The Dark Side of Ebay, Amazon & Abe Used Books
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Post Posted: Sun Aug 13, 2006 5:13 pm 
 

Beyondthebreach wrote:Have any of you ever noticed how the sellers on Abe, Amazon and Ebay (stores) have formed a kind of "unspoken" price fixing ring?  That is, when a book is semi-rare or very desirable to a small group of people, they set the price astronomically high and all the other sellers fall in line.


Right, but that only works if you actually have something THAT desirable.  Otherwise, you have a wonderful selection of frozen assets.

I would think a smart businessperson would eventually drop the price a bit, simply because turnover has to be better than sitting on unsellable product.  Honestly, I think the whole thing fits better into "wishful thinking" more than any kind of sound business model.  Very few things are as rare as people like to believe.

The concept can be countered by a patient buyer.  I do this frequently in another of my collections (a small sub-niche of comic art).  Something pops up on eBay, and I bid.  Sometimes I win, sometimes I don't, but I always see just the same three or four bidders.  So I wait for the next one, when there will be one less bidder.  Eventually I get a copy, for FAR less than the used book dealers are asking.  Granted, this won't work in every area, but I think the "Tortoise And The Hare" lesson has some merit always.  And please don't confuse this with being cheap - I pay big money when the situation warrants it.

When I occasionally stumble across something good, I just let it fly in an open auction.  I have generally been happy with my results, but I'd rather have a good price now than a great price later.  Has anyone done any studies of auction vs. fixed priced?  I would think inertia/auction frenzy would eke out a bit more money in the end, but I have no data to support that.


A weird practice I have seen recently (although confined to just one buyer so far, so it's possible he's just loony) is raising prices.  During an auction.  Yep, no one bids and he raises the opening bid.  I assume the idea is to get people to bid early and not wait for the last moment.  I don't believe that would actually get any more money in the end, and really just leads to one seeming a bit... odd.  If the original opening bids weren't already too high, it might not be so ridiculous.  The sell through percentage achieved is not very high.  Shocking, I know.

  

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Post Posted: Sun Aug 13, 2006 11:34 pm 
 

TheHistorian wrote:

When I occasionally stumble across something good, I just let it fly in an open auction.  I have generally been happy with my results, but I'd rather have a good price now than a great price later.  Has anyone done any studies of auction vs. fixed priced?  I would think inertia/auction frenzy would eke out a bit more money in the end, but I have no data to support that.
.


I'm actually very down on auctions right now, unless the item is guaranteed to garner interest from multiple bidders, or was purchased at such a low price that a minimum bid would make me profit.  In my case, almost everytime I have gotten more money off fixed priced ebay store items than when I auction them in  a week's time.  I know a lot more sellers do better with auctions, I just seem to have terrible luck vs just sitting it in my store for a few weeks at a price I want.

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Post Posted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 2:14 am 
 

I have noticed certain items with jacked-up prices, particularly on Amazon.....sometimes to a factor of 10-15 times the going rate.

I think most of it is just ignorance and inexperience.  People see something jacked up and they jack up their own price.  They have no real idea of market value because they are unaware that a market exists.

Sometimes, however, you can find items on Amazon or other places where a book seller is dumping off his stock and just wants to move it.  That works out OK.

I think people worry more about feeling or looking foolish than they do about losing out on a bit more money.  No one wants to feel taken advantage of...or feel that others are laughing at him somewhere.

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Post Posted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 1:04 pm 
 

A little perspective is in order.

With the caveat that, yes, RPG prices are often too high on the non-eBay sites, it is important to remember that eBay ~is~ an auction site.

Probably most of the members of this forum canvas eBay several times a week scouting for deals, and are educated as to identifying good vs. bad deals, and timing bids, etc. But most important for getting the best deals on eBay is Being There. You gotta be willing to spend the time, 'cause the best deals require a bit of searching and sifting. And the best deals literally come-and-go. You have to Be There constantly.

Quoting eBay prices, and stating them as "the going rate" is a bit disingenuous. The going rate is whatever buyers and sellers agree on in any given venue. Ebay -- if you understand it, and spend time there -- is one of the cheapest venues there is.

It would be kinda like an auto wholesalers forum, where members troll auto auctions, and snap up deals like a 2006 Ford Mustang for $4995. The members may even bandy about this price as "the going rate." But any Joe Schmoe who ambles into a Ford dealership, telling the salesman that $4995 for last year's Mustang is "the going rate" is gonna get laughed out the door.

  


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Post Posted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 1:18 pm 
 

red_dawn wrote:Probably most of the members of this forum canvas eBay several times a week scouting for deals...


.. a day, or even for some, an hour  :wink:


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Post Posted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 1:21 pm 
 

red_dawn wrote:A little perspective is in order.

With the caveat that, yes, RPG prices are often too high on the non-eBay sites, it is important to remember that eBay ~is~ an auction site.

Probably most of the members of this forum canvas eBay several times a week scouting for deals, and are educated as to identifying good vs. bad deals, and timing bids, etc. But most important for getting the best deals on eBay is Being There. You gotta be willing to spend the time, 'cause the best deals require a bit of searching and sifting. And the best deals literally come-and-go. You have to Be There constantly.

Quoting eBay prices, and stating them as "the going rate" is a bit disingenuous. The going rate is whatever buyers and sellers agree on in any given venue. Ebay -- if you understand it, and spend time there -- is one of the cheapest venues there is.

It would be kinda like an auto wholesalers forum, where members troll auto auctions, and snap up deals like a 2006 Ford Mustang for $4995. The members may even bandy about this price as "the going rate." But any Joe Schmoe who ambles into a Ford dealership, telling the salesman that $4995 for last year's Mustang is "the going rate" is gonna get laughed out the door.


Did someone say strawman?


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Post Posted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 2:50 pm 
 

bclarkie wrote: Did someone say strawman?


Can't dispute the message?

Attack the messenger...

:roll:

  


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Post Posted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 2:54 pm 
 

red_dawn wrote:
Can't dispute the message?

Attack the messenger...

:roll:


No, your post was bullshit, flat out.  Comparing someone who gets a happens to get lucky deal anywhere versus what happens on EBay and the real world everyday is bullshit.  Not much more response needed than that.


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Post Posted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 3:36 pm 
 

bclarkie wrote:No, your post was bullshit, flat out.  Comparing someone who gets a happens to get lucky deal anywhere versus what happens on EBay and the real world everyday is bullshit.  Not much more response needed than that.


You missed my point.

I know a guy who knows a bit about cars -- I certainly don't -- and works auto auctions, both online and traditional. Because he is involved, he regularly comes across autos for auction, and quite a few good deals, some just needing a touch of work to restore. Granted, the $4995 Mustang was pretty memorable for him, just like Acaeum members can all point to a purchase that stands out in their mind. Most he buys are "deals" without the capital "D." -- Just like most eBay winnings are nice, but not remarkable.

He probably belongs to online auto forums, though I've never asked. Whatcha wanna bet the auto forum members scorn anybody foolish enough to pay full price at a dealership? Heck, everybody knows that if you buy a car at auction, you'll save, right?

The parallel is obvious, direct, and plain-as-day.

  
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