Does my book actually exist?

I ordered an out-of-print book from Amazon Canada on July 19; they e’d back that my book would be shipped between Aug. 18 and Sept. 1, and would arrive between Aug. 30 and Sept. 26. Hmmm.

Tonight I get an e-mail:

Whu-huh? I mean, either the book exists or it doesn’t! Are they having a half-blind monk with a stylus copy one for me, page by page? Does it belong to a dying person, and they have to wait to pry it from his cold, dead hands?

Has this ever happened to you? Are they just having me on, and the book will never actually be shipped?

I had this happen with a hard-to-find CD once. It got back ordered, and more back ordered, and more back ordered … over two or three months as I recall. Finally I got a notice from them saying something along the lines of “If you still want this item, let us know, otherwise we’ll cancel your order” followed shortly thereafter by a notice that my order was cancelled.

Interestingly, the CD is still listed as available. I may try to re-order it some day.

First–you are talking about an Amazon Marketplace order, not Amazon itsself. They are independent booksellers that use Amazon as a payment system & guarrantor.** I know, I buy and sell books on Amazon Marketplace.**

Second, you are still guarenteed a refund by Amazon if there is a problem.

Third–there is obviously a serious problem here.

Contact them by e-mail ASAP. Make it clear that this is a used book, & demand clarification with a time limit you set. If they do not meet this, or the response is in any way unsatisfactory, e-mail & demand a refund, explaining that the order is confused. If no results, contact Amazon, & complain.

Happened to me a quite a few times - guess I should buy fewer obscure books. You sound like you’re in the first part of the runaround. It’s not a case of whether the book exists or not, it’s a case of whether Amazon can get hold of a copy from their suppliers. And there’s no way of telling if they will be successful.

I reckon on a 50% chance of the book turning up if I get that sort of message.

Yes, I tried to order the first Repairman Jack novel and after 4 months of delays I finally canceled the order.

There was another one, I children’t Christmas tale by Koontz called Santa’s Twin that I eventually canceled when in, in March, they postponed it once again (it *would *have been a gift for my godson had it ever arrived.)

And I just had it happen recently, but I can’t remember the book. It was on order all summer and finally at the end of august I canceled it.

First thing I did was e-mail Amazon and ask “WTF?” I was the happiest little girl in all of Toyland when I found that book “available” on Amazon Canada, I’ve been looking for it for years, everywhere. Why did they raise my hopes like this? Why do they dangle shiny objects in front of me only to yank them away?

I am going out in the yard and eat worms.

I have it from an insider that if an item, any item (marketplace or otherwise) says it ships within 2-4 weeks, it is likely not available and will never ship.

This discussion followed my frustration in having ordered a Waifs CD which I had intended on giving as a Christmas gift and by the end of January I still didn’t have it. Your clue is: “Usually ships within 2-4 weeks.” That means “never.”

I’ve had lots of success with Bookfinder and have bought a few books from Alibris.

Good luck, Eve

I’ve just started down the “selling books on Amazon” on the side route myself.
When I purchase obscure stuff and am trying to find comps, I have found the most useful site of all to be Addall.


When you absolutely can’t find it anywhere else, addall sometimes turns it up.
Also try “Abebooks” at if you’re at the end of your rope.

/me looks around…oh, here we go: A book I ordered.

As you can see, this one took almost two years. To be fair, when I ordered it, it hadn’t yet been released, but was due out in one to two months.

Oh, and in regards to the OP, read up on drop shipping as a business model.
Some rather obnoxious seller practices stem from the practice, including advertising crap you don’t have with prices based on other seller’s prices, sometimes not too current.

There’s a nice page with a bunch of good book seller and library searches linked, here:

“Ships in 2-4 weeks” doesn’t always mean “never”. Interestingly, also on July 19, I ordered a DVD from Amazon Canada (regular Amazon, not marketplace) because it was not available in the U.S. At the time, the listing indicated that it would ship in 2-5 weeks. The shipping estimate was August 16-August 30. As time dragged on, I got increasingly nervous about whether I would ever see my DVD. Every time I checked the listing, the shipping time changed (mostly it was some variety of weeks, but once it said 2-4 days, and then switched back a few days later to some large number of weeks). As August 30 approached, I began mentally composing an e-mail to, asking them if I was ever going to receive my DVD, or if I should cancel my order and try my luck on the secondary market. But when I went into my account on August 31, it said that my DVD had shipped on August 29. Now, to be fair, I still haven’t actually received my DVD, and doesn’t seem to track international shipments. But another order I placed there did eventually arrive, so I have high hopes. I’m still wondering why it took so long to ship my DVD.

Just wanted to let you know that it’s possible that your book will eventually ship.

I do get some items when they say “4-6 weeks,” but there is certainly some considerable doubt. I don’t count on these items for gifts. It think Amazon is a little misleading in this practice.

I made the mistake of opting for the free shipping once on several items that included one that said, “ships in 4 to 6 weeks.” I would still be waiting (months later) if I hadn’t cancelled that item and relisted it separately.

Eve, you’ve gotta tell us the title of this book you’ve been searching for years. I’m guessing it’s an Elinor Glyn novel.

Here it is!

I ordered three somewhat obscure books by Quino back in March. One of them arrived in August, and I’ve got the “book might exist” message about four times.

It’s happened to me, and happened again recently. I ordered a book in early June and the expected ship date was moved forward 3 or 4 times, the last being sometime in October. I finally cancelled the order and ordered the book used. I think it happens when the publisher is in the middle of reprinting, but that’s just a guess.

Nope, I’ve tried all other online bookselling search sources, here and abroad, and they either say “Item not in stock” or direct me right back to that same damn Amazon listing.


This has happened to me twice on Amazon – direct from Amazon, not those Amazon affiliates. In both cases, they were Spanish language books that presumably had to be imported from someplace in Latin America. I don’t remember the details of the first time, other than they cancelled my order after three months. But the most recent time was this year, and every few weeks I’d get the “if you still want this, let us know” email, to which I responded about four or five times. Eventually, they just told me “sorry, bub” and cancelled the order. I immediately searched for the book again on Amazon, found it, and it arrived a week later. I don’t know if it was a different edition or what. I didn’t care; it was just cheap pulp crap fiction in paperback or tradeback or something. I wonder, then, why in cases like this Amazon’s system isn’t smart enough to say, “Hey, I can’t get Sangre Azteca for you in Spanish, but I can get you this Sangre Azteca in Spanish.” Really – what’s the difference? It’s not some rare book going to a collector for crying out loud. ::shrug:: Oh well, got the job done finally.

This doesn’t entirely explain my Amazon Marketplace puzzle, but does shed light on it.

Back in May I ordered a manga titled Blue by Kiriko Nananan. Every time I checked my open orders for the next three months, it was always just about to be shipped. Then suddenly in August every trace of my order vanished down an Orwellian “memory hole.” No electronic evidence remained that I had ever ordered it. How can they do that?