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Do you buy used and new books on amazon?

  1. Aug 1, 2008 #1
    do you buy used and "new" books on amazon?

    It seems kind of weird and suspicious how amazon sells a book for $125 but it also acts as a go-between for you to buy the same book at $50 from an independent seller especially when that seller lists the book as "new".

    I am kind of torn about whether I should buy from amazon or from the independent sellers in these cases. I am a really avid reader and a well-written book is worth more than almost anything in the world to me so the books that are buy are really precious for me. And thus it annoys me a book gets a noticeable scratch on the cover or a page rips out or it gets a stain or whatever and it breaks my heart when the binding breaks or when it gets damaged from water or something.

    And basically I think of amazon as like the pristine source of these books and all the other sellers seems sketchy to me so I usually end up paying twice as much to get my book from amazon. And while the books that are receive are really really beautiful and robust and long-lasting, this kind of makes me feel like a bad capitalist or a bad consumer.

    I did once buy a supposedly "new" book from an independent seller on amazon that came with a large scratch on the cover. I would have returned it but I needed it for school.

    What do other people think? Am I overly concerned about aesthetics? What do you usually do?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 1, 2008 #2
    Re: do you buy used and "new" books on amazon?

    The new Principles of Neuroscience wouldn't be listed as used, after all it just came out today.

    Clearly, this is the only 125$ book on Amazon you should be looking for.
     
  4. Aug 1, 2008 #3
    Re: do you buy used and "new" books on amazon?

    anything that costs less!
    e-books -> . -> asia ->.. -> book store
     
  5. Aug 1, 2008 #4

    Moonbear

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    Re: do you buy used and "new" books on amazon?

    You have to read VERY carefully if you're buying a book "new" for a lot less than the usual retail value from one of those independent sellers. Sometimes you really do get a great bargain because it's overstock after the school year has begun and they can't get rid of the textbooks once all the students already have them, so sell them off cheaply just to recover their losses. But, more often, they're new, as in never been owned, but will state things like, "shelf wear" which could mean anything from a rub mark on the back cover to ripped pages.

    I'm kind of picky about my books too, and if I'm buying it to keep, I don't want torn and folded pages or ripped covers. So, unless it's still in the shrink wrap, I'd rather pay more to ensure it's in pristine condition.
     
  6. Aug 1, 2008 #5

    Evo

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    Re: do you buy used and "new" books on amazon?

    I've never bought a used book online, but I know people that have. It's a crapshoot. What someone considers "like new" could be "worn" by others.

    When you buy "new" from an authorized dealer - Amazon, you know that you are getting the real thing in perfect condition.
     
  7. Aug 1, 2008 #6

    mgb_phys

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    Re: do you buy used and "new" books on amazon?

    But if you are buying the book for it's content rather than as a collectors item - do you care?
    Basically anything that gets the books for less means I can buy more books!
     
  8. Aug 1, 2008 #7
    Re: do you buy used and "new" books on amazon?

    I once bought a new and one of those more expensive books from amazon and it arrived with some sort of sticky gum like substance in between two pages. Also there were strands of someone's hair stuck to that substance. I was sort of shocked at first but then removed it without tearing a page. But the book just is never the same. It must have been a fluke. My experience with amazon was always positive though and still is.
     
  9. Aug 1, 2008 #8

    Moonbear

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    Re: do you buy used and "new" books on amazon?

    I care when it comes to things like textbooks. I buy them to last, and I'm very careful with my books, so don't want to start out with them already looking dinged up and damaged. I also just find it distracting for some reason. If I were buying just a paperback novel for beach reading, it wouldn't matter at all. I've bought plenty of those at used bookstores back when there used to be a lot of used bookstores before places like Amazon took over the business.

    Of course, I'm extra careful with anatomy textbooks. Unless you're buying it to take into the anatomy lab with you, you DON'T want to buy those used. :yuck: I suggest to my students to buy themselves each a personal copy for reading/studying at home, and then splitting the purchase of a really cheap used copy for the lab group, because they won't want to take it with them when they're done. Though, now that we have a collection of used textbooks left behind in the lab at the end of each term, I tell them they can opt to just borrow one of our slimey, smelly copies while in the lab. Some people really will resell those though. It's not something I'd want to take home with me.
     
  10. Aug 1, 2008 #9
    Re: do you buy used and "new" books on amazon?

    For the record, I've never gotten an entirely crappy copy of a used book, aside from a Gen Bio text, which, ironically, seemed to get more highlighting from none as time goes by. Funny stuff.
     
  11. Aug 1, 2008 #10
    Re: do you buy used and "new" books on amazon?

    I bought Goldstein's classical mechanics on amazon from one of those guys, and it never arrived. Apparently it got lost at a shipping center or something, but the way it worked out Amazon didn't have to refund me because it was through a 3rd party or some bureaucratic ********, and the 3rd party said it wasnt their problem that the shipping company messed up, so the end result is and I never got my money back and was out $100. I was a poor student at the time, so I ended up "borrowing" the one from the library for basically the whole semester.
     
  12. Aug 1, 2008 #11

    mgb_phys

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    Re: do you buy used and "new" books on amazon?

    And you don't want to lick your fingers to turn the pages!!!!!

    I've had a few used textbooks with loose pages because of cheap binding, but that would have happened if they were new. I have also bought a lot of cheaply printed asian edition text books on trips to India.
    I had a safari subription but I still prefer a paper copy, however bad, to an ebook.
     
  13. Aug 2, 2008 #12
    Re: do you buy used and "new" books on amazon?

    I only ever buy books online that I can't find in stores. And since I rarely buy anything that is over twenty dollars I usually don't even look at the third party sellers. I've bought several used copies of books from the third parties that I could not even find new on Amazon proper. For the most part I was satisfied for the price I paid. I don't particularly care if a book is a bit beat up so long as I can still read it and it isn't falling apart in my hands.

