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

RE: Beware Alibris was Beware of Amazon.com

Alibris lies when it comes to shipping time.  I ordered something in late
November for Xmas and, because I paid for "priority shipping", they promised
two week shipping time.  I received the book around Jan 15th.  Needless to
say I was a bit embarrassed regarding the Xmas gift.  I downloaded a jpeg of
the cover, printed it, taped it to the cover of my copy of Jansen's Art
History, wrapped it, put it under the tree, and gave a full explanation on
Xmas morning.  They DO access rare books at reasonable prices...as long as
you have a LONG time to wait for shipping.

-----Original Message-----
From: Thom Mitchell [mailto:tjmitch@ix.netcom.com] 
Sent: Friday, September 07, 2007 3:33 PM
To: alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca
Subject: 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,
> Judy