A Renewed "Half Life"<br>Half.com Lives
Now that we've established Half's strength, here are a few more examples. They have a list of books which they ask you to rate for interest so they can make personal recommendations. Instead, let's rate them for price. How about the 1992 "classic" Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. Really? I thought Martians were from Mars. I have absolutely no interest in buying this book, and that's a shame. The reason is that Half has a copy for just $0.75. The lowest I can find on Amazon is $1.89, Barnes and Noble $1.99, Alibris $2.95, and Abe $1.00 (though they have 68 copies available at that price). When I try another $0.75 Half book, The Andromeda Strain, and mostly find the same prices, I realize that these were mainly minimum prices. Only Amazon, at $1.50, changes, while Abe now has 115 copies available for $1.00. Score two for Half.com.
Tuesdays With Morrie is another score for Half. Just $1.30. Barnes and Noble wants $1.99, Alibris $2.95, Abe $3.00, and Amazon $4.99. However, Half.com is not always the cheapest. They want $4.81 for the cheapest copy available of Pearl Buck's Good Earth. Abe has six copies for $1.00, Amazon wants $1.57, Barnes and Noble $2.96, and Alibris, as always, wants $2.95. This time, "Half.com" should be called "Twice.com."
Everything has its place. Half.com has its place. If you sell only serious books, "serious" being a synonym for "expensive," Half.com is not the place to list. I don't know if Men are from Mars or Tuesdays with Morrie will ever be collectible, but certainly not in my lifetime. This is not a site for collectible books, rare books, antiquarian books, or any other type of pricey books. It is a site for books you want to read and don't care what edition it is, who printed it, when it was printed, or whether it is in "fine" condition. In fact, for this, it is a very good site. I'm glad eBay decided to keep it alive. I hope it survives long enough to still be around when Men are from Mars is considered a collectible classic, though that will be a sad day indeed.