Amazon’s $23,698,655.93 Textbook About Flies

The Making Of A FlyNew copies are still going for around a grand. Interesting story: Michael Eisen writes on it is NOT Junk:

A few weeks ago a postdoc in my lab logged on to Amazon to buy the lab an extra copy of Peter Lawrence’s The Making of a Fly — a classic work in developmental biology that we – and most other Drosophila developmental biologists — consult regularly. The book, published in 1992, is out of print. But Amazon listed 17 copies for sale: 15 used from $35.54, and 2 new from $1,730,045.91 (+$3.99 shipping).

I sent a screen capture to the author — who was appropriate amused and intrigued. But I doubt even he would argue the book is worth THAT much.

At first I thought it was a joke — a graduate student with too much time on their hands. But there were TWO new copies for sale, each be offered for well over a million dollars. And the two sellers seemed not only legit, but fairly big time (over 8,000 and 125,000 ratings in the last year respectively). The prices looked random — suggesting they were set by a computer. But how did they get so out of whack?

Read More: it is NOT Junk

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  • Haystack

    The author’s conclusion is probably correct–these sellers don’t actually have the book. It’s a fairly common practice on Amazon for certain sellers to list books at exorbitant prices, then go out and purchase cheaper copies when they receive an order, drop-shipping the item to the customer. If they can’t find a copy, they just cancel the order. It’s never worthwhile to deal with a company like this — just do what they do and search abebooks or addall.com for any available copies.

    • Tiradixm
      • Haystack

        No, they are doing exactly what I said. That is why they both have software configured to set their prices higher than everyone else. The fact that they’re both using the same software is what allowed the prices to go into the millions, but the object was the same — to sell people a book they don’t have.

  • Haystack

    The author’s conclusion is probably correct–these sellers don’t actually have the book. It’s a fairly common practice on Amazon for certain sellers to list books at exorbitant prices, then go out and purchase cheaper copies when they receive an order, drop-shipping the item to the customer. If they can’t find a copy, they just cancel the order. It’s never worthwhile to deal with a company like this — just do what they do and search abebooks or addall.com for any available copies.

  • Tiradixm
  • Haystack

    No, they are doing exactly what I said. That is why they both have software configured to set their prices higher than everyone else. The fact that they’re both using the same software is what allowed the prices to go into the millions, but the object was the same — to sell people a book they don’t have.

  • dogbeard

    To those who submit stories to Disinfo:
    1. Thank you.
    2. Please proof read.

  • dogbeard

    To those who submit stories to Disinfo:
    1. Thank you.
    2. Please proof read.

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