is like paying $32 for a 300-page pb. (A variation on a theme: pages as a percent of 300 times the asking price.)

If I had lots of money I wouldn't worry. I'd just buy whatever was asked if the combination of title and blurb made me interested. But at my age I tend to want the most bang for my ebook buck I can get.

So I regretfully pass up books or novellas which I'd otherwise buy, just based on title/blurb, when the math doesn't work out.

Just my USD .02.

Eric


message 6: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Zebert | 3 comments Christie wrote: "This has been going on for years. I've ceased to get upset. If someone's dumb enough to pay, say, $40 for a book they can get elsewhere for $14, who am I to complain?
Maybe for kicks I'll jack my ..."


Thank you for your great perspective on this topic! I'm moving on. I'm old enough to stand up for the things I can do something about and walk away from the ones that I can't. I guess my problem was with someone using something I wrote to take advantage of someone else. It felt personal, but thanks to your comments, it no longer does.


message 7: by Sarah (Presto agitato) (last edited Dec 01, 2015 11:40AM) (new)

Sarah (Presto agitato) (mg2001) | 15 comments It's also possible that the reseller doesn't actually have a copy of the book in stock and the price is being set by a bot. There are a lot of resellers who do this. I guess the idea is that they will get a copy if someone actually buys it. The first reseller listed for a used copy of your book, "SuperBookDeals," seems to have something like 1.7 million books for sale. That's quite a used bookstore!

Bot pricing sometimes has hilarious results. For fun some time, try searching all books listed by price: high to low. They aren't as crazy as they used to be (maybe Amazon has done something to control it) and yes, some first editions may be very expensive, but $36,236.09 for a paperback phonics book published in 1998 seems a little high. And what do you know, the same seller just happens to have a copy of that book used and new. Here's another one that could only appeal to a very particular buyer - an audio cassette of Even Cowgirls Get the Blues for $24,150.86 (+$3.99 shipping).

Sometimes you'll see that more than one seller will have around the same crazy price, like here. They are off by just $1.01. The bots got into a pricing war and that's where they ended up.

The same thing happens at lower pricing levels, but it's harder to tell. Authors have posted in the past about several resellers with their book for sale when they know there aren't a lot of paper copies out there. My guess is that this kind of thing is going on.


message 8: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Zebert | 3 comments Sarah (Presto agitato) wrote: "It's also possible that the reseller doesn't actually have a copy of the book in stock and the price is being set by a bot. There are a lot of resellers who do this. I guess the idea is that they w..."

Holy Book Scams, Batman! Thank you for the cyber robot education! That's hilarious :-)


message 9: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited Dec 01, 2015 02:14PM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) Most resellers doing this don't have the book. They overprice to get a hefty profit well-making the shipping from Createspace worth it.

Like spammers, they don't really think they'll get a lot of buyers. They just plan on gouging the buyers they do get.

There are also re-sellers who get those prices by shipping the book outside of where Amazon and the author's foreign rights licensing allows. Including to known book pirates.

Not a lot anyone can do about "used" book sales; by getting a brand new book to then ship to buyer (likely even in same packaging), a lot of the gouging re-sellers can actaully get better ratings from pleased customers than re-sellers actually shipping in-stock used copies.


message 10: by J.R. (new)

J.R. Hardesty (jrhardesty) | 1 comments The 'bot wars also affect the aftermarket, such as at AbeBooks (abebooks.com). I've seen "used" copies of our books listed there for $75.00 ($16.95 new). I contacted one such dealer and he actually corrected that, but basically, "caveat emptor" applies here, but wouldn't I like to get a proper cut of that $75.00!!

--J. R.


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