I was sounding off yesterday about an egregious web price and later in quiet reflection tried to work out how a person who is probably otherwise a pleasant individual, not giving to chewing carpets or shouting at bus queues, could come up with £800 for a recently out of print insubstantial and slightly obscure academic book (Lady with a Mead Cup.) It dawned on me that this is how it came about.
Firstly copies start appearing at about £300 and actually sell. While they are still around a RELISTER (the villain of the piece) relists the genuine copies at £900. Slightly dim guy flown with greed and ambition gets a genuine copy and sees the £900 price and not realising that it's a relister's price and puts £800 on his. All cheaper copies sell, pragmatic relister takes his off with no copies except the slightly risky £800 one to re-sell. £800 left now on its own looking rather silly. This process happens alot and explains many a daft price on the web. One might call it a 'ghost price.' The clue is that relisters almost always go for a treble up. They list 100s of thousands of books on many sites and wait for some poor bastard to come along and order at their inflated price and then they (the relister) buy the book from a dealer who has it at a fraction of theirs. I doubt it's the kind of business that gets you a new Porsche but it might support an unglamorous SUV. As they say in France Je m'en fous.
Dean Walley. LAMONT THE LONELY MONSTER. Hallmark Editions, Kansas 1970.
Current Selling Prices
$90-$180 £50-£100 Want level 15-30 Quite High
USA kid's book for the very young, prob desired by people who grew up with it who now want to read it to their nippers. Lamont was very lonely and had knocked on 77 doors 'without finding even one friend' but his social life got alot better when a little boy took him to Monster Mansion. Ebay special (true of most US children's books.) "A Hallmark Play-Time Book With Lift-and-Look Surprises" says the blurb and the lift flaps are often in less than great shape, so a super copy with all flaps fine would probably get well into 3 figures.
VALUE? Copies around from $100 to $200 depending on condition. A half decent copy sold at ebay auction for $210 mid 2006.