by Steve Weber

#71, 19 June 2006

An Introduction to Amazon's
Buyer's Waiting List, Part I

Selling on Amazon

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Last month we explored Amazon's Buyers Waiting list as a tool for finding scarce and valuable titles. Now we'll discuss how to use price look-up technology to find these books while scouting and also consider some of the pitfalls of dealing with waiting buyers.

You may already know about ScoutPal, the wireless service that retrieves Amazon Marketplace prices and displays them on a web-enabled cell phone. I've been using ScoutPal and similar services for four years to help me decide whether to buy titles I'm unsure of. For example, at a library sale last year, I found a copy of Collecting and Classifying Coloured Diamonds (ISBN 0965941019) in new condition for $30.

But I didn't want to risk my $30 unless I knew there was a market for the book. It took me just a few seconds to enter the ISBN on my phone and get the current Marketplace price - $180. So I bought the book and sold it in a few days at a nice markup of $150 less commissions.

ScoutPal and its several competitors are continually upgrading their services, and one of the newer features they've added is Buyers Waiting alerts.

Here's an example of a readout you'd receive from ScoutPal when a book has a pending order on Amazon. In this case we're researching ISBN 0471575380:

Pending pre-order! $600.00
Price:$ NA (150.00)
PriceGrabber: $141.00 (1) $v Rank: 1,747,069
Antennas for Radar and Communications: A Polarimetric Approach
0471575380; HC; Wiley-Interscience; 16Oct92; NA

The readout shows the book's original retail price is $150, and no new or used copies are listed for sale.

One buyer, using an Amazon pre-order, is waiting to pay $600 for the first available copy. So if you were able to find this book at a sale, it would be a great buy even at the full retail price, since it appears you could resell it immediately at a 400% markup.

This ScoutPal readout also shows that a copy of the book is available for $141 on, an online price comparison tool. Would you buy the second copy for $141 on PriceGrabber, even if you couldn't resell it immediately? It's a tempting idea.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Guess what? Somebody already did!]

To start using this feature on ScoutPal, you will need to checkmark the "Buyer Waiting" option on your account's Format page. Here's what it looks like on ScoutPal's web site.

ScoutPal's Buyers Waiting alert works with ISBNs and UPCs. So in addition to books, it can alert you to pending orders on scarce music CDs, videos, and games. At least two of ScoutPal's competitors have also added Buyers Waiting alerts - and

>>>>>Click here for page two>>>>

Questions or comments?
Contact the editor, Craig Stark

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