U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: Beware of Amazon.com

Re: Beware of Amazon.com

Think of Amazon as a Mall with lots of little stores. Whenever you see a seller, usually labeled Amazon marketplace or just sellers, it isn't from Amazon.

For example William Crawford's Keeper's of Light is out of print but available on Amazon from other sellers.
This is much like the Ebay buy it now feature. Any seller can name any price. It's the ultimate demonstration of caveat emptor.
Amazon is just a business - whose pricing and interactions are fairly public unlike many other businesses. Like any business there are pros and cons. 20 Years ago if you wanted an out-of-print book and didn't live in NYC or Chicago - it was very difficult to get and involved many hours on the telephone. Now you can quickly search and find most anything between Amazon, Abe, bookfinder.com and Alibris.
Amazon is a big business but so was Kodak (not so big anymore). They aren't a charity or a non-profit (although they didn't turn a profit for a long time) so they can charge what they want in a free marketplace. I use them as well as other bookstores. I find my transactions with them are straight-forward, error-free, and consistent. I also support my local bookstores but the local bookstore inventory is by necessity limited whereas Amazon can aggregate it's own, and it's marketplace sellers into a limitless selection.

Just my 3 cents worth. -thom

Judy Seigel wrote:

Some months ago, a colleague e-mailed to tell me that Amazon.com was charging $150 for, I think it was Reilly's book of Albumen & Salted Paper printing.

Absurd of course, so could I suggest some other source? I figured it was simply an overblown estimate of value of an out-of-print book you could download for free (I heard) from University of something in California. Or find for $20 on Abe Books.

But today, speaking with my friend, publisher of Midmarch Press (small press that umbrella-ed Post-Factory, among others), I learn that Amazon is charging $150 for Midmarch's most recent book, which is actually priced at $25 (deliberately low, so artists can afford it). She learned this from the book's editor, who called, distraught, because a friend of *hers* had tried to buy it and been quoted that price.

It seems that Amazon is like E-bay that Ryuji can't reach -- Cynthia (the publisher) cannot get to speak to any person at Amazon, they ignore her e-mails, and don't take phone calls, or surface mail. She told her friend the obvious, send a check for $25 to Midmarch, 300 Riverside Dr, NYC 10025 (as I've mentioned on this list before, it's always preferable to buy direct from author or small press as Amazon takes a 60% cut -- you heard me, SIXTY PERCENT, plus publisher's cost to ship to them)...

But I wonder how many more such cases exist, whether it's a mere computer glitch, or intentional. (How Amazon treats small publishers is anyway outrageous... I'd bet the farm they don't treat large publishers that badly. They get away with it because people are lazy...Don't want to think or move their butt -- just order it on Amazon.)

This particular book by the way, is especially interesting to me and one I intend to buy (and pay full price for!) myself... I've been asked so many times about "The Club" (in part no doubt because there are panels and snippets of its history in my own "Mutiny and the Main Stream" and probably also because I've heard so much about it from, for instance, Cynthia, whose late husband was also one of the founders, as I believe was Harold Rosenberg). It's a memoir (title: "Club without Walls") from the notes of the late Philip Pavia, another founder & longtime Club secretary, edited by his wife, Natalie Edgar...

Meetings were on 10th street, ending at the Cedar Tavern, also in this general neighborhood... Another spot for tourist groups to stand in front of and listen to lectures of loosely related facts, tho my real estate tax will feel it anyway. ... I don't remember but heard about the days when you could get a nice studio on 10th Street for $20 or $30/month. (You will I trust excuse the mention... No communication from these parts can go out by land sea or air without mention of real estate. It's the law.)

But lest my point get lost: beware of Amazon. com. They're out of control.

love & kisses,