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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 The other one thirty seconds of perusal turned up is Maria Snyder's also as yet unpublished book.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.


Apr. 11th, 2009 03:57 pm (UTC)
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

Apr. 11th, 2009 07:58 pm (UTC)
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.
Apr. 11th, 2009 08:24 pm (UTC)
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.