Friday, 7 November 2008

All That Glisters

While in my local charity shop some weeks ago, looking at such incunabula and 16th and 17th century works as they’d had in that week, I chanced upon a volume in a somewhat garish dust wrapper, emblazoned upon the front of which was a banner bearing the rubric “World’s Number One Best Seller.”

‘Well’, I reasoned – ‘This ought to be a good little earner’ – if it’s that good, everybody will want one’.

So I bought the volume, and then chased around all the other charity shops in the area, and a couple of car boots for good measure, thus managing to acquire another 27 copies. Fair enough, some of them were so-called “Book Club” editions, but for a World’s Number One Best Seller this shouldn’t matter too much, I’d have thought. People like clubs. It’s a security thing.

I duly prepared my new purchases for listing online, with my usual accurate and informative descriptions, pitching the prices fairly high to both create and control demand, and carefully photographed each one – no ‘stock’ photos for me, thank you – then uploaded both words and images, and waited for the orders to roll in.

But, do you know – I haven’t sold a single one. Something, somewhere is very wrong, as my so-called ‘best sellers’ have turned out in fact to be non-sellers.

Worse, I have since tried to read the book – I say ‘tried’ because I found it unreadable – a mere concatenation of scenes involving imaginative and potentially harmful sexual permutations, egregious violence, and shopping, with various plugs for overpriced branded products.

My question is – who can I sue?

The website for not doing their job properly and selling my books in the prescribed manner?
The publishers, for misleading point-of-sale advertising?
The charity shop, under the Trades Descriptions Act?
The author, for turning out such rubbish? or
The local Trading Standards department, for allowing such blatant chicanery?


All is not lost, my friends. I’ve just had an email from a very nice man in farthest Nigeria, offering to buy all my books, offering to pay me for express shipping, and happy to send me an international money order, even trusting me to send him any change after having worked out the shipping cost.

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