Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Something I Should Remember, But Never Do

It doesn't pay to buy cheap used books from Amazon, because the sellers there have no sense of condition. And every single "great deal" I've gotten on a "Very Good" or "Like New" book inevitably turns out to be an ex-library copy with stamps and stickers everywhere.

Case in point -- I'm trying to rebuild my Love & Rockets library, this time with the fat paperbacks. And a recent Amazon order included what was supposed to be a "Very Good" copy of The Girl From H.O.P.P.E.R.S., the second collection of Jaime stories. What I got was, instead, a mildly foxed and over-stickered (bar code on the front cover with marker scribble over it! two stickers on the back cover that don't come off! stickers on the spine with the title pasted right over the actual title printed on the spine!) reading copy that the Denver library tossed aside recently.

So, if you're like me, and looking for book bargains, do not, under any circumstances, give in the the siren song of Amazon. They're fine at shipping brand-new stuff, and they can zap electrons around like nobody's business, but used books requires a human being's eye and discrimination, not Big Data and massive warehouses, and so they do not do that particular thing with any great facility.

(And, he added with a fine eye for irony, look out for a post or two in the very near future with lots of Amazon links for you to use to buy things!)

(Further parenthetical thought: I also got a copy of Shannon Wheeler's I Thought You Would Be Funnier, Stephan Pastis's Pearls Freaks the #*%# Out, and a Rick Riordan fantasy novel for Thing 2, my younger son. This concludes the ritual Announcement of the Incoming Books.)

4 comments:

FS said...

Where do you recommend?

Andrew Wheeler said...

FS: I haven't bought from them in a while (and I think Amazon owns them now, though they still seem to be run separately), but ABEbooks.com was always good -- that's full of real booksellers, so the conditions are much more accurate.

Johanna said...

Bear in mind that used books on Amazon are sold by third parties, and ratings are your friend. There are some great sellers who ship what they sell they will, and there are those with issues in sending the promised condition (which usually appear in the comments around their ratings). If you don't get what you ordered and paid for, then Amazon has an A-Z guarantee that will get you your money back.

Bookseller Bill said...

I have better luck w/ the Amazon sellers who take the time to actually describe the condition, as opposed to the ones who say things like "Thousands of satisfied customers!" (or worse, "May have underlining/markings/remainder marks").

I've never had a problem getting money back through the A-Z guarantee (although maybe there is a lifetime limit to the number you can file?).

vialibri.net is a good meta-engine for finding and comparing used book prices.

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