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 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.