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Buying from Amazon third-party sellers---what do you look for?


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I'm interested in buying K12 Human Odyssey volume 1. There are several options available on Amazon right now. I'm just curious what are your guidelines for buying from Amazon sellers. Do you only buy "new" books? Do you buy used? In what condition? Do you look at the seller ratings? Thanks for any input.

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I look for a clear description of the book. So many sellers use "generic" descriptions of their books----all good condition have the same description etc. A notation about cover wear or about specific writing/highlighting (or the lack thereof) shows me that the seller is talking about THAT book.

 

I only buy from sellers with a 95%+ positive rating. I do go to their pages to see specifics.

 

I buy books with only minimal writing or highlighting. I prefer none at all. I will buy a book with a banged up cover to get clean pages.

 

If I find two equal books (same price, same condition, same seller rating) I will buy from the seller closer to my location.

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I look for 97% or better rating. Condition has to be good at least. I prefer real info about the book. I try to find one that states no underlining or highlighting. If not I might look for very good condition (which is supposed to have no markings). I also have a few buyers I won't purchase from because I've had poor experience with descriptions. I also read current feedback and pay attention to negative feedback.

 

I've also had issue with at least one "new seller". Probably was, he listed the book and forgot about his account. I ordered and never heard from him. It took me 28 days before Amazon would even deal with it. I promptly got my money back, but I'm hesitant to use new sellers if they have no feedback or it doesn't appear they're active users.

 

I'll also look on Betterworld books or other used sites. Many list on Amazon anyway.

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Positive Feedback and lots of it. A 100% Positive feedback rating doesn't mean much, if it is based on 2 sales or 20 sales. I have actually seen sellers with that kind of rating, with several thousand feedbacks. That is almost impossible. 98% on thousands of sales is very impressive.

 

I have purchased both New textbooks and Used textbooks, from Amazon Sellers. Sometimes, it is actually less expensive, to purchase a New textbook and not a Used textbook.

 

Our Forwarder (we live in South America) is in Miami, FL, so given a choice, all things being equal, I would prefer a seller closer to Miami, to reduce Shipping time.

 

Before I order, I send a message, via the Amazon Messaging system, asking which company and service they use (USPS, DHL Global Mail, etc.) and if they provide tracking. I will try to remember, in the future, not to buy, if a seller doesn't provide tracking, that is immediately available, on the Amazon.com web site (DHL Global Mail doesn't have that.)

 

If buying a Used textbook, I would prefer one described as in "Very Good" condition if possible, but "Good" condition is my minimum requirement and, hopefully, from a seller with about a 97% Positive Feedback rating.

 

A cousin of mine in California is married to a man who writes books and she buys a lot of used books on Amazon. She wrote to me recently, that she is amazed at how many of the used books she receives are actually brand new. I had written to her, because we bought a Used textbook, that apparently had been purchased by a school district in her county, but was never issued to a student. When my DD removed the plastic wrapping protecting that book, she said it "smells like a new book".

 

Sometimes, someone will begin a price war and the computers drive their prices down to $0.01 + Shipping. A volume Seller on Amazon can actually make a little profit, because of the $3.99 they receive from Amazon, selling a book for one cent.

 

My experience with textbooks shipped by USPS, from Texas to Miami, with Tracking, has been very good to excellent. One experience, from Reno, Nevada to Miami, via DHL GlobalMail, was slow. They sent it from Reno to San Jose to Los Angeles to Cincinnati to Orlando, and then turned it over to USPS, for delivery in Miami. Strange routing and very poor tracking, but it eventually was delivered.

 

If there are several pages of SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) look on ALL of the pages. The prices will increase, but, frequently, on page 2 or page 3, you will find a listing at a very low price.

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Thank you all very much. I ended up choosing one that was new, from a third-party seller, but fulfilled by Amazon. I paid a bit more to get the one that was fulfilled by Amazon, but I knew that I would have instant tracking information (which is important to me), and it qualified for Prime shipping.

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I used to do a little 3P selling, but that was a few years ago, and they started overhauling the system about the time I was already done and getting out, so things may work a bit differently now.

 

Individual description of a book is nice, but realize that doing that takes time, and usually indicated that the seller has an inventory of less than a few thousand items. Those with generic descriptions are more likely to be large booksellers with tens of thousands of items in their inventory. With a small seller customer service can be slow. I had to eat, take care of my family, etc., and no, I don't have another copy of book xyz because you dropped your mail in your sink.

