What's Going on with the Price of 'Lost Lives' by McKittrick et al? Part Deux
You'll remember in our first blog post before the holidays, we promised you there was a part two coming. It promised to reveal "who is selling copies of the book, how they have arrived at that pricing, and why. I’ll also share will you who might buy hyper price inflated used books, and why."
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Let's look at who is offering copies of overvalued Out of Print (OOP) and Collectible (mostly signed and First Edition) books for sale.
Pretty much everyone and anyone.
Serial optimists like Daily Deals on Amazon Marketplace are frequently the highest price for an OOP book on Amazon Marketplace. Not so on this occasion though, and the market has cooled somewhat since the blog post, with copies being withdrawn from Amazon Marketplace and other book selling sites. I'll not be so bold to suggest that this was due to the issues raised in the original blog post, but before the blog post the market was out of control for this book.
A lot of times the outrageous pricing is arrived at by the automatic tracking software that large used book businesses use. The overvaluing happens when there is a very limited supply of the books,the top price is an outrageously high one, and the tracking software that knows nothing about books and everything about comparative analysis tracks the 'optimistic' highest price. It's a bit like that that time I chased after a guy in the 400m at Shore Road Playing Fields and needed an iron lung at the 250m mark. Only the computer sticks with the maniac until a human intervenes.
The copy the optimist has for sale is theirs to ask whatever they wish for it. You'd have to ask them why they have placed that value on the book, and I would encourage you to do that with every used item transaction, including with ourselves. The owner of the item is not doing anything illegal asking whatever amount they want for the book, as it's not worth anything of itself. To understand this, lets look at this nonsensical sketch...
*in any store that sells expensive things*
Genius - That'll be £600 please.
Customer - *Reaches into messenger bag and pulls out payment*. "Do you take 'Lost Lives' by McKittrick, it's worth £600?
Genius - That'll do nicely sir...
The moral of the story here is that of itself, any OOP or collectible book offered for sale at any price IS ACTUALLY WORTHLESS. If you cant lodge it in a bank, it doesn't have any value of itself. It's worth what you get for it - otherwise, its an expensive door stopper or table leg propper-upper.
Who would pay a super inflated price for a book? This is informed speculation, but speculation nonetheless.
A rich PhD student on a deadline? A television production company fact checking? Someone wrongly believing that the book is valuable and thinking it's an investment? A library benefactor thinking that they are donating a valuable and sought after book to their alma mater. Someone on their last day of work looking to hurt their employer? Who knows? I'd love to hear some of your suggestions..
Having cooled the market first time round, we are potentially going to excite the market again with the news that the publishers were bought over by Random House, who have no plans to reprint the title. Don't believe us? This..
*Closes Door on Mayhem*