Zubal Books Advises buyers to NEVER Purchase From Bookjackers
Bookjackers: Who they are, what they do, and why YOU should NEVER purchase from them.
We've been selling books online since about 1995. Over the years we've seen many changes in our own company as well as at sites like Abebooks.com, Amazon.com, and Alibris. One of the worst developments has been the rise of the BOOKJACKERS.
Who is a bookjacker? A more appropriate question may be what is a bookjacker. From what we've been able to piece together, there are about 40 "sellers" on Abe & Amazon (we don't really bother looking at Alibris and Half.com all that much) that do not own any of their own stock, but simply hijack other legitimate booksellers' listings from other websites and then post the listings with inflated prices. The availability of APIs (http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/A/API.html) from Abe, Half.com and (especially) Amazon have made it very easy for people with computer programming skill to become bookjackers and pull the wool over unsuspecting consumers' collective eyes.
Here's how it works. A legitimate seller is selling a book on Half.com. Perhaps he's offering the ONLY copy on Half.com and coincidentally, there are no copies available on Amazon. The bookjacker, by way of his advanced software, is able to quickly detect the presence of this title on Half.com, it's ABSENCE on Amazon.com, and then upload his own offer for this title at Amazon.com at an inflated price. What then follows is that most of the other bookjackers quickly follow suit and you have a marketplace that looks like this:
At 10 a.m. on Monday morning:
Book A becomes available on Half.com by a legitimate seller for $25
Book A is currently not available on Amazon.com
Shortly thereafter bookjacker software detects the book on Half.com and quickly posts it to Amazon.com. So a few hours later the Marketplace on Amazon looks like:
The same scenario happens with books that appear on Amazon.com by legitimate sellers and not on Abe as well as the other way around. It pretty much occurs with all online book selling sites.
Why is bookjacking not to be encouraged or tolerated?
Bookjacking is inherently deceptive, manipulative, and confusing to the consumer. What appears to be a common book at a very high price is actually an uncommon book whose price has been greatly inflated so the bookjacker can make a profit and whose single listing has been reposted repeatedly by other 'jackers.
What can you do to stop bookjacking?
The best thing to do is NEVER purchase from a bookjacker. 99% of the time when you see a listing by a bookjacker, that very same book can be found for AT LEAST 50% less expensive at another site (a foreign Amazon site perhaps, half.com, abe, alibis, etc..).
How can you identify a bookjacker?
A dead giveaway that the listing you're seeing is from a bookjacker is that they'll have generic descriptions for their books like:
"Good overall with moderate wear; Has dust jacket if published with one, which MAY contain tears/rubbing;" (caps are ours).
"This is an ex-library book that MAY have library markings and attachments and normal wear"
"Very Good condition! Huge seller with millions of transactions! Satisfaction Guaranteed!"
and so on.
To help save you some time, we've compiled a list of bookjackers:
CONTINENTAL MEDIA & BEYOND
East West Academic Books
Migna Book Store
Park Place Products
Hopefully, one day, Amazon, Abe (who's owned by Amazon!) and other sites will outlaw bookjackers and clean up their marketplaces. In the meantime, the best thing that we can all do is find the REAL listing of the book that we want and purchase it directly from a REAL bookseller. Do not feed the bookjackers!