 

As for buying "used." Amazon has strict guidelines for book conditions. I only ever listed a book as new if it was absolutely pristine. Light wear on the bottom edge of the cover from being shelved could bump it down to "Like New." A few creases and bumps on the corners and the book would end up "Very Good," even though no one had ever opened the front cover. Maybe I was a bit over-cautious sometimes, but a good seller should be grading like that. When you look at feedback you should see a few "book was in better condition than expected" and no "book was in worse condition than I thought it would be."

 

Though when looking at feedback consider the trustworthiness of the customer, please. A lot of sellers run into problems like a customer leaving a 3 with a comment consisting only of "whatever." Well, thanks, there goes my 100 rating.

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I've never had an issue. If a seller is shipping Prime, then that's a bonus. I've never bought from anyone with a rating lower than maybe 90%. Mostly, I don't worry about it. The worst thing I've had happen is a book in slightly worse condition than I expected or something taking the very longest time possible. If the condition of the book is super important for the purpose I have (like a book that might realistically have markings that I need to be clean) then I do look for the individual description, but otherwise, the canned one is fine.

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@mo2 You've already made your purchase and I'm sure that will work out great for you. I forgot to mention, in my first reply, that I always search for books, using the ISBN number. Frequently, there are multiple editions of the same book, and I am looking for a specific edition, so I search with the ISBN number for that edition.

 

Also, sometimes, one edition is available for much less $ than another edition, and, frequently, the less expensive edition will be OK for your course.

 

HTH

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WEll, after my DHL->Post office handoff nightmare this week.... i'm not apt to use BetterWorld Books again. The book was in great shape, but they lied about when it was shipped (by 4 days), told me there was no tracking (it was on the package when it arrived), and apparently in my neck of the woods the DHL->USPS thing is worse than SmartPost.... and that takes A LOT.

 

So my issues are mostly carrier related - and I can't leave feedback because apparently I screwed something up on Amazon and it left my feedback for something else under this package.

 

I will email them about it though at least....

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I look for:

 

positive feedback (95%+) with many sales, though I have had several excellent buying experiences with high feedback/fewer sales sellers.

 

condition = very good/like new/new with detailed description preferred. "Good" is sometimes good enough if a detailed description is given.

 

distance from my home. I prefer closer sellers.

 

I prefer sellers that I've had good previous experience with.

 

I usually don't buy used books that are fulfilled by Amazon. Of the many, many, many used books I've bought online, those are most often in worse condition than listed.

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In addition to these great suggestions, I would take care with books for which you are looking for a specific edition or publication date. (This may be particularly true of textbooks for which you want the most recent edition. Or sometimes an older edition is better than a newer one.)

 

In that situation, make sure the seller notes in the description the edition you are looking for or you may receive the wrong version. Even though technically different editions are listed separately, who knows if the seller makes that distinction unless they note it.

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I look for good feedback, new seller or not. New sellers are OK with me as long as good feedback has been established. I too look for specific details about the condition - marks, writing, highlighting, underlining, etc. IME smaller sellers tend to list the condition of their items much more cautiously, so a book listed as "good" might actually be "very good" with a single dog-eared page, for example.

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I usually only purchase from Amazon directly. BUT in the past couple of weeks, I have purchased 3 items from third parties. I only get it when I absolutely need it and there is no other choice. In one case, it was the only one that would send it to me (Proclick/Clickman), in another it was fulfilled by amazon (Sandpaper Letters) and the last one was NEE, which I purchased new from Bay Valley Booksellers (where Dr Nebel says to purchase from, and BV mentions that its purchasing directly from the author or something).

 

I pretty much steer clear of 3rd party sellers though, I either find another website I do trust or I don't get it. Unfortunately with the above 3, they were three things I needed that weren't available elsewhere (or in the case of the tactile letters, were like 5 times the price, which I couldn't afford to pay for the letters, which would of meant I would be sitting there making my own *ugh*)

 

If I do, I prefer fulfilled by amazon, or ones that have been recommended by others I trust. I don't really fully trust ratings (and this is coming from a high rating ex-eBay seller lol).

