Acceptable to whom?

Some tips for buying a used book from Amazon– and this applies only to ordinary used books, not collectibles.  Choose the seller carefully.  Non-specific phrases like “may show signs of wear” indicate a mass seller who does everything with barcode scanners and does not actually describe the book they are selling.  You might get lucky, but you are likely to get a library discard or a copy in poor condition, and it will probably be inadequately packaged and damaged in transit. It costs a few dollars more to get a better copy, because a reputable dealer pays for quality stock, shipping supplies, and perhaps even an open shop– there are still some of us.  If you want to support brick-and-mortar bookstores, Google the seller and see who they are.

Amazon, not the individual seller, determines what you see about the book’s details of publication date, binding, edition, etc.  Amazon translates dealer descriptions into mass commerce lingo.  “Acceptable” condition, for instance.  Amazon attaches that description to my listings that I send to them with traditional  terms like “good,” which have established meanings in bookselling.   Acceptable to whom?  Amazon also allows the term “new” with no oversight.  Chances are, if the book was indeed published numerous years ago, the copy is not actually new–  in original shrinkwrap being a usual exception, but most books were not shrinkwrapped when new.

“Fulfillment by Amazon” is eligible for free shipping, a good deal, but don’t assume it guarantees an accurate description.  It doesn’t.

Happy hunting.


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