Thursday, February 10, 2011

Selling Books You Don't Own

I don’t get it. Just days after Book Cover Design Wizardry became available on, one book seller listed two used copies of it for $34.64 + $3.99 shipping and $35.35 + $3.99 shipping. I can kind of get why some of the other sellers are listing new copies starting at $23.19 + shipping. They are attempting to undercut, but I don’t see why a selling would raise the price of the book, especially when I know for a fact that they don’t actually have a used copy of the book in hand. I won’t go into how I know that, but I know that.

What we have are several sellers who are making money by listing books they don’t own, hoping that buyers will choose the lower price over the price. When the order comes in, they order the book from the distributer, reship the book with their required packaging material and collect the lower price. I imagine it works fairly well, though from an outside view it looks really silly.

But makes no sense at all for someone to list a new book as used and sell it at a higher price. I’ve seen some of my books listed for as high as $80. It might make sense if the book were out of print and they had one of the few copies still in circulation, but when the book is in print and they have to order the book from the distributor before they can sell it, I don’t understand it.

The only thing I can think is that maybe they don’t want to be bothered with selling the book, but having it listed on allows them to track information about the book or something. I haven’t tried selling books in that way, so I’m not sure what information provides the sellers, but I’m sure they aren’t going to sell “used” books at that price when they are much lower in price when purchased new.