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The written word

So, decided that I needed another hefty computer science tome, this time Volume B of the Handbook of Theoretical Computer Science. Looked on Amazon.com, and found a copy in Marketplace for the very reasonable price of $35. Ordered, paid, etc.

Got a mail from the seller saying "Amazon-mandated shipping rates too low, shipping will cost more than I get from the sale, looking for cheaper options. I no longer need the book - just want someone else to have it".

Replied, pointing out that USPS Priority International costs less than his cut (the book weighs 2.5kg).

He refunded my money with a rather patronising explanation of the breakdown of his proceeds.

Pointed out that he should consider pricing his books in such a way that he doesn't lose money, and that if he doesn't want to sell internationally, he should make that clear.

He replied, asking "I wonder who you think you are".

Suggested that I was apparently someone who was under the mistaken impression that they'd just entered into a contractual agreement with a good faith seller...

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Report it to Amazon - they don't look kindly on marketplace sellers who take the piss like this.

That was rather what I was thinking.

It's a common enough excuse, on ebay too. I imagine it works enough times to make it worthwhile - in that they'll get bids that they wouldn't if postage was marked too high, and can then sucker those buyers into paying more.

Agreed. If they didn't want to sell it at that price then they should have made the price higher, or been specific about the sales conditions. I can (just about) understand someone having made a mistake, because they hadn't dealt with international sales before. But in that case they should be apologetic, not getting grumpy at you.

Amazon Marketplace is bloody hopeless for textbooks though, for exactly this reason. Anyway, leave him 3 star feedback and report him to Amazon.

I've not had any problems before, mainly because I've been buying from larger dealers. Feedback isn't an option, because the transaction has been unilaterally cancelled - there doesn't seem to be any way to give feedback in these circumstances.

It is so annoying when this kind of thing happens. Please let Amazon know.

Good luck with finding a sane person to sell you this book. (I guess you've already tried other places like AbeBooks?)


Just checked on Abebooks and there are several copies, cheapest of which is about £40 including shipping from the US

Alas, no reasonably priced hardbacks - the cheapest of those is £122. Given that the book is about 5cm thick, a paperback would probably get very tatty, very quickly.


On a lighter note, thanks very much for introducing us to the books of Oliver Jeffers. Aled loves them and so do we.


I had one of those experiences 2 years ago with ebay 2 years ago. This seller had sent the package with not enough postage so it became lost in the post office aether. It arrived 3 weeks later.

Aha, sudden recollection of voicemail - curry great but er I don't like squid!!! ta:)

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