A Penny for Your Books
Posted: 19 November 2015 08:15 AM   [ Ignore ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  883
Joined  2007-02-07

Strictly speaking, book selling is off-topic, but it’s also something we have discussed from time to time and many of us like to follow. It seems to me that writing and publishing have been changed by the digital world from very early on and those changes seem unlikely to stop.

A Penny for Your Books

[ Edited: 19 November 2015 09:50 AM by happydog ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 19 November 2015 12:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6268
Joined  2007-01-03

You’ve always been able to buy remaindered paperbacks at used book stores for a quarter or so. The only thing that seems to have changed is the scale of the operations.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 19 November 2015 01:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  883
Joined  2007-02-07

That’s a bit like saying the only difference between a dollar and a million dollars is the scale.

We’re not talking about the pathetically small number of people who shop at used book stores. We’re talking about Amazon; one of the largest retailers in the world. Their customer base is four times larger than the population of the United Kingdom.

If you go to a Barnes and Noble book store, you’re not going to find the 25 cent used book on the shelf next to the full price new addition. At Amazon, you do.

Not just a partly few, but millions of used books (already rejected by local used book sellers) are now back on the market and getting into people’s hands. That’s got to change something.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 19 November 2015 03:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6268
Joined  2007-01-03

I don’t see this as a major difference. The books are “penny” books because they’re not selling. They’re not going to displace sales of full-priced books, and if they start to, the sellers are going to raise the price to maximize profit.

Besides used books on Amazon are nothing new. Amazon (or more accurately affiliated companies selling through Amazon) has been selling used books for years.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 November 2015 01:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2652
Joined  2007-02-19

There are used books and used books. When I want a particular used book that’s out of print and hard to find, I don’t go to Amazon - I go to a site that’s a sort of clearing house for sellers of books used and new. They have thousands of booksellers, all over the world, on their list, and many millions of books. I’ve been able to get hold of books that I’d never have got through Amazon: such as Science since 1500 (a 1939 British Museum publication, which cost me $1 for the book, $7 for the postage) from an English bookseller; an out-of print 1990 museum catalogue of Ottoman scales and weights, from a bookseller in Istanbul; a 1930’s novel (On the Anvil by L.I.Crawford) which nobody’s ever heard of, from a bookseller in Memphis, Tennessee. Often, my postal charges are more than the cost of the book, because I live out in the wilds. In the USA or Europe, they’re much less. The site’s called AbeBooks.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 November 2015 06:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4457
Joined  2007-01-29

I occasionally check AbeBooks, but I don’t recall ever finding the spectacular not-on-Amazon deals you get; in fact, I’m usually disappointed (which is why I don’t go there often).

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 November 2015 06:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2652
Joined  2007-02-19

It’s not so much the deals I go for; but at AbeBooks I’ve been able to find out-of-the-way books, that I was searching for and couldn’t find anywhere else. Sorry if I conveyed the wrong impression.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 November 2015 10:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6268
Joined  2007-01-03

I find AbeBooks is often good for academic titles. These are often listed by the publishers at $100 or more, but are often on AbeBooks for considerably less. Not always though. The best prices are for those books that have sold moderately well so that there are a number of copies floating about. The really obscure books tend to be just as expensive as the full publisher price (the law of supply and demand at work).

Profile