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Wherein Michelle is irritated

Someone on Facebook kindly pointed out that someone appears to be selling a used (!) copy of Cast in Silence on Amazon.com.

Cast in Silence doesn't exist as a new book yet. It doesn't exist as an ARC yet. It barely exists as a finished manuscript, because I am still working my way through the AAs mentioned a couple of days ago.

The "merchant" in question is asking how much? Guess. The answer is here.

I'm not entirely sure what he -- or to be fair, she or they -- hope to gain from this, and mine is not the only "used" book offered for sale at this price. The other one thirty seconds of perusal turned up is Maria Snyder's also as yet unpublished book. I cannot imagine that anyone--besides a publisher--would pay 1,000.00 for a book of mine, let alone one that doesn't even exist.

So. Just in case you're curious: He isn't selling an ARC. Because it doesn't exist. He isn't, as far as I can tell, selling anything genuine. If anyone asks you about this, please pass it on, or point them here.

Comments

(Anonymous)
Apr. 11th, 2009 08:32 am (UTC)
I AM TSCBOOKS
There is no FRAUD going on here - there was a database error during a database merge that caused a few ISBN's in my multi-million book inventory to get corrupted. When that file was loaded into an Amazon server, it listed some books for sale that I do not have. A built-in safety measure increased the price of these items (items for which my inventory management system cannot verify the existence of in any of our warehouses). The prices were raised up high enough to prevent anyone from ever considering buying the items, then when a live person (not an automated inventory management system) verifies the error in the inventory, that suspect item will be removed from our master database.

There has been many accusations about these books that were accidentally offered for sale, some pretty wild accusations I might add, and I am disturbed that no one ever thought that TSCBOOKS (me) may have simply made a mistake.

I am not a cheat or a con artist, as this post has stated, I am an honest business man trying to run a large book company. If I was attempting to defraud anyone by selling them books that I do not have, would it not make more sense for me to offer these books for sale at a price that someone might actually pay? No one would pay $1000 for one of these books, especially one that obviously is not available for sale yet. This is the very reason why the price is set so high when a potential system error is detected -So No One Will Buy That Item.

You should reconsider how you look at the world - the most obvious reason for all of this commotion is "A Mistake". Most of the posts here are taking the assumption that bad intention were the reason for these books being offered for sale. Not a single person offered the idea that someone or something at TSCBOOKS "might have made a mistake". Why do you think it had to be something bad that TSCBOOKS did? Is that more exciting to you? I apologize if this was a simply, boring, unintentional computer error, but that is exactly what happened.

Please forgive me for having a computer error. Please note that our database safety systems instantly prevented anyone from buying these books (at least anyone that would not spend $1000 for a book that is probably worth less than $5O). Not a single person has attempted to buy any of the books in question yet, and I am fairly sure that no one will ever try to do so. If anyone would attempt to buy an item that I determine I dont really have, their order would be cancelled immideatly, their payment would immideatly be refunded and the sale canceled since the item is unavailable.

Please let me know if there is any immediate action anyone would request I take in regards to any of these books in question - please post a response on this web site.

Thanks for taking the time to discuss this.

TSCBOOKS

ex_rolanni
Apr. 11th, 2009 11:45 am (UTC)
Re: I AM TSCBOOKS
I am not a cheat or a con artist, as this post has stated, I am an honest business man trying to run a large book company. If I was attempting to defraud anyone by selling them books that I do not have, would it not make more sense for me to offer these books for sale at a price that someone might actually pay? No one would pay $1000 for one of these books, especially one that obviously is not available for sale yet. This is the very reason why the price is set so high when a potential system error is detected -So No One Will Buy That Item.

I'm sorry, sir; you are in error. I know for a fact (having received the check) that my readers will pay that much money for one of our books. I expect the rest of the (several) writers affected by your "system" have readers who would also pay that much money in order to get their anticipated new book months "ahead of time."

If this is in fact your "system" I respectfully submit that it's ...rather silly. And more than enough trouble for you. Maybe you ought to find another one. Like, filtering by publication date.

Sharon Lee

(Anonymous)
Apr. 11th, 2009 03:57 pm (UTC)
Re: I AM TSCBOOKS
The problem was an erroneous ISBN uploaded into an inventory database - it just happened to be that the ISBN submitted did actually exist, it was the ISBN of this yet to be released book. Your suggestion was excellent. For now on, I will filter my inventory files for any publication date that is in the future. This will ensure an error like this never happens again. I have had many minor errors in my inventory as do most large booksellers. When distributed inventories as large as mine are managed, the chance of errors increases with each passing day. Thousands of updates happen every hour, a simply transposed digit in an ISBN causes a new phantom item to be entered into the inventory.

When this happened in the past (rarely I might add), the result phantom book was already released for sale and was available with a lot of sellers anyway - that caused no commotion. This current error affected an entire file, and the phantom items in my inventory turned out to be books that were not yet released. This has caused a lot of commotion, and I sincerely apologize for that.


Thank you for the Publication Date Filtering Idea, I am going to add that filtering method to my database

TSCBOOKS
fyrna
Apr. 11th, 2009 07:58 pm (UTC)
Re: I AM TSCBOOKS
FWIW, the guy's explanation makes sense. Artificially increasing the prince to $1000 for an erroneous entry is not the most brilliant idea--the system should filter out such entries and instead report an error some other way--but I can well imagine someone programming the system that way because it's easy and they don't realize it could cause serious problems later on. I might use a trick like that myself if I were working on some unimportant scripts, but it's not something appropriate for a production system. Detected errors shouldn't make it into the output in a production system, they should be caught and reported elsewhere.

Wrt filtering, it seems to me he hadn't realized that as-yet-unpublished books would enter the system, so there wasn't even the thought of code to handle that. The system just detected "an error" and this was its (admittedly very poor) way of handling it.
msagara
Apr. 11th, 2009 08:24 pm (UTC)
Re: I AM TSCBOOKS
His entry makes partial sense to me, but his explanation of what caused the problem doesn't, oddly enough. I did write a longer post (and bump up his letter), in which I address this a bit.