books: reselling to resellers

A couple of interesting interactions I've had in the last week.

First, I listed a clean later printing of the hardcover edition of David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest for fifteen bucks.  Shortly thereafter I received the Amazon version of those people who call the shop looking to get a price for a book they have without wanting you to know they have it- "Hi, could you tell me what the number line of this book looks like, like is it '1234985' or how does it run?"

Or to paraphrase, "hey, is this a 1st edition?"

Since a clean 1st is easily a $200 book, it's a polite way of asking "are you an idiot, and if you are can I take advantage of you?"

I replied "It is a clean later printing, not a 1st edition."

But you know what, I'll bet that trick works.
So many dummies who know nothing about books are listing so much stuff based on nothing but what their bar code scanner tells them, it wouldn't surprise me if my correspondent had managed to scare up some valuable 1st editions with their scheme.

And I've just concluded an interesting back and forth with a fellow over a CD I had listed.

I'm a mere dabbler in audiovisual stuff, but when you're out looking for books you're going to come across other things too, and in this age of the smartphone you'd be a fool to pass up whatever low-hanging fruit you ran across in your travels.   When it comes to CDs & DVDs I'm exactly the kind of bar code monkey I make fun of in the realm of books.  I have a vague idea of what's worth looking up, and I can grade condition accurately, and with those two minor skills I'm able to find some good stuff.

Last night I got a query about the condition of a CD- was it *really* Fine?  No scratches at all?  And what about the inserts?

I double checked, and yep the disc was super clean (I usually don't bother if they're not) and the inserts were great, just the case was scuffed up.

The guy writes back thanking me for checking and decrying the woeful state of Amazon re-seller condition grading and mentions he's got an Ebay business.

So clearly what's going on here is he's buying CDs from various places, replacing the jewel case with a new one, probably running it through a shrink-wrap machine & then selling them as "New- Sealed".

Which is another thing that I'm sure works.
It's not my scene, but if he wants to invest a few cents and a couple of minutes 'upgrading' my $3 CD to a $9-10 CD, more power to him.

I picked it up for a quarter, so I'm happy with my profit.

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