Sunday, June 5, 2011

Amazon Seller Doesn’t Check ISBNs Properly, Sends Wrong Book

On this entry, we discuss sending the right book.
I ordered a book with ISBN 0534968880. This is the Amazon entry for this book:
Notice that on Amazon, the book I wanted goes for $12.17. Once a couple of copies sell, actually, it should be worth $22.00.
I received a book with a couple of ISBNs on it. On both the back cover and copyright page, the ISBN was 0534520065.
That book is worth 1 penny on Amazon.
Some sellers don’t seem to know how to figure out which book they’re holding. These sellers frequently check by looking up the title and author on Amazon’s search, rather than checking the ISBN.
Had the seller checked the ISBN on the book’s copyright page, they would have gotten things right.

One other defect should be noted.

This book arrived missing the auxillary materials.  To wit, a CD should be included with the book. On Amazon, in fact, that CD is MANDATORY; you can’t sell a book on Amazon missing CD if the book was included in the book itself. In some cases, you can wind up losing the book AND not getting paid for it either. 
This should be distinguished with books that originally came in a set that had an ISBN separate from the book’s ISBN. In some cases like that, you’ll buy a book, study guide, and DVD. All 3 items would be shrink wrapped from the factory, and then an ISBN and bar code attached that referred to the bundle. In those cases, you may be able to break the set and sell the book without the auxillary materials, so long as it has its own Amazon catalog page and its own ISBN.
In cases where the book is missing the CD, some sellers choose to disclaim the absence of the CD and grade the book acceptable.
While this is a rules violation, it doesn’t strike me as unfair play, although it has sometimes caused problems of wide-spread note in the past.
No such disclaimer was on their listing, as evidenced by this packing slip:

Which reads thusly for the description:
Comments: Some highlighting and notes. Shelf weaar and sticker on spine.
My official suggestion to anyone who wants to get their money back out of a book they’ve purchased missing the CD is to sell it on Ebay, properly disclaimed. If you want to be very cautious, mention the missing CD in all-caps, red, and a larger font.
To summarize:
- Always use the ISBN from the copyright page. No other will do.
- If your book is missing the CD, don't sell it on Amazon.

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