Mail from a Moron

On September 5, 2006, I received the e-mail below from Steve Ball, owner of Book Nook of Orange County. As he cc'd his mail to <>, I feel free to reproduce it below, together with my replies (in blue).

Subject: Your book price-gouging rant.
Date: Tue, 5 Sep 2006 09:06:37 -0700
From: Steve Ball" <>
Organization: Book Nook of Orange County
To: <>
CC: <>

Dear Mr. Aman,

I'm shocked and dismayed that our company, Book Nook of Orange County, did not make the cut in your vulture rant at This is probably because we currently have none of your product listed. Duh.

Dear Moron:

I'll be happy to add you to the price-gouging vultures. Look at the bottom of this page, below the horizontal line:

I do recall, however, that we once did have