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In the past month, I bought two texts from 3rd party sellers. One was fulfilled by amazon; one was separate.

In both cases the texts were advertised "like new", so there shouldn't have been any writing or highlighting.

In both cases, the sellers had high ratings with hundreds of feedback posts.

In both cases, the texts had been misrepresented.

The first one was used with a TON of notes (some clearly incorrect answers) and highlighting. Amazon got my money back and I shipped back the book (yea prime).

The second one was in much better condition, but it still has a lot of underlining (but in pencil). It's definitely used-very good, but certainly not like new.

 

I left feedback for both & got contacted by the sellers with requests to delete my feedback. So I'm feeling pretty burned by amazon 3rd party right now.

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I've had good luck on the condition of books - but I will never be able to SELL what I have sitting here that is truly "brand new" because I'd have no feedback.... kinda like eBay! :p

 

The "very goods" i have bought this past month have been basically new. One had a torn jacket cover, that I was taking off anyway. I feel lucky, but then I wonder if I am tempting fate too if I try again?!?!

 

Oh well, I'm done shopping for now, and out of money to boot - so i'm saved!! :D

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I have bought a LOT of books from 3rd party sellers on amazon. I generally stick with at least good or better condition on used materials. I have bought "acceptable" before when the item was listed at $0.01 and I just needed a copy of a text to evaluate it.

 

The only problem I have ever had with this was when I ordered the 3rd book in a series and got the 2nd book instead. I emailed the seller and he immediately shipped out the correct book and told me to just keep the one he has sent out in error.

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I left feedback for both & got contacted by the sellers with requests to delete my feedback. So I'm feeling pretty burned by amazon 3rd party right now.

 

You might want to consider reporting those sellers to Amazon. It is against Amazon policy for a seller to contact a buyer to request that the buyer delete negative feedback. If you report it, Amazon will take action against the seller (suspend or cancel their seller account). In situations where I've received a used book that was misrepresented as far as its condition, I've been given a full or at least generous partial refund (and was told to just keep the book anyway) after I contacted the seller to complain. Amazon's customer service policies are very good and buyers have much better protection using them vs. some other used book websites or eBay, IME.

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I have bought several books used from third parties on Amazon. Like others, I look at the seller ratings, how many comments, and whether they look "real". I usually go for the highest quality of the used book that is available, unless it's really expensive that way. Otherwise, I'll go for Good and up. Most of my purchases have been in better condition than I expected.

 

I have had ONE issue with buying a used book. Last year, I wanted to replace a Garfield book my oldest son had inadvertently destroyed, and it was one of DH's favorites. I decided to get a hardback version, so it would hold up a bit better. There was one that was advertised as being hardback, but when it got here, it was paperback. The condition was excellent - looked like new! But I could get a new paperback for cheaper than the used hardback I had paid for. :tongue_smilie: I contacted the seller and returned the book, no problem (Amazon paid shipping). I then ordered again from a different seller, and I received a hardback book as I had expected.

 

I've ordered several books, ranging from basic novels to textbooks, and I've always been pleased.

 

I just placed my first betterworldbooks.com order the other day, as they're having a 4/$12 (used books) sale, and a lot of books I needed were on sale that way. Once you hit 4, each additional book is $3 instead of the normal $3.99. It's only the "bargain books", but a lot of typical Sonlight type books are included. So I saved money over Amazon. We'll see what the condition of the books is when I get them. I've never used this company before, but a local friend has.

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I just placed my first betterworldbooks.com order the other day, as they're having a 4/$12 (used books) sale, and a lot of books I needed were on sale that way. Once you hit 4, each additional book is $3 instead of the normal $3.99. It's only the "bargain books", but a lot of typical Sonlight type books are included. So I saved money over Amazon. We'll see what the condition of the books is when I get them. I've never used this company before, but a local friend has.

 

 

I've used BWB quite a lot in the last year. They accept paypal, which is nice. I've ordered probably 30 books from them and had only one issue. In that case the books were old (1970s) which I knew when purchasing, but they had a mildew odor but nothing visible. I'm sensitive to odors and e-mailed them about it. They promptly replaced the books and told me to toss the other ones. BWB is similar to Amazon in that they have "other sellers". Most of my purchases have been from BWB themselves. Most of the books I've ordered have been in what would be rated good condition (they also list condition). In some cases they are very good condition, when listed as good.

