We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Bird Dog posted a link to an interesting article about Amazon.com yesterday, and while it was a fun story, I thought the first paragraph deserved a response. So I'm reposting this puppy.
The article begins:
What do you usually expect to pay for a book on Amazon? Perhaps $7-$10, if you're scouting for a paperback? Around $20 or so if you're looking to score a hardcover?
Well, not exactly.
Like I suppose many people, I thought Amazon.com only sold new things. Not so!
I became a big fan of Robert B. Parker and his 'Spencer' detective novels. I had about ten of them out of the thirty or so that are out there. Having a few bucks on hand, I decided to blow the wad and complete my collection. I headed over to Amazon.com, dug up the first book I wanted, then noticed an odd "used" link down near the bottom of the ad. I clicked on it and discovered a whole different side to Amazon.com.
Want to guess how much these used books were going for? Five bucks? Two bucks? One?
Nope. Not even close. Gee, you're not very good at this 'guessing' stuff, are you?
How about a penny?
The deal is, these are all third-party used book merchants, and they charge $3.95 per book for shipping, so apparently they'd rather make a buck off the shipping — plus one penny — rather than just let the thing sit there rotting on the shelf. The ol' better-something-than-nothing approach.
It's to note that only the fairly old books go for a penny. Slightly newer ones actually cost a whole quarter or more, so be prepared to spend some big, big money.
I ordered 20 books. Granted, I paid $79 in shipping, but compare that to spending two days traveling to every used book store in the tri-county area and paying three to five bucks apiece for them. Nor, most likely, would I have been able to nail down all 20 books missing from my collection.
For what it's worth, one book didn't show up. I emailed the vendor, nothing back. Emailed again, nothing back. I emailed Amazon, gave them the invoice number, told them what I'd done, and my credit card account was reimbursed within the day. Ordered the book from a different vendor and out it came.
It's to note that there are also 'used' links for things like DVD movies, audio CDs, and a bunch of other things. I'm not so sure I'd go for a used rectal thermometer, but most used items are probably fine, and the 3rd-party items fall into little sub-categories such as "Like New", "Very Good", "Acceptable", "Seriously Trashed", etc, along with a brief description, so you'll have a clue as to what you're getting.
Doc - I'd say I've saved over a thousand bucks since this post first came out. At the time, just like you, I only thought they sold new stuff and just never noticed that "used" link before. Total gold mine.
Oh, and add another five hundred bucks saved in printer ink. :-)
Wow, nice tip! I just ordered four ink cartridges for my H-P for $13.95 w/free shipping. Who'da thunk it? I knew about the used books, but "used" ink cartridges? That sounds like somebody's printer broke and they decided to partially regroup their loss by selling the half-empty cartridges. This little discovery definitely made my day.
I don't quite remember (this was five years ago), but "quite a few" as I recall. What I remember is a whole shitload of small boxes arriving over the next week. As for a discount, you're right (in the sense that they'd use the same size box for one book or three), but the hitch there is the Amazon software being smart enough to figure it out, and with every merchant offering a different discount, it'd be a programming nightmare.
I have filled my bookshelves with books from a very good local used book store which, after a given book doesn't sell, will sell the book for $1. Hardbound, even- such as McCullough's biographies of Truman and John Adams, or the Gulag Archipelago. I have also gotten some paperbacks for a quarter. But you have to keep looking, as the book you want may not necessarily appear on the dollar shelves for months- or years.
People who do not live in metropolitan areas would not have such ready access to a good used book store.
When I want a book NOW and am not willing to wait for it to appear on the dollar shelves- if it ever will- Amazon's $4 shipping + a penny or a buck is a good alternative.
I use abebooks.com for all my used book needs. It is a clearinghouse for used book stores across the country and typically you can get books for a dollar and shipping is $2.95. If you buy from the same seller they will combine shipping as well. They also have rare books, autographed copies, text books for homeschooling, etc. Love them! But am glad to find out about the Amazon as I get giftcards at Christmas for Amazon.
And in the intervening years most of those used book stores have closed. The strip centers are emptied out. Tumble weeds blow through the parking lots and full-time employment continues to plunge. The silver lining however is that UPS and FEDEX drivers are doing OK. The rest go on the government dole for food stamps and "disability" checks until they can get to social security. Good times in America.
Most used book stores also sell on Amazon. I use it to sell used books to support my addiction (more books) but never sell for a penny because you're losing money then plus the actual packing, shipping etc. There are also expensive used books on amazon for the hard to find, out of print stuff.