Sunday, July 19, 2009, Clean Up Your Listings for Pete's Sake

Well, gotta' hand out four Bad Bookseller Non-Cookies this morning.
One goes to, the other 3 go to some small-time amateur sellers, probably college kids.
I mostly blame Half for not policing its sellers, listings, and for not properly educating its sellers.
I was just checking prices on a textbook I just sold when I noticed a couple of listings that didn't seem right.
Half of the college kids that list on Half seem incapable of grading properly. I don't really blame them, as getting a hold of proper book grading takes some folks a while to learn.
Check these descriptions, under LIKE NEW for Foundations of Maternal-Newborn Nursing, with ISBN 1416001417.

Price Seller / Feedback Comments
$20.00 paden89 (43) 100% may have some highlighting, like brand new!
$34.62 lalasoutherngal25 (1) hardback,looks brand new, contains highlighed areas of importance
$35.00 mazda6boyblue (18) Book is practically brand new.
$35.00 erica3983 (18) The cover of this book is different than the picture. It has a mother holding her child.

Let's take a look at that.
Of the four cheapest listings for LIKE NEW, two have highlighting, and one apparently isn't even the right book.
My humble suggestion for Half: when amateur sellers list books, make them fill in checkboxes for various properties:

Does this book have a broken spine: (yes/no)
Has this book been wet: (yes/no)
Does this book have highlighting/underlining: (yes/no)
Is there highlighting on more or less than 50% of pages: (yes/no)
Are all pages and covers present: (yes/no)

Once this survey has been filled out, I propose that the seller be allowed to select a condition grade out of condition grades that apply to the book in question.. or be directed to list the book on Ebay.
After all, Ebay will let you list a book that you've spilled coffee on or dropped in a puddle on the way to class, while you just can't list those on Amazon, Half, or most of the other fixed-price bookselling venues.

My suggestion of a "book screening" checklist above also applies to Amazon, which has a healthy number of amateur sellers as well.
Perhaps once you get 10, 20 or some other number of feedback (as a seller, not a buyer) you should be exempted from this requirement.
Kudos to mazda6boyblue above: you seem to have graded the book properly, and you appreciate the Mazda6, which is a really nice car. The MazdaSport variant, however, gets ridiculously bad gas mileage for its weight... that's another "No Cookie" blog, though. At least it's an intermediate-sized vehicle with 272 horsepower, that counts for something.

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