RARE BOOK GUIDE - THE RUNNERS, THE RIDERS & THE ODDS

17 January 2009

Grossly Over Priced Web Operators / Rant du Jour



ENTER THE GOPWO
The overpricing of some books on internet malls is commonplace and almost to be expected. The initial reaction to those who complain is 'get over it...' However when overpricing is grossly high and when it is allied to a poor or catchall book description (or none at all) then you can enjoy some righteous indignation.

My father, who flew a bomber in WW2, used to utter a bit of old RAF slang when confronted with annoying bastards--he called them Gopwos - it stood for Grossly Over Promoted Warrant Officer -a sort of self important little man quite common in the services, possibly even a Widmerpool (but that's another story.) I have appropriated this term to describe very high chargers on the net -'Grossly Over Priced Web Operators.'

For example, recently I found a 20 page modern pamphlet called 'Fundamentals of Fiddle Teaching' by one Barbara Chipper (published Essex 1981). Someone has priced the book at £1247.90 ($1,838.28). It doesn't appear to be a mistake as they have many similar books at vertiginous prices. Until I put my copy up it is the only one on the net--this tends to leaves the seller full reign for their imagination and it is surprising that they stopped at a mere £1247. The clincher is the catchall description used by the seller for this and tens of thousands of their books:-

"No major defects: clean, complete, not falling apart; some light wear. A perfectly good reading or reference copy."
Not falling apart! --at this price one would expect Nigel Kennedy's own pristine copy with two 500 Euro notes laid in and a long letter to him from Yehudi Menuhin loosely inserted! It is hard to imagine a circumstance in which someone might pay this price--possibly if If Barbara Chipper was a preudonym used by Sylvia Plath when she wrote violin teaching manuals or possibly Jean Rhys (aka Barbara Chipper) taught the violin in old age or if Warren Buffet or George Soros or the Google twins had been taught by Ms Chipper and wanted a memento to cherish or maybe someone needed the book in a multi million dollar lawsuit to prove a point or a major rock star demanded a copy in his dressing room as part of his contract...actually there are many reasons but the odds of the book selling are, say, 10,000 to one. How to price my copy I am not sure, at £100 it still looks barmy and I may be accused of being a 'Gopwo.' Of interest in the book is a piece about the effects of taking Oxprenolol for stage fright--Ms Chipper advises against it.

The image above of the insouciant young woman standing on a bookpile, about to be arrested, comes from the Dutch blog
Occam's Razor. Many thanks. Occam's is possibly a neo-dadaist hangout --putting some Dutch words beneath the image through Babel it translated thus:-
ah, who sweet little girl that within a negligible number of year zo' n harry pot-delicate heart also without wand, however, break can and - for the fratsen of the boeboeks, there we it occur, and such as above the voordeur the gegrift stands ' everyone leest' , and as long as everyone reads that, is we glad, glad and joy-full. our actions do not go unnoticed. we do not work in ijle. not today, and also yesterday not!
Fairly typical Babel gobbledy gook or Stanley Unwin goes Dutch!
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