I occasionally search abe.com for military justice books I would like to own but don’t. (If anyone knows how I can buy a copy of Colonel Snedeker’s A Brief History of Courts-Martial or Homer Moyer’s Justice and the Military, please let me know.)

In making one of my periodic quixotic quests recently, I came across something that I find very odd. In 2000, William S. Hein & Co. republished the Navy OJAG’s incredibly useful Index and Legislative History, Uniform Code of Military Justice. You can still buy it from Hein for $115, though the need to do so has been largely supplanted by the Library of Congress’s free on-line file featuring the same material. But suppose I want to take it to the beach with me for some light sea-side reading, so I really want to buy the book. Since I can get a new copy from Hein for $115, why would I pay $318.47 for a used copy? It’s not like it’s signed by Professor Morgan.

Six copies of the Index are available on abe.com from three different book dealers. Every single one costs more than a new copy from Hein. I’m not a Law and Economics disciple, but I would have thought that the marketplace would be sufficiently rational to prevent such bizarre pricing. Can anyone explain this one to me?

7 Responses to “I don’t understand the used book market”

  1. John O'Connor says:

    Maybe the used ones highlight all the good stuff, thereby saving you the trouble of reading the whole thing.

  2. Phil Cave says:

    Oh dear, I think I may have donated either one or two of your selections to the NIMJ library last year — perhaps a massive donation?

  3. No Man says:

    Phil Cave shouold have a better than anticipated tax season, what next for you CAAFlog, trusts and estates advice?

    I may actually buy it now that it is available. I hate those online legis histories. Honestly, I never knew the Library of Congress had an entire site devoted to Military Legal resources Click Here For Library of Congress Military Legal Resources

  4. Anonymous says:

    If you are looking to buy used books, check out http://www.addall.com which is an aggregator site that searches about 40 used book sites. The price for any given volume can very at least 100%.


  5. Gordon says:

    I hope you’ll forgive my random posting. J. Robert Lilly came out with TAKEN BY FORCE this month. It’s a must-read for anyone who is interested in the history of military justice in the United States Army.

  6. Bridget Wilson says:

    I have a copy of Snedeker that I have also put on pdf for quick reference. [It does take a real MJ geek to have such a thing for “quick reference”]. Let me know if you want to have it forwarded.

    In re the purchase of the little book, several years ago I found it on ebay.

  7. Kathleen says:

    Phil, neither of those titles was in the donation to NIMJ, so there’s no need to lose sleep.