Sunday, January 31, 2010

The oddities of Amazon . . .

I admit there are a lot of things to love about Amazon. It's a great way to find all of those older books that your local book store doesn't carry. But I'm not a big fan of all the used & new books from other sellers that pop up any time you search for an author's books. If you buy one of the 53 used copies that show up on the book's release day, the author doesn't get any royalties from the sale. Plus I'm nearly positive that those copies that appear on the release day are review copies that were sent to reviewers for free. It just seems wrong for reviewers to then turn around and make a buck at the author's expense.

But I didn't mean to blog about that.

Here is the weird thing about those sale prices for books that are out of print. They can get bizarrely expensive. Someone just sent me a link to one of my out of print books, Time Riders.

Now, the problem with this book is that it had no editing done to it. In fact, the publisher inserted mistakes into the text. I never would have let Cedar Fort print the book if I had known this was going to happen, because it is really, really embarrassing. Not only are words missing and occasionally it's unclear who is speaking, but during the story, the date changes by decades. At the climax the heroine's hands are tied behind her back, then she's grasping at her captor's arms, then her hands are mysteriously tied behind her back again.

Yeah, it would have been nice if an editor caught that.

I was glad when the book went out of print.

But you can buy a used copy of the book on Amazon for a mere 900.00. In fact, you can buy two for that price. The new ones are a bargain at only 230.00.

http://www.amazon.com/Time-Riders-Sierra-St-James/dp/1555177646

I wish there was a way I could put a note next to those figures. For 900.00 I would personally read any interested buyer a version without the mistakes.

11 comments:

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Interesting. I had no idea!

Aubrey (AKA Stacey) said...

Wow. Um...yeah. Just wow!

And yes, I agree, as a reviewer I can't imagine selling my books that say "Not for Sale, Advanced Reader's Copy". Seems very unethical to me too!

Janette Rallison said...

I'm glad you're an ethical reviewer, Stacey--you get to stay on my ARC list!

Sarah M Eden said...

A reader told me they saw a copy of one of my out of print books for $400. I told her (and anyone else who would listen) that my books aren't worth $400. Ever. I could hand-write another copy of that book for them and charge less than $400. Sheesh!!

Melissa said...

I don't sell ARCs, whether or not they have the sticker that says that's what they are. I will donate them to D.I. if I don't want to keep them for myself.

On the other hand, if I thought I could actually get $900 for my copy of Time Riders...no, not even then, I guess. I personally wouldn't pay $900 for anything that wasn't bound in solid gold and signed by Jane Austen, so how could I in good conscience sell anything else at that price?

Nice to know the problems in the book weren't your fault. I'll make sure anyone who wants to borrow it knows The Truth. :)

tamir said...

i think its kind of weird also that places like Half Price Books will accept books that say "not for sale" or something to that effect on the cover. i mean, is that even legal? lol.

Elise said...

Now I know how I'm paying for college next semester... :)

Janette Rallison said...

Personally I think those sellers must be waaaay optomistic to think that anyone would ever pay that sort of price for your average (let alone poorly edited) out of print book.

I guess the lesson is: if you can't find an out of print book, email the author. They probably have copies in their closet they can sell to you for a lot cheaper than the Amazon asking price.

Kimberly said...

I can't imagine selling an ARC. I get way too much of a kick out of showing them off and pretending I'm important because I have them...

chelly said...

Yeah, I agree with you Janette. I don't like that about my books too. How so many people are selling them on Amazon and I wonder where they got them because I never got royalties for them. Being a writer is a tough business! :)

Tressa said...

My pet peeve with out-of-print books with Amazon/Barnes and Noble is when you order a specific edition and they send you an entirely different book or a different version (I collect the N.C. Wyeth illustrated versions of some very good classic books). At least Amazon is great with returns (they have the best customer service)! I don't know why you'd pay that much for a book. It would be better to borrow one (my mom actually has Time Riders and one of my favorites (the beginning is so funny!!!): Trial of the Heart.