 

I have not had the shipping issues from BWB that another poster listed, but I don't see much of DHL in our area anymore.

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I left feedback for both & got contacted by the sellers with requests to delete my feedback. So I'm feeling pretty burned by amazon 3rd party right now.

 

 

I think they can ask, but you definitely don't have to. Sometimes people fill out the form wrong, and leave a 1 star with a glowing review. So sellers can contact and say "sorry, but you could please delete that?" Sellers can also ask Amazon to remove feedback that isn't feedback, like a book review, or if the buyer obviously left feedback for the wrong item (like complaining that the DVD won't work right, when they bought a book).

 

Ignore their email. If they contact again tell them you are going to report them to Amazon if they do it again. If their request was in any way threatening, report them to Amazon today.

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I have not had the shipping issues from BWB that another poster listed, but I don't see much of DHL in our area anymore.

 

The last time I saw DHL here (i'm 60 miles NW of Orlando, rural) was two days after a tornado destroyed my neighborhood - but our house was fine. I got a voicemail asking about where they should deliver my package to because my house was no longer there. When I called, they admitted to not even trying to deliver it, they assumed we had been wiped out because of our address. The supervisor did have the courtesy to apologize for telling me my house had been destroyed, and then apologized further when I called back because the box reeked of smoke smell!

 

To be honest, I haven't ever had a GOOD DHL experience since they started out and we got packages daily in CA at work!

 

I was extremely shocked to have had this BWB package ship that way - and i do need to send them feedback that their form of shipping turned me off from them. I am happy to hear others haven't had issues with them as a whole though, they seem to pop-up on Amazon a lot when I'm used shopping.

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I left feedback for both & got contacted by the sellers with requests to delete my feedback. So I'm feeling pretty burned by amazon 3rd party right now.

 

I wouldn't mind this if it came through Amazon's third party system, I've occasionally had to deal with sellers through that, but if they contacted you directly, I'd report them.

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About 75% of my transactions have been fabulous....15% have been "eh"--meaning that the book wasn't exactly as represented, but I could see how they listed the book as such....10% have been a disaster. In those instances, amazon dispute resolution helped resolve the situation.

 

I save enough money ordered used from amazon that I'm willing to keep doing it. :) I have the best luck with large volume sellers, including thrift shops like goodwill.

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WEll, after my DHL->Post office handoff nightmare this week.... i'm not apt to use BetterWorld Books again. The book was in great shape, but they lied about when it was shipped (by 4 days), told me there was no tracking (it was on the package when it arrived), and apparently in my neck of the woods the DHL->USPS thing is worse than SmartPost.... and that takes A LOT.

 

So my issues are mostly carrier related - and I can't leave feedback because apparently I screwed something up on Amazon and it left my feedback for something else under this package.

 

I will email them about it though at least....

 

 

Tracey: My DHL GlobalMail experience was with a Used textbook, purchased from Sierra Nevada books in Reno. When I was very young, I lived in Reno. Still have a friend there.

 

Eventually, I was able to get a DHL Tracking number, from Sierra Nevada books, I think that was 2 or 3 days after they shipped the package. There is a DHL GlobalMail Tracking site, and I could track it there. Yes, the handoff to the USPS in Orlando, FL (my intermediate destination is Miami, FL) was delayed, a couple of days, because it arrived in Orlando (from Cincinnati.....) on a Saturday as I recall. Eventually, It was delivered to our Forwarder in Miami in the late morning and I received an email from the our Forwarder, 2 or 3 hours later, that it had been delivered. As I recall, it was 2 or 3 days later, that the DHL tracking web site showed it had been delivered by the USPS in Miami.

 

As in your case, the textbook we received was in excellent shape (apparently new), so we are pleased with the purchase, but not with them shipping via DHL GlobalMail. I will TRY to avoid DHL Global Mail in the future!

 

ETA: After I wrote this, I read your post again and it looks like you are in Florida. My experience with DHL GlobalMail was in January 2013. I believe the package arrived in Orlando on a Saturday (early). As I recall, DHL turned it over to the USPS in Orlando on Monday and it was delivered in Miami on Wednesday. Possibly your purchase was also sent via DHL to Orlando and turned over to the USPS there.

