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Trend at amazon - Input Junkie
January 10th, 2008
09:03 am

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Trend at amazon
I buy used books at amazon, and I look for the cheapest copy from a vendor who's got a rating of 98% or better. I got that stringent after getting annoyingly burnt by indoo.com, which had a 95% rating. I'm not sure exactly what a 95% rating means--on the one hand, people who are pissed off are perhaps more likely to send in a rating than those who are pleased, and on the other, amazon makes it a little harder to send in a negative rating--iirc, just one of those "are you sure?" screens, but it's still something.

Anyway, I've been noticing that well-rated vendors are getting rarer at the low end of the price range. I assume reliable vendors are getting a more accurate idea of the value of their time.

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From:stevemb
Date:January 10th, 2008 02:15 pm (UTC)
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As noted in the cartoon I adapted this userpic from: You can do this one in every 30 times and still have 97% positive feedback.
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From:nwhyte
Date:January 10th, 2008 04:23 pm (UTC)
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I imagine that's right. Your cutoff of 98% sounds eminently sensible to me; I just got burnt by someone with a 95% rating too!
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From:bohemiancoast
Date:January 10th, 2008 05:35 pm (UTC)
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I have a 100% rating, but I observe that I never, ever sell a book except when I am the low-price seller. Even where all the ones lower are shipping dodgy copies from the US (with names like CHEAPBOOKS_UK ), it's clear that most Marketplace buyers do so on price alone.

If I valued my time sensibly I doubt I would do either eBay or Amazon. I do it because, in practice, I largely find it enjoyable and heartwarming; I like the sense of ecological wellbeing of uniting my unwanted tat with people who are glad to have it; and it uses time that I would otherwise spend vegging out playing video games. It's rather nice to have a hobby where the flow of money is inward, too, even if it's not very great.
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From:captain_button
Date:January 10th, 2008 09:10 pm (UTC)
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I was shopping for stuff last month at amazon and I was boggled by all the "Used & new from $0.01" items. WTH do they think they are fooling here? Why does amazon allow something so transparently bogus?

Haven't been so boggled since I heard that ebay will list a "minimum bid" which is nothing of the kind since there is a secret higher minimum price. Is this something like the Sargon's law that it isn't an auction without three bids?

(But I did get used copies of "Madouc" and "The Interior Life" through amazon. Haven't gotten to reading the latter yet.)
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From:agrumer
Date:January 10th, 2008 09:20 pm (UTC)
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I skip Amazon and buy straight from the vendors with ABEbooks.com. It's cheaper, because Amazon adds markup when you buy through them.

Example: UsedBooks123 has a copy of John M Ford's The Dragon Waiting for $1 + $3.98 shipping. They've also got it listed on Amazon, for $2.02 + $3.99 shipping.

Another example: The Codex Seraphinianus. Amazon lists two copies, both from Rose's Books in Cape Cod, both for $550. ABEbooks lists 20 copies, including two at Rose's Books for $395.

Anyway, I've never been burned going through ABEbooks, but then again I don't do it very often.
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