How was this calculated?
July 11, 2011 4:01 PM   Subscribe

Why is James Herbert's The City going for $1,133.45 new on Amazon, but only $8.50 used?

I remember reading on Mefi somewhere about selling bots getting into an outbidding war where it jacked up the price of an item over and over again. Is that what's going on here? Or is this thing that hard to find in a new edition?

Bonus points if you can tell me if this series is any good.
posted by Think_Long to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You probably read something like this? The comments mention internationalbooks as one of the sellers that do this.
posted by segfault at 4:09 PM on July 11, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Your price is lifting mine higher: the thread about a $23,698,655.93 book about flies. (On preview: as segfault linked.)
posted by filthy light thief at 4:13 PM on July 11, 2011

Best answer: As for the content of The City, readers say the story is a bit thin and not unique, but the artwork really carries it up from mundane into splendid.

And the particular seller of the $1,133.45 book is internationalbooks. Compare to the £350.00 new item and the £249.99 signed edition (one of 4 collectible-quality books). Odd indeed.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:21 PM on July 11, 2011

Response by poster: huh, well I guess it is that thing that I half remembered. Thanks friends -- I didn't realize that this was relatively common on the amazon marketplace.
posted by Think_Long at 4:37 PM on July 11, 2011

The NYT also had a good piece on this phenomenon a few years ago.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 8:06 PM on July 11, 2011

There are multiple dropshippers like Internationalbooks that post insane prices, then if they get a sucker buyer, they either just cancel if they can't find a copy, or they have someone's reasonably priced copy sent and pocket the difference.

Irritatingly, they also do shady things on the other end of the scale and majorly underprice some books and ruin a legitimately high price, at least temporarily.

Obviously, looking at their feedback numbers, these tactics work for them--keep in mind that somewhere between 10-15% of buyers leave feedback, so they are moving a lot of merch. The feedback score is horrible, though. Buying from anyone with less than about a 98% feedback is asking for trouble.
posted by thebrokedown at 9:41 PM on July 11, 2011

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