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ETA: After I wrote this, I read your post again and it looks like you are in Florida. My experience with DHL GlobalMail was in January 2013. I believe the package arrived in Orlando on a Saturday (early). As I recall, DHL turned it over to the USPS in Orlando on Monday and it was delivered in Miami on Wednesday. Possibly your purchase was also sent via DHL to Orlando and turned over to the USPS there.

Yup, mine went thru Orlando too!

 

I got it on Saturday, the day my local PO got it (which is normally rare these days).

 

4/2 - picked up in IN

4/9 - arrived in Orlando at 3:15pm

4/10 - processed in Orlando at 7:18pm

4/12 - tendered to USPS at 8:31 am

4/12 - accepted by USPS at 12:55pm

4/13 - arrived local PO at 8:40am

 

BWB told me it shipped the 29th, and well, they might have thought it did - but it didn't get picked up by anyone until the 2nd.... that is actually my main beef here. The DHL inefficiencies are, well, what I expect from them as the lowest bidder for this service!

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Just to clarify, are people like Tracey getting the books directly through BWB's website and finding they're shipped via DHL? I've only bought from BWB through *amazon* and doing it that way mine have never come anything but normal USPS. My service from BWB through amazon has been fine. One problem book in many years and purchases, and that they promptly fixed. So I'm just curious whether it's location driving the DHL thing or if it's that BWB isn't allowed to ship DHL for amazon marketplace purchases...

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Just to clarify, are people like Tracey getting the books directly through BWB's website and finding they're shipped via DHL? I've only bought from BWB through *amazon* and doing it that way mine have never come anything but normal USPS. My service from BWB through amazon has been fine. One problem book in many years and purchases, and that they promptly fixed. So I'm just curious whether it's location driving the DHL thing or if it's that BWB isn't allowed to ship DHL for amazon marketplace purchases...

 

Elizabeth: My purchase was from Sierra Nevada books. Before I ordered, I had messaged them, on the Amazon web site, asking about shipping, and was told they would ship via USPS. After I discovered they had shipped via DHL GlobalMail, I was *incredibly* mad. Eventually the "Used" textbook was delivered to our Forwarder in Miami and when it arrived here in Colombia, we discovered it was really a new book. A school district in California had their stamp on the inside of the front cover, but it had never been issued to a student. I ended up giving Sierra Nevada books a very Positive Feedback, and I mentioned in my Feedback comment that they had shipped via DHL GlobalMail, but I have learned from this purchase and will try to be more cautious, with my pre purchase questions in the future. e.g. (a) Do you ship via USPS or DHL GlobalMail or another service?

(2) Do you provide tracking, that is available immediately, on the Amazon.com web site after you ship?

 

I have had textbooks shipped from Texas to Miami, via USPS ($3.99 shipping), that were delivered in 3 or 4 days. The transfer from DHL GlobalMail to the USPS and then delivery by the USPS seems to take 3 or 4 days.

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Just to clarify, are people like Tracey getting the books directly through BWB's website and finding they're shipped via DHL? I've only bought from BWB through *amazon* and doing it that way mine have never come anything but normal USPS. My service from BWB through amazon has been fine. One problem book in many years and purchases, and that they promptly fixed. So I'm just curious whether it's location driving the DHL thing or if it's that BWB isn't allowed to ship DHL for amazon marketplace purchases...

 

I buy from BWB website and Amazon. Neither comes from DHL as far as I know. They all arrive via USPS, but I'll check as I'm expecting an order. I think I would notice if there was a DHL sticker.

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I buy from BWB website and Amazon. Neither comes from DHL as far as I know. They all arrive via USPS, but I'll check as I'm expecting an order. I think I would notice if there was a DHL sticker.

 

If the Seller ships via DHL GlobalMail, in or near the destination city, DHL tenders the shipment to the USPS for delivery. USPS delivers all DHL GlobalMail shipments. GL

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If the Seller ships via DHL GlobalMail, in or near the destination city, DHL tenders the shipment to the USPS for delivery. USPS delivers all DHL GlobalMail shipments. GL

 

Mine LOOKS like a normal computer printed USPS sticker, but has the DHL Globalmail crap on it. Just like the FedEx "SmartPost" service, and I can't think of the name of the UPS variant. The USPS contracts with them to provide these services or something stupid....

