As you may or may not know, BlackBerry Development Fundamentals was not actually my first book. If you’re reading this from my Amazon Author page, then it’s easy to see that.
I was a Soccer (Football for those who know better) Official for about half of my life and on the day I retired and I left my last Referee meeting (it ended up being my next to last meeting, but that’s another story I’ll probably not share) I decided to write a book for brand new Soccer referees. I’d been a Referee Instructor, worked Professional matches (both Indoor and Outdoor) and travelled all across the US working games so I thought I had a lot of good insights to share.
I know of many people who ‘decide’ to write a book but never do, but in this case, I promised myself that I’d actually write the book – and I did! I discussed it with my wife, spent some nights and a week of vacation and finished it. It actually took longer to lay it out in Adobe Framemaker and go through many review cycles than it did to write it.
Anyway, I wrote it and it’s published - it's called What Now?: The Essential Guide for New Soccer Referees. It’s available on amazon.com and not many people have actually purchased it (although it is a great book if I do say myself). It’s targeted at brand new Soccer Referees – the ones who walk out of their first Referee clinic with glazed eyes and ask themselves ‘What now?’ The clinics are so chock full of information and there’s so much to know, that new referees leave and just don’t know what to do next. The book specifically covers that – starting the minute the clinic ends and taking you through to the beginning of your second game. I thought it was a pretty cool idea and many people who have read it have agreed.
Anyway, the reason I’m writing about the book here is because of this sort of scam going on at amazon.com that I just can’t figure out. The book’s on sale on amazon.com through a subsidiary called Book Surge. It’s publish on demand, so when you place an order for the book, they dig up the source file, print and bind a copy of the book, stuff it in an envelope (with an amazon.com label of course) and plunk it in the mail. Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it?
So here’s where the scam comes in – and I have to be honest and say that I really don’t understand it. Here it goes…
You can buy the book brand new and in perfect shape (Perfect Bound even – it’s an industry term) for $14.95US. Seems pretty straight forward. Now, when you go to my book’s page here, you’ll see that there are vendors selling both new and used copies of the book. Take a look:
Now, what I don’t understand is why there are vendors out there selling the book for twice and even almost 3 times the standard price of the book? If you can get the book for $14.95, why would you buy it at $35.00 or more? It just doesn’t make sense. Now, if I was famous (I’m not) or if it was a special copy of the book (signed for example, which I know they aren’t – I know I haven’t signed any), it could be worth more money, but not what these places are charging.
Why would there ever be a market for the book at those prices? It’s not really selling at $14.95, why would ANYONE think it would sell at an even higher price?
The reason I called this a scam is because it just seems like one. There has to be some angle – nobody would actually buy one of the books, so the vendors must be doing it so it looks to buyers that they have a large inventory. There’s clearly something weird going on though and I’m pretty sure that Amazon should do something about it. It’s not fair to consumers to allow products to be offered at such a ridiculous price.
Do you think the vendor is just going to buy a copy of the book for $14.95 then turn around and send it to the sucker who paid them double list price? I don’t see it happening. Do you think they actually have a used copy of the book? I did send about 60 out to every US State Director of Referee Instruction (and never heard back from any of them), it’s possible that one of more of them sold it or donated it to a reseller – but why a minimum of twice list price? That’s still not making sense – are people really that stupid? “hey, look here – I can get a USED copy for only twice what a new one would cost!”
I sent one of the vendors an inquiry – asking “Why do you think that people will pay more than double the list price for a used copy of my book? It doesn't make sense.” I’ll let you know what I hear back although I doubt I’ll hear anything. In the mean time, if you’re going to buy my book, please buy a new one, it will cost you a whole lot less money. If you want a signed copy, please let me know and I’ll sign it and mail it to you for list price plus shipping (still less than these vendors are selling them for). Hopefully Amazon will see this and do some research – it shouldn’t be allowed to do this.