Like I suppose most people, I thought Amazon.com only sold new things. Not so!
I became a big fan of Robert B. Parker and his 'Spencer' detective novels. I had about ten of them out of the thirty or so that are out there. Having a few bucks on hand, I decided to blow the wad and complete my collection. I headed over to Amazon.com, dug up the first book I wanted, then noticed an odd "used and new" link down near the bottom of the ad. I clicked on it and discovered a whole different side to Amazon.com.
Want to guess how much these used books were going for? Five bucks? Two bucks? One?
Nope. Not even close. Gee, you're not very good at this 'guessing' stuff, are you?
How about a penny.
The deal is, these are all third-party used book merchants, and they charge $3.50 per book for shipping [update; I think they're now charging $3.95], so apparently they'd rather make a buck or two off the shipping — plus one penny — rather than just let the thing sit there rotting on the shelf. The ol' better-something-than-nothing approach.
It's to note that only the fairly old books go for a penny. The newer ones actually cost a whole quarter or more, so be prepared to spend some big, big money. I ordered 20 books. Granted, I paid $70 in shipping, but compare that to spending two days traveling to every used book store in the tri-county area and paying two or three bucks apiece for them. Nor, most likely, would I have been able to nail down all 20 books missing from my collection.
For what it's worth, one book didn't show up. I emailed the vendor, nothing back. Emailed again, nothing back. I emailed Amazon, gave them the invoice number, told them what I'd done, and my credit card account was reimbursed within the day. Ordered the book from a different vendor and out it came.
If you're wondering if Amazon also sells used music CDs and DVD movies, the answer is yes, but it takes a bit more work. In their book area, the 'used' link is right on the same page as the ad for the new book. When it comes to discs, you first have to click on "DVD" or "Music" on the main nav bar, then select "Used DVDs" or "Used Music" from the drop-down menu at the top of the page. It's to Amazon's credit (or foolishness) that they didn't do it this way with the books or I might never have thought to check the drop-down menu once I got to the new books area. I would have figured 'This is it' and started adding new books to ye olde shopping cart. A very cool discovery.