Comments on: Amazon arbitrage of the day http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/amazon-arbitrage-of-the-day/ A slice of lime in the soda Sun, 26 Oct 2014 19:05:02 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.5 By: Mark Beauchamp http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/amazon-arbitrage-of-the-day/comment-page-1/#comment-5893 Mon, 24 Aug 2009 16:27:19 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/amazon-arbitrage-of-the-day/#comment-5893 @ Rather Not Say

You said:

“But that wasn’t the comparison I made; I said that *Amazon* has a better inventory system than either drop-shipping or non-dropshipping booksellers. Futhermore, there’s guaranteed lag in using their API. My point was simple: when you buy a used book on Amazon, much of your discount is your risk of not getting the book, whether it’s in stock at the used bookseller’s or not.

By “podunk” I just mean relatively small; probably a bad choice of words. There’s no contradiction between being podunk and being competitive

And where did I disparage anybody? I don’t have anything against any booksellers.”

And before, you wrote: “I suggest that if you *must* have the book, you should buy it new.”

Here’s the disparagement (and I’m not claiming intent on your part, btw) – my claim is that a good booksellers inventory is just as reliable as amazon.com’s- that’s the assumption and the foundation of 3rd party selling on amazon.com.

And, ironically, it’s an assumption that’s built into the practice of drop-shipping.

Cheers.

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By: Anon http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/amazon-arbitrage-of-the-day/comment-page-1/#comment-5830 Sat, 22 Aug 2009 08:29:41 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/amazon-arbitrage-of-the-day/#comment-5830 Amazon no longer requires that a 3rd party seller have a book in stock in order to list it for sale. That’s why there is a multitude of book re-listers that use software to “scrape” the internet for books to sell as their own including Woodys, quality7, internationalbooks, elizabethgates, etc. I recently noticed one re-lister selling books that had copied word for word our descriptions including the unusual typo in my listing. When I emailed them they stated “Many booksellers are doing this and it is allowed.” I doubt the illegality of selling another person’s property online because it would be so difficult to prove — but it’s a blight on Amazon to continue to permit such shenanigans and it hurts everyone – buyers and ethical book sellers.

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By: Rather Not Say http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/amazon-arbitrage-of-the-day/comment-page-1/#comment-5806 Fri, 21 Aug 2009 18:39:51 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/amazon-arbitrage-of-the-day/#comment-5806 @Mark

I have no problem with your b&m stores selling books online and being nice about it. However, many companies sell only online, and must stay alive. And for them, the choice is: dropship and grow, or don’t and stagnate.

As for Amazon’s part in the issue, I didn’t argue that they don’t see *any* negatives from dropshipping, just that the positives outweigh those and that their revealed preference is to allow dropshipping.

> a bookseller like this has an inventory system that is assuredly better than any drop shippers.

But that wasn’t the comparison I made; I said that *Amazon* has a better inventory system than either drop-shipping or non-dropshipping booksellers. Futhermore, there’s guaranteed lag in using their API. My point was simple: when you buy a used book on Amazon, much of your discount is your risk of not getting the book, whether it’s in stock at the used bookseller’s or not.

By “podunk” I just mean relatively small; probably a bad choice of words. There’s no contradiction between being podunk and being competitive

And where did I disparage anybody? I don’t have anything against any booksellers.

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By: Mark Beauchamp http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/amazon-arbitrage-of-the-day/comment-page-1/#comment-5785 Fri, 21 Aug 2009 15:46:52 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/amazon-arbitrage-of-the-day/#comment-5785 @Rather Not Say

“Given the crazy competitiveness of the Amazon book market, I assert that it’s game-theoretically impossible for the booksellers to *not* drop-ship.”

Nonsense. Just don’t list things you don’t actually have- that makes it easy to not drop-ship.

You are saying that “crazy competitiveness” is forcing dealers to do something that amazon prohibits. And I know, I know, you say amazon winks at successful dropshippers because they get 15% of the deal; but amazon has to refund that % if the drop shipper can’t find the book, AND they lose some amount of good will and trust. That kind of loss isn’t immidiately tangible, but it’s a big deal to a big company like amazon.

“Amazon’s inventory system is assuredly better and updated faster than that of the podunk used bookseller you bought it from, even if they have it in stock, and so you’re still taking a chance.”

You’ve sketched a completely distorted picture of the world of used book sellers in which there are only sharks and podunk incompetents, and nuts to amazon’s used book customers.

I’ve known a lot of high quality booksellers, some with 500 book online and other with 50,000- most are keeping their brick and mortars open by having an online presence. They only list what they have in stock, they carefully assess and describe each individual book, personally send an email thanking the person for their order, wrap the book themselves and haul the book down to the post office themselves. And a bookseller like this has an inventory system that is assuredly better than any drop shippers. And, they have way better ratings from their customers.

