Roughly there are three groups of people who sell books. Keep in mind that I am making a broad generalization here. Some people may fit into more than one group.
- The first group consists of the people who have no idea what they are doing. They find a book somewhere, list it, and have no idea what they have. These people often have terrible descriptions and unintentionally mislead their buyers. However, they are the ones who often have the really good stuff that is "fresh from the wild." They are a dying breed, and they are what built eBay.
- The second group consists of people who tend to greatly overexaggerate the condition of their books. These are the sellers who have the RARE, STUNNING, and PRISTINE books. Some of these sellers are the ones who tell buyers that relatively common books are rare and that books that have yellowed pages are in "as new" condition.
- The third group consists of people who prefer the non-emotional approach. Books are described in a way that generally does not make them sound better than they are. At times, these sellers make the books sound worse than what they really are.
People who use variations of "first edition" and "first printing" sometimes think that people who use the terms in a different fashion are intentionally deceiving buyers. It is impossible to know when the intent is deception.
People who fit into the second and third groups that I mentioned above tend to think that people from the first group are deceiving their buyers on purpose when those people actually have no idea what they are doing.
People who fit into the third group often think that people in the second group are intentionally misleading buyers. In some cases, the sellers are misleading buyers. In other cases, the sellers are just extremely enthusiastic. As I have already stated, the exaggeration and even enthusiasm can be dangerous since many buyers avoid some of these sellers.
I have a specific example of how intent is interpreted differently by different people. I wish I could give more information, but I must be vague.
A certain seller was mentioned somewhere other than this blog in the last couple of years. One person stated how wonderful the seller is. Someone else reported a bad experience with that same seller. The bad experience involved a situation in which the seller did not describe all of the flaws and refused to accept a return or grant a refund of any of the buyer's money. The seller put the blame on the buyer.
I believed the report of a negative experience . I had bought from this seller, and I had had a not-so-great experience. I was disappointed because the seller did not mention the extent of a significant flaw that was not photographed. So, I believed the second person's comments, especially because of another personal experience with this seller that I do not wish to describe. Additionally, I have noticed deceptive tendencies in this seller's descriptions over the years. I wish I could explain, but I cannot reveal that information. Suffice it to say, I believed the negative comments.
At another point in time, both positive and negative opinions of this specific seller were given by other people. The conclusion is that to some people, this seller has the best of intentions, while to other people, this seller does not.
Does this seller have bad intentions? It depends upon who you ask and what your expectations are. The truth is probably somewhere in between the two opposing views.