This is topic Question for the Savvy (mayfly) in forum Books, Films, Food and Culture at Hatrack River Forum.

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Posted by aiua (Member # 7825) on :
I'm looking for a spanish textbook.
New it's $70 something, but I've found it for less than two dollars in more than a couple spots. I'd love to pay $2, but that price doesn't seem possible. How can they make ends meet, let alone profit from this?
Is there some hidden fee?

I've never used Amazon before and haven't much of an idea as to how it works- should I buy this book?
Posted by sarcare (Member # 8736) on :
Could be they are not telling the truth about the quality or the edition. Plus I think they make a bit in shipping and handling. Some of my students get good deals on used books only to discover that it isn't the right book.

This quarter my students get the reader free if they buy the book new, but they all want to find good deals on the book used. But figure in the cost of the reader and they are paying more usually for used.
Posted by ambyr (Member # 7616) on :
Amazon doesn't sell the used books; individual users do. It's like e-bay (well, more like

As a publisher, I say, no! Buy new!

As a book reader, I say, unless highlighting or creased corners particularly annoy you, buy as cheap as you possibly can.
Posted by sarcare (Member # 8736) on :
Sorry, that is what I thought she meant, Amazon has a place listing the cheapest prices people are trying to sell it.

If it is Amazon selling it that inexpensive, then it may have been remaindered. That is dumped on the market to sell at whatever price it can get, as a way to get rid of old copies before a new edition comes out, as an alternative to pulping.

(We learned about remaindering in a class last quarter, when my professor gave a long winded description of his views on the publishing world.)
Posted by GaalDornick (Member # 8880) on :
If it's $2 and cheap shipping, I think it'd be worth a try. What's the worse that can happen? You lose a little money. The best? You got an incredible deal on a textbook.
Posted by Ela (Member # 1365) on :
I bought the cheapest copy available of a book I wanted from Amazon recently. It was a private seller who listed at Amazon. The shipping was almost as much as the book, but it was still much cheaper than Amazon's price for a new book, and the book is in "like new" condition. So I was satisfied.

My husband ordered some used textbooks for my son that way, earlier this year, and was also satisfied with the purchases.

I can't guarantee that every purchase is going to be that good, but all our experiences, so far, have been positive.
Posted by sarcare (Member # 8736) on :
Of course, you could also fall behind in your class when you get the wrong book and have to order another copy. I had a student this very day tell me she wouldn't have her book for class because it was still in the mail.
Posted by Nethy (Member # 6462) on :
Ohhh, something I know about. (I work for people who sell books online.)

If the seller is selling the book for $2, they did not pay $70. It could have been bought at a library sale or picked up from the lost and found of a college dorm. Trust me--they're still making money. You'd be surprised at how many people don't realize the worth of the books they leave around.

Make sure, though, that the seller you're buying from has a good rating. If the rating is good, the book is well-described, and priced right--then, yeah, definitely go for it.
Posted by Black Mage (Member # 5800) on :
Actually, it's this very reason I buy almost everything I read used: the fact it may be highlighted and written in.

For instance: in eighth grade, I bought a copy of Hamlet that was pretty ancient for my own use (not school reading). Fifty cents in a little thrift store. The margins were almost black with writing. Whoever had been the previous owner of the book had scribbled all their thoughts on the text in the corners, and rather than being distracting, it was terribly interesting. I found myself adding notes of my own arguing with his/her interpretation. I loved it.


In Half-Blood Prince, when Harry gets the Prince's potions textbook, I found myself nodding and grinning that he was finally discovering an experience I treasured.

Actually, I think I did that when he got a hold of Riddle's diary, too. Huh.
Posted by sarcare (Member # 8736) on :
Of course, sometimes the answers are wrong--I had a German textbook, whose previous owner who did not get many of the answers right. I learned not to trust the writing in the book.

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