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14 November 2006

The Dble-Entry Book Pile Plunge

Antiqbook and Biblio both list the very same edition of Pynchon's novel 'V'. It's the book that gives a result of "2 found" for a search on AddAll of this particular title, with the keyword "Maine" (to narrow it down to one state).

In an open search for books that had multiple print-runs in their publishing history, expect to find hundreds of them being offered at the mega-online-book-vendor (MOBVs) websites.

This is just basic stuff. With all the booksellers, seemingly, listing on four to seven different MOBVs, when YOU jump from site to site checking out the book you're looking for you should realize that you will be looking at the same book and the same seller a multiple of times.

Where all of this starts to be less basic was illustrated by a customer in the bookstore who crossed town to pick up a cinema book for her daughter studying at Bishops. She had paid, first at one then at another online bookseller's 'check-out basket' on a MOBV. At the end of the week, no book. Both sellers informed her they, sorry to say, did not, in fact, have it. Sorry again. She went to the bother to put her request on the regional email board, we responded affirmatively, and I heard her story. She had not yet cancelled the credit card payment to the two other book dealers.

There are many reasons this thing can come to pass. Bishops is in a small town and maybe all the students ordered books for the course through the Internet. Maybe books sold at A were not removed from B nor C database. Whatever.

What I am wondering as well is just how many of the titles offered through multiple listings are not really in stock, not really there when the customer wants the book?

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