TSCBooks is offering unpublished works of authors like Maya Banks, Michelle Sagara, Stephenie Meyer, Maria Snyder and the like. These are books that are not published and some are not even in ARC form but the seller has them offered for $1,000.00. There are additional books such as Green Eggs & Ham and The Foot Book offered for $1,000.00 as well.Well someone claiming to be TSC books (and who probably is) replied that the reason was:
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.And there is some support for this position from a commenter at Dear Author who notes that Amazon tends to require an enormous catalog upload followed by pruning as a way to do things. So maybe it was indeed a booboo. However I do find the explanation slightly weak. Why? because of this:
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).If the built in safety measure could filter these items and increase the price surely it could also filter these items and remove them from the list of products currently available. It seems to me that the honest way to do this is to have a filter that lists these books as "out of stock" and either removes them from Amazon or notes it on the automated Amazon generated page so that people don't try and buy them. Subsequently the human can go through the "out of stock" tags and determine whether these are valid ISBNs of books that could be in inventory or an ISBN corruption error as claimed in a follow up comment:
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.It should be noted that ISBNs have a check digit at the end so for an ISBN to be corrupted and to refer to a valid book requires more than one digit to be wrong in the 10 (or 13) digit sequence. As Lady Bracknell might have commented: "To have one corrupt ISBN may be regarded as a misfortune, to have more than one looks like carelessness". Since most or all of these cases involve books that are all yet to be published it also looks very very suspicious. Why it looks suspicious is the justification at the start of the next sentence:
The prices were raised up high enough to prevent anyone from ever considering buying the itemsActually there is evidence that this statement is false. Dedicated fans of any number of authors will indeed pay large sums of money to read the ARC of their next work a few months early. I suspect very few are willing to pay $1000 but I'm not surprised that some will. I would imagine that a Harry Potter ARC might have sold for rather more than that, for example.