The Hang Fire Books Blog

The rantings of a bookdealer in Brooklyn, New York.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Book CSI: Dumbass Killfile

I recently listed a first paperback edition of Patricia Highsmith's Strangers on a Train and--in the process of pricing my copy--I noticed one on ABE that was underpriced and restorable so I bought it up.

This is what I received in the mail:

Transparent plastic baggy, no padding or stiffeners whatsoever and--if that wasn't bad enough-- the bookseller had stuck an inventory label directly on the spine of a delicate 58-year-old paperback.

After a careful 10-minute application of sticker removal the best I could do was this...

I recovered and readherred the chip, but what a pain in the ass.

It's true that I was deliberately buying a low-grade book from someone who doesn't know how to catalog or price a book but do they have to suck at their trade so badly that they damage books more than they already are (and more than is described in their listing)?

I was so livid that I ended up spending 45-minutes restoring a maybe $25 dollar book.

As of now I'm officially starting my dumbass killfile of booksellers that I will never buy from again. Does anyone have such a list going already? Want to share info?


Nathan Roberts said...

I just got a book in the mail a few days ago.. "Memoirs of a Tattooist" about a $300-400 in book in jacket. I paid just shy of $80 for it.

The dust jacket had some closed tears, which is fine.. but I just found out that the moron that shipped the book took the liberty of using scotch tape to seal the entire top edge and bottom edge of the unprinted side of the dust jacket to seal the closed tears. Now I get to spend several hours trying to remove the tape, and hoping I don't fuck the jacket up.

eBayer, so no use giving you a name.. but I'm feeling your pain man, believe me.

William Smith said...

I expect it with ebay but this was ABE. Why is this person allowed to sell on ABE?

LuxMentis said...

There are *lots* on ABE et al who do not know how to pack...or handle...books. The sticker is a very nice touch *g*. I posted a while ago about getting an Acliati (1564) sent to me in nothing but a fedex envelope and piece of x-mas wrapping paper. This from a reasonably well known dealer.

My recent favorite was a dealer who asked me for a reasonably good book on approval, kept it for 8 months or so while claiming he had sent it and had it returned (only person to have this problem, interestingly) and took the attitude that somehow I was creating a burden expecting the several hundred dollar book to be returned if, you know, he did not want it. Finally did get it back. Not in the crush resistant box that I shipped it, but in a padded bag. Into the killfile he went.

William Smith said...

"There are *lots* on ABE et al who do not know how to pack...or handle...books. " (Sigh) I know, I was writing out of idealistic indignation.

AND this seller had a 4 star rating on ABE. What use is that? At least the eBay feedback system (as unfair and one-sided as it has become) give you some idea of the service you're likely to receive.

Will said...

This seller is on my list. He sold a "like new" ex-library copy of the fairly scarce hardcover of Monterroso's Black Sheep. (How could anyone think an ex-library book is "like new"? This is becoming more common.) But he really pissed me off by shipping it using a plastic bag (like your seller did)! I left it in the plastic as a constant reminder to only deal with reputable sellers.

I've also had your experience of problems with so-called "4-star" sellers on abe. I'm at the point where I've lowered my expectations so I'm either elated or mildly irritated when a book arrives in the mail.

Lew Jaffe said...

I guess it comes with the Ebay territory.We all have these horror stories from so called dealers.