Wednesday, September 17, 2014

One Cent, Plus Shipping

I was reading a review of Martin Amis's book Zone of Interest and came across a reference to a book titled The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell.  One thing led to another, I slid my electronic canoe into the Big River and found that this thousand pager could be purchased used for $.01, plus $3.99 shipping and handling.

This whole one cent, plus shipping business started to annoy me.  Obviously the money to be made is in the shipping and handling, because at a single penny there is no money to be made with the book itself, barring an astounding level of volume.  Eleven would be the This is Spinal Tap joke.

It should also be noted that paying a penny for the book/four bucks for shipping is a common experience on the Amazon used book section.  Amazon, interestingly enough, will also sometime sell you a used book using the Prime member one-click button.  The cost is often $4.00 even.  Which is exactly the same thing.  As a Prime Member -- the Amazon elite, one might suggest -- I think a little transparency is in order here.

In closing, the Amis book is a satire set in a Nazi concentration camp.  The Littell book is about an unrepentant, highly-perverse concentration camp physician.  I don't think I'm going to buy either one.  Not that either can't be a great book (Littell got rave reviews), but I'm saving all my difficult book chips for when Hillary Mantel releases the final volume of her Wolf Hall trilogy.  Now those are some books.

Quick additional note:  Isn't it fun how much Hillary Mantel looks like Hillary Clinton ...


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