    I also never buy from anyone who does not have at least a year old account on Amazon with several customer comments.
     
  14. Aug 2, 2008 #13
    Re: do you buy used and "new" books on amazon?

    I buy used from Amazon all the time, including textbooks, such as math and logic books (which I collect) and "Discover Biology" for a class, etc..

    As evo said, it is kind of a gamble. I've had sellers sell me books in "very good" condition that are practically "like new," and "like new" books that are really in "very good" or even "good conditions."

    Sometimes, an edition will be out for a while so when you buy it used it can be yellowed or tanned, as some books fade faster than others depending on what kind of paper they're printed on.

    Also, when it comes to a fiction book that only costs a couple of dollars or so in an Amazon.com sale, it's usually not worth it to go through the listing and try and find a "good," cheap, used book. No one wants a mucked up, oily book.

    On the plus side, I'm somewhat of a collector, seeking out certain editions, and thus I look for used books on Amazon and email them to make sure it is the edition I want.

    You just have to apply a little common sense:

    -If you want to be sure about the condition of the book, you can always email the seller and ask them. Sellers are usually nice and when you go review there is an option asking you if you contacted the seller, and will allow you to mark whether they gave you good or poor customer service.

    I email sellers all the time, and sometimes, the sellers even thank me for having them check on a book only to find they accidently listed it in the wrong place. Example:

    Once I even had someone mail me a digital picture of the cover to be sure it was what I wanted, which he did, and which I then purchased.


    -Often the description itself will tell you everything you need to know, such as ISBN number, year published, edition, whether there is an owners signature or any markings or not, and so on. You can often get new books for under the Amazon.com price as you mentioned (just make sure it's what you want).

    -Try and avoid the Amazon equivalent of "power sellers" as these are often just a hodgepodge of sellers operating under one company. Usually Powells and Alibris are good choices, however.​

    etc.

    Points such as these will make your experience better, trust me. Have fun, and best of luck.
     
  15. Aug 2, 2008 #14
    Re: do you buy used and "new" books on amazon?

    I went to the Powell's in Oregon once. That place is amazing! It's the biggest bookstore I have ever been in. And from what I saw all of their 'used' books looked practically new.
     
  16. Aug 2, 2008 #15

    neu

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    Re: do you buy used and "new" books on amazon?

    I do it all the time, but yes read very carefully.

    I once bought a DVD on amazon used & new, when it arrived it was only the case sleeve with no DVD or case! I e-mailed the sender and he said that's what was being sold and tough basically. I re-checked the site and sure enough, on the DVD's amazon page, under used & new was the one I bought saying "one '*******' DVD sleeve, like new" I was incensed so I e-mailed amazon and they refunded me the money.

    Amazing.
     
  17. Aug 2, 2008 #16
    Re: do you buy used and "new" books on amazon?

    Yesterday I bought via Amazon Jackson Electrodynamics :) Amazon is cool. I nearly order everything for the Uni via Amazon.

    greetings
     
  18. Aug 2, 2008 #17
    Re: do you buy used and "new" books on amazon?

    I get any $40+ book that is at least $10 cheaper used (once it's cheaper than the free shipping. I always go for what's cheaper, which sometimes is the brand new one).

    The worst experience I had was when I got the wrong book once, but they gave me back my money so all I lost was a bit of time really.

    Overall I'm happy buying used. I just got the Riverside Chaucer ($80) for 30 bucks in pretty good quality (five or so pages have underlining and highlights). But I like used books better than brand new anyway. It's like they have a whole backstory. Like you know that whoever owned it before you was a student because of the underlining; or you turn a coffee stained page, and you know that they were reading that same page while they were drinking a coffee.
     
  19. Aug 2, 2008 #18

    Moonbear

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    Re: do you buy used and "new" books on amazon?

    When I was a student, I'd buy used books for my non-major classes...basically books I knew I didn't intend to keep beyond the course. But, I still couldn't imagine trying to buy those online, sight-unseen. We had multiple bookstores to choose from...official university bookstores (two of them to choose from) and other "unofficial" bookstores. One bookstore did not let you peruse the shelves of used books, you had to hand them the list of books you wanted and they'd bring them to you. Sometimes their prices were better, so it was worth it for new books, but I didn't buy used books from them, because you got the luck of the draw on those, and they tended to be in pretty awful condition. For used books, I'd go to the bookstores that put them all out on the shelves where you could look through them for yourself. You could often find a tolerable copy of a more gently used book if you got there early enough before the semester began to buy your books (since my permanent home was fairly close to campus, I could drive over to buy them as soon as the book lists were available and beat the lines when students arrived on campus). But, sometimes, you just could not find any decent books used, and then it was worth it to buy the new ones (it's interesting how some classes seem more prone to highlighting the whole book than others).
     
  20. Aug 2, 2008 #19
    Re: do you buy used and "new" books on amazon?

    I've bought somewhere around twenty-five to thirty books from Amazon ranging from particle physics encyclopedias to astronomy and combustion engine textbooks, but only 4 of them were truly brand new. Overall, I've been very pleased with the condition of the books vs. their rated condition, and I'm pretty pick when it comes to proper book care. Quite a few truly looked as though they just rolled off the presses... for half the new cost!

    There was one astronomy textbook that I got which was pretty beat up vs the advertised condition. Not enough to be worth hassling with considering the price, but a blatant crease down the middle of a book cover does look a bit, well, disgusting.
     
  21. Aug 2, 2008 #20
    Re: do you buy used and "new" books on amazon?

    You get what you paid for; once I tried to buy a $100+ textbook for $4, and when it finally arrived it was a completely moldy previous edition.
     
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