Market failure

or possibly Amazon failure. I was putting the world’s smallest and most discreet book-buying link into the sidebar right now (obviously it would be wrong to link to it here) and thought that I might as well point the links to my earlier books through the Amazon associates programme. This used to be simple but now involves the use of complex urls with web bugs and all kinds of stuff, so I gave up for a while. This led me to the Darwin Wars page on Amazon UK, where I learned that second hand copies of the paperback are now going for upwards of £55. That’s crazy. If I sold mine, if I have any, I could make more like that than I ever did in royalties. What makes it even crazier is that the second-hand hardbacks are only £3.00. Of course, it is possible that Amazon, or someone, has swapped the listings round. But, even so. FIFTY FIVE POUNDS.

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4 Responses to Market failure

  1. RupertG says:

    Which reminds me of that great Posy Simmonds cartoon of the author going through his second-hand book prices online…

  2. Stephen says:

    Point of order: Second hand copies of the paperback are being offered for £55. That doesn’t mean there are willing buyers and therefore a market.

    I assume the business model is that you buy thousands of books in house clearances for a penny a book, use freeware and online databases to catalogue them from the ISBN and barcode, then put them up for sale at £55 a pop in the expectation that one in a thousand will sell. You clear £45 per sale for profit and running costs. The rest contribute to your local council’s paper recycling targets.

    I’m guessing at the prices, of course.

  3. acb says:

    Well, I would feel better if there were thousands to be had from house clearances. I suppose I can find out by putting a couple up for sale myself, but I will have to find them first, and that will have to wait for the great bookshelf reorganisation, which, in turn, is waiting for delivery of a new bookshelf so there is some space to store the books being reorganised.

  4. Mrs Tilton says:

    I’m certainly not going to be flogging off my copy (and no, you can’t have it either; sorry). Mind you, if I really could get £55 for my paperback and simultaneously pick up the hardcover for £3, I’m not above a bit of arbitrage.

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