Amazon Book Listings - Anyone Understand the Logic?

timsk

Legendary member
7,076 1,866
I'm downsizing which involves having a good clear out in general and, in particular, a severe pruning of my trading library. In due course I'll be creating a thread in the 'For Sale & Wanted' forum to sell on the books surplus to requirements. To get an idea of what to charge I've looked up each book on Amazon. An issue that keeps recurring is the extreme range of prices being charged for the same book. I take into account obvious stuff like paperback Vs hardback, 1st edition Vs later editions and the condition of the book etc. but, even so, the difference between the highest and lowest price is often considerable. This makes pricing the books I want to sell rather difficult. By way of example take this book:

Charting - Analysis for the Intelligent Investor by Alistair Blair

Here's a screen grab showing how extreme the price difference can be for what is essentially the same book. And the really surprising thing (to me anyway) is that both books are being sold by the same seller . . .

Amazon Listings.png

So, can anyone shed any light on all of this? Am I missing something or, as appears to be the case, there's really no logic to it?
Tim.
 

sminicooper

Experienced member
1,148 326
I'm downsizing which involves having a good clear out in general and, in particular, a severe pruning of my trading library. In due course I'll be creating a thread in the 'For Sale & Wanted' forum to sell on the books surplus to requirements. To get an idea of what to charge I've looked up each book on Amazon. An issue that keeps recurring is the extreme range of prices being charged for the same book. I take into account obvious stuff like paperback Vs hardback, 1st edition Vs later editions and the condition of the book etc. but, even so, the difference between the highest and lowest price is often considerable. This makes pricing the books I want to sell rather difficult. By way of example take this book:

Charting - Analysis for the Intelligent Investor by Alistair Blair

Here's a screen grab showing how extreme the price difference can be for what is essentially the same book. And the really surprising thing (to me anyway) is that both books are being sold by the same seller . . .

View attachment 248110

So, can anyone shed any light on all of this? Am I missing something or, as appears to be the case, there's really no logic to it?
Tim.
What you describe is quite a normal feature! As far as I can work out there are a number of possible reasons – the most usual one for stupidly inflated prices seems to be "typos" and I wonder if the people who submit their goods for sale ever check what they look like online. The next common reason is that many of the people selling the books are "car boot" type traders in that they have no idea of what they're selling and are just interested in making a few bob. If they think something is valuable e.g. it's got "railways" in the title and it looks reasonably old then they will try and charge a fortune and sometimes there are people stupid enough to pay it.

Despite its shortcomings Amazon does give a good idea of what's available on the market and at what prices – you just have to be a bit understanding. A couple of other sites that will give you the same information but sometimes with less coverage are:
https://www.abebooks.co.uk/?cm_sp=TopNav-_-Home-_-Logo
https://www.usedbooksearch.co.uk/

As someone who used to work in the second-hand and collectable books trade I can tell you that people selling books privately always think they are worth a lot more than the market does. If, as a seller you can find someone who actually want your books you may get a sensible price but offering them to the trade, unless they are rare/collectable they probably won't be worth an awful lot. Trading books – I can tell you now that they are NOT sought-after and most dealers will not be particularly interested. I would suggest your best bet is to sell them on T2W. I actually sold 2 lots here some years ago when I was downsizing (and subsequently up sized!) And having been an avid buyer I think I sold a huge box of about 50 books for about £50 – the buyers were quite happy and I was also, just to get something for them. The main thing to understand is that you need to be realistic and you will get nothing like the retail price you paid for them.

Of course, if you are a buyer then there are real bargains to be had.

PS – I notice you referred to 1st editions et cetera. Do not get hung up on this – yes, collectors of sought-after books always want first editions but unless you are buying a copy of Leonardo's original notebook, then for technical books i.e. trading stuff, you don't want first editions which will have all mistakes and old ideas. Go for the latest edition with all its updates (and funny enough, often a cheaper price!). There is much misunderstanding of pricing in the book world.
 
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tomorton

Legendary member
7,427 999
Great question Tim. I suspect some dealers are just flying a kite - enter a ludicrous price and some careless person will click it.

I recently saw a fairly ordinary paperback on Amazon at £999.99p. I thought this must be a software glitch until I saw this -
Day of Atonement, by Jay Rayner
Paperback from £539.73

Can anyone recommend this?
 

tomorton

Legendary member
7,427 999

I recall a news story a while back that some canny buyers were searching on eBay for mis-spelt descriptions of items - like "Samsnug" instead of "Samsung" (go on, take a look). These hadn't shown up on the searches for properly spelled items so these canny people could enter a low offer without fear of being out-bid.
 

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