I said before that it wouldn’t bother me one bit to see someone profit by connecting a paying customer with a product – but I have to question any argument that involves the disparagement of honest, hardworking booksellers and amazon.com itself in order to justify something that’s breaking amazon’s own rules.

Cheers.

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By: Ken Burgin http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/amazon-arbitrage-of-the-day/comment-page-1/#comment-5773 Fri, 21 Aug 2009 06:27:09 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/amazon-arbitrage-of-the-day/#comment-5773 Good tip – just ordered it for 1 penny from UK Amazon (plus £7 postage to Australia). Agree on the great value of DVDs from UK Amazon, and the variety…

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By: Rather Not Say http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/amazon-arbitrage-of-the-day/comment-page-1/#comment-5771 Fri, 21 Aug 2009 04:19:38 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/amazon-arbitrage-of-the-day/#comment-5771 @axg

“It’s pretty clear to me that I just wrote them an option whereby they got 10 days to try and find a profitable source.”

Given the crazy competitiveness of the Amazon book market, I assert that it’s game-theoretically impossible for the booksellers to *not* drop-ship. In exchange, you get really low prices and a vast selection of used books, but the possibility of no book.

I suggest that if you *must* have the book, you should buy it new. Amazon’s inventory system is assuredly better and updated faster than that of the podunk used bookseller you bought it from, even if they have it in stock, and so you’re still taking a chance.

The discount you get on used books comes from the chance that you’ll get no, a drop-shipped, or a damaged book.

@Mark

Amazon “prohibits” drop-selling because it looks good to do so and people get angry about it.

Meanwhile, they have every incentive to allow it to occur, as it increases the range of used books they offer, lowers their prices, *and* makes Amazon itself seem relatively more reliable than the used booksellers. They get a cut when it works, and can shrug their shoulders and say “sorry, not our fault” when it doesn’t.

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By: Mike http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/amazon-arbitrage-of-the-day/comment-page-1/#comment-5768 Fri, 21 Aug 2009 03:18:18 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/amazon-arbitrage-of-the-day/#comment-5768 This is only slightly related, but I frequently get movies and TV series from Amazon UK – and get them much earlier than I can here for better prices. Love the Brit TV show Shameless, but only series one has been released stateside. Amazon UK has series 1-5 for $45, whereas I’d be stuck waiting and probably paying $30/season. Read a WaPo review of book about the Baader-Meinhof complex and saw that a movie had been made out of it. Thought the American theatrical release was still months away and the book at hardcover prices, Amazon UK was offering a discounted package deal on a paperback version of the book and the DVD for $15.

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By: axg http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/amazon-arbitrage-of-the-day/comment-page-1/#comment-5755 Thu, 20 Aug 2009 21:18:13 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/amazon-arbitrage-of-the-day/#comment-5755 I “purchased” a book (not from amazon) recently where:
– The day after purchase I was told the book had shipped, but would take up to ten days to reach me.
– Ten days later, I got told the book was not in stock and they cancelled my order.
It’s pretty clear to me that I just wrote them an option whereby they got 10 days to try and find a profitable source. So even if it can sometimes be irrelevant to the consumer whether something is drop shipped, it can also enable unethical business practices like the one I encountered. Bottom line: as a consumer, I applaud Amazon’s policy.

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By: Mark Beauchamp http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/amazon-arbitrage-of-the-day/comment-page-1/#comment-5752 Thu, 20 Aug 2009 20:41:04 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/amazon-arbitrage-of-the-day/#comment-5752 @ Rather Not Say

It’s been a long time since I talked books… back in the day, I used addall.com – I like the allbookstores features though.

I see your point- no hurt to the customer, no foul; but (from what I recall) amazon.com has requirements that a dealer has the book physically in stock- their requirements, not mine. It (personally) wouldn’t bother me one bit to see someone profit by connecting a paying customer with a product, but it’s obvious that amazon sees it as a risk.

The reason most people (read: other dealers) get ticked is don’t like being the middle-men and taking only part of the final cut.

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By: Rather Not Say http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/amazon-arbitrage-of-the-day/comment-page-1/#comment-5748 Thu, 20 Aug 2009 20:25:07 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/20/amazon-arbitrage-of-the-day/#comment-5748 @Mark

The key for a consumer to get the best price is simply to use a book price comparison tool such as this one: http://www.allbookstores.com/book/compar e/1873429657 .

If you’re buying a used book on Amazon instead of the amazon copy, you should assume it will be drop shipped and also that it doesn’t much matter; our average drop ship book quality was just as good as the used books we had in our warehouse. I’ve never understood why people get so up in arms about drop shipping, as long as the company has decent customer service.

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