The Price Is Wrought

I do understand, really. The books were your friends and companions and so naturally you’re interested in what became of them when you finally decided to part with them. But do you have to holler at me?”Fifty cents? I paid three bucks apiece for these!”

Well, yes, but when you bought them they didn’t have your name in them.

“But these don’t have my name in them! I tore that page out!”

Ah.

The people who do this sort of thing come in three varieties, the ones who think the price is too low, the ones who think the price is too high, and the ones who think the price is juuuuust right.

“Fifty dollars! That’s not worth it; you’ll never sell it!”

Well, that’s kind of my problem, not yours.

“I paid two dollars when it was NEW. Now it’s old!”

I’m glad you pointed that out yourself. See, it’s a first edition and it’s forty years old now and that makes it….

“You can buy the latest paperback on sale for three dollars!”

Well, this is the first printing in hardcover and….

“Oh, nonsense! It’s the exact same text!”

So is a photocopy, friend. And THAT would run you about seventy bucks.

It isn’t that I mind constructive criticism. It’s just that I get so little of it. Most of the pricing advice I get comes from people who start with the assumption that if I had the experience and the know-how to price books, I’d be doing it the way they just thought of this very minute.

“That’s a great price for that. That’s exactly what I paid.”

I’m glad to hear it.

“I thought it was a really good book, and I’m glad you’re offering it at a fair price so somebody else can read it.”

Well, that’s certainly the business we’re in. We’re glad you feel that way.

“So why hasn’t somebody bought it yet? Maybe you’re displaying it wrong.”

It’s the bad lighting, friend. More people would notice it if you took it and held it over your head as far as you can reach…and then let it drop. 

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