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I have several thousand books from the 80's and 90's. Very few are available. Consider one example:

"Mastering The MFC for Windows 95 using Symantec C++" by Richard Parker published by Thomson Computer Press.

It's long out of print, and I wished to make it available to my customers. I contacted the author, he was all for it, but said he didn't have the rights, I'd have to contact the publisher.

The publisher is out of business. I could find nothing on who owned the rights. Dead ends everywhere I looked.

So everybody loses. The author, the publisher, me, and my customers.

BTW, there is one used copy for sale on amazon for $14,763.21:


Is there any aspect of that book that motivates that price?

Obscure used books on Amazon tend to get automatically bid up to astronomical prices, as the repricing bots mistake the noise of an empty market for a signal: http://www.michaeleisen.org/blog/?p=358

As of this moment, the most expensive book on Amazon is going for one billion dollars: http://www.amazon.com/s?rh=n%3A283155&field-is-available-new...

There's an insurance scam just waiting to happen here.

No, it's just automated pricing based on it being rare. You set a high price, other pricing bots come in and undercut it - unless the book is sufficiently rare or obscure, in which case the high price remains.

Funnily enough, my book is a good example of this. There's three copies on Amazon, priced within 1 cent of each other: http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/1898275351/ref=dp_olp... It was one of the elss well-selling ones in the series so it's become 'rare' by virtue of its own obscurity, rather than inherent merit of its own :-)

Note to self: set up own pricing bot to bid rare books down to cheap rates and then snap them up. Finally that copy of the Dune Encyclopedia will be mine!

EDIT: Apparently it can be had for only £15 now. How depressing.

It's now up to $30,219.92 !!

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