Do you buy used books through Amazon? I do, though I’m seriously considering ending that practice. If you’re anything like me, you have absorbed the following salient facts:
- Any used book costs a minimum of $3.99 for shipping.
- Often that’s the entire cost, with the book selling for $0.01.
- If you make an order of any size at all, Amazon gives you free shipping.
Perceptive readers with business sense, and at least a little bit of avarice, have just done the mental math. Okay. So if I’m Amazon, here’s my game. I’ll set up my system to adjust my price to $3.98 above whatever the best independent bookseller deal is. And if they buy from the bookseller in spite of my undercut, since I take most of the profit anyway, I can’t lose.
The reason this offends me is that it is so scientifically designed to hose the little guy or gal, the independent bookseller in Waverly, KS who keeps a local retail store going by using the business as a net-order warehouse with retail capability. It’s not malice, just scientific greed, and I see through it. Given that it affects books and authors, thus clients, as an editor I’m perhaps more sensitive about it. I like local bookstores and help keep them around when I can. So, I reckon, do most editors and writers.
What I have taken to doing, when I do buy used books from Amazon, is easy and inexpensive. Buy it from the little guy or gal anyway, for the extra $0.02 or $0.50 or $2.00. It would be great if others did so also.