Friday, March 21, 2014

What a deal!

If I started blogging about what I don’t know, it would give me an endless supply of topics. So, I’ll keep this post to one little area about the book business that puzzles me. There are many, but this one came to my attention today while updating one of my Pinterest feeds.

I created a board for the books I've written and busily began to pin them. In the process of pinning my first book, the non-fiction Idaho SnapshotsI noticed that there were two listings for the book. There’s the Kindle listing and one for the out-of-print paperback.

Here’s where I nearly knocked over the chair and scampered to my storage area, where I probably have a couple dozen of the books left. On the out-of-print listing, used copies of the book sell for between $25 and $167.96. What?

I expect the listings around the $25 mark are autographed copies being sold by legitimate bookstores. I also expect they are not getting rich from sales of this book. But, what about the listing for $167.96? That company has a five star rating and has sold over 8,000 books on Amazon. I’m guessing none of those was a copy of Idaho Snapshots for $167.96. It is probably listed that way in case someone has contracted rabies and still has the ability to use a credit card.

What would compel anyone to pay that much for a book that is even today available on Amazon Kindle for $2.99? Hell, buy a low end Kindle AND the book and save $45.97. You could use that money to buy every one of my books on Kindle, and still save a few bucks.

So, it’s the autograph, right? Here’s a deal you can’t pass up. I’ll sign a copy of one of the few remaining originals I have left, personalize it for you, ship it to you wherever you live, AND include free samples of the drifting dog hair that permeates my house stuck to the business side of the tape for ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS! Zowie. Line up. No shoving. 


  1. Here's my theory on wild price variations on identical items. There are those people where expense is of no concern. They believe that if an item isn't priced significantly higher than similar, or even identical items, then it must not be of value or the vendor must be of inferior quality. They want want five star products delivered with five star service and they think that just isn't possible with bargain pricing. That is my theory anyway, and not a very strong one, but I have frequently pondered the question and have not arrived at a better conclusion.

    But then again, maybe they simply ran out of stock and want to ensure that nobody wants to buy that item?

    When I see drastic differences in price for identical items on ebay, Amazon or other places, I have often wondered who in their right mind would pay such a premium for something when a much lower price is readily available? It makes no sense, but I see it happen often enough that there is obviously an incentive for sellers to price some items at ridiculous levels.

    It is also possible that there are just enough inexperienced, drunk or otherwise mentally deficient people to purchase high priced items that it is worth scaring away any price conscious buyers. Occasionally selling one item at 1000% profit makes up for a lot of lost sales at a 10% profit. And a lot less effort is required.

    Whatever the reason, you really should consider creating a special place to advertise your books and art with 'premium pricing'. Who knows, maybe there is an untapped and eager market just waiting for the opportunity to pay dearly for your creative flair and schnauzer hair?

  2. I think everyone does a mental calculation when confronted with a range of prices. If I see a book listing for $1.25, and most other offerings are $2.99 or $3.99, my first thought is, "What's wrong with the cheap one?" We all have a valuation system. BTW, schnauzers don't shed. Fortunately (?) I have three mutts to supply the fur that collectors crave. Oh, and one schnauzer.