 

And Elizabeth, mine was an Amazon order for BWB, I placed the order on the 27 or 28th, I'd have to check.

 

Service wise I wasn't impressed with DHL just looking at their tracking. I know what my SmartPost packages do, and this wasn't so hot.

 

The other thing to note is that I ordered after, and recieved before, 5 other books that all shipped MEDIA mail from the post office while this was going on. That probably made it worse, and I had assumed they were shipping media like everyone else and it was just "lost" somewhere in post office-land.

 

Problems with carriers definetly are regional to that area, I find it interesting that Larry and I both have issues with the orlando DHL stuff. A few years ago I dreaded when anything came UPS,today I babysit for my UPS driver and all is well in the world with me and UPS! (althought FedEx - express not home or ground - by 10am and I give him crap about it!!).

 

In my case, I live on a rural route, so it can often add issues. My post office flat out told me inNovember they had no timeline for SmartPost packages, they got to them as they came in and were sorted. The timeline was Amazon nd FedEx, but they didn't have to abide by it.

 

Ok then. Because of this, the "hand off services" just can add an extra day or two and it will drive you nuts knowing your package is 2 miles away and they aren't going to dig for it if you go there either.

 

All in all, I never ever thought I'd say, "I wish they had shipped it media mail!" :p

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I usually just go with a big seller with 94%+ reviews and at least good condition. I've had mostly good luck, and the 2 times when the book wasn't as expected (one was supposedly very good condition, but written in, another someone had obviously been eating while they read, Ick!) In both cases I messaged the sellers, and they immediately apologized and offered full refunds. I left neutral feedback to that affect. People make mistakes, but as long as the seller has good customer service I'm satisfied.

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If the Seller ships via DHL GlobalMail, in or near the destination city, DHL tenders the shipment to the USPS for delivery. USPS delivers all DHL GlobalMail shipments. GL

 

Yes, which is why I'm going to check the label. I know FedEx smart post does this as well. I just can't remember is BWB uses one of those or sends regular media mail.

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I don't hold the relatively small number of ratings (provided it is 100%) against them. I have sold about 20-25 things as a 3rd party seller. Of those, all were shipped next business day and arrived promptly per my tracking. I was extremely picky about the condition ratings so everyone got a book that was better than the listed condition. I packaged the books ridiculously well. Only 2 buyers bothered to leave feedback.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Because I had already "ranted" in here about DHL....

 

Let me just say that Rainbow Resource just shipped my "free" shipping order the stupid Global Mail DHL way. I would have paid to upgrade it.... sigh.

 

They did put this disclaimer on it:

Your package was sent Bound Printed Matter. This package may take 1 to 2 weeks for delivery and tracking information may update slowly.

 

ETA: It shipped yesterday, so I couldn't have them catch it to let me upgrade it :(

 

SHe did say they cannot ship thru the post office regular media mail, the post office forces them them use the DHL thing. UGH. I shall be upgrading shipping to UPS every time (except last time they said orders over $150 go UPS anyway).

 

Apparently DHL says 5-10 business days to get it here.

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I have bought a few things from amazon third-party sellers, and I've been pleased. I've bought used, and nothing's turned out badly. I look for "shelf wear" or something like that, and I like if it specifies no torn pages or whatever. I got a Saxon 7/6 paperback text and answer key for a total of $18 shipped -- I accepted "used, good condition" for it and was perfectly pleased. Maybe a couple of spots in it where someone made a note or two, and the corners are a bit worn, but for the price, and for its purpose it's been more than fine.

 

I do like large sellers with plenty of good feedback. And if I have a question, I want them to answer it. I wanted DD's next Latin book, which is a worktext, so it was important to me to know that it had no writing in it, but gently used otherwise didn't bother me, and it's a $30 book, which only lasts us about half a year, so I didn't want to spend a lot. I got a steal on amazon, and they emailed me within a day or so to say that there was no writing in it. Honestly, it looks pristine and brand-new.

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I generally go to Abebooks. Usually the Amazon sellers also list the same items on Abebooks, but Abebooks usually has more choices for a particular book and also better descriptions. If I find several books from the same vendor, I will check that vendor's website, because there are often better deals for shipping multiple books. For textbooks, I go to textbooks.com, because they do a better job at sorting out all the multiple editions textbooks come in than Abebooks.

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