Yesterday, being bored, I aimlessly surfed the web. Do people still say that? “Surf the web.” As I told my classes back in August:

I’m not hip to the phrasings of the youths.

Inevitably, I found myself browsing used bookstores. If only they were physical stores, where I might inhale that heady aroma of paper and glue and coffee . . . I digress.

I discovered a book I want to read – which one isn’t relevant (yet) – and headed to the search engines. Unsurprisingly, Amazon had the lowest price.

And by “lowest price”, I mean $85.00 once all taxes, fees, and shipping were included. As the late Douglas Adams¬†would say:

Bugger that for a load of fetid dingo’s kidneys.

Time to change search engines. ¬†This time, they returned a reasonably priced volume . . . on Amazon UK. After adjusting for all taxes and fees – and currency conversion – I’d need to fork over $47.00. OK, that’s better.

And then I noticed something: the seller. I recognized the seller as a company located here in the US; in fact, I’d estimate roughly 1/3 of the used books I’ve purchased online in the last 10 years have come through their warehouse. Hmm.

Back to Amazon US, where another search yields no such results. The seller doesn’t even appear to have a copy for sale.

So, let’s get this straight. I can purchase a book from a US seller through a UK website for about half the price of buying it from any seller through a US website.

What’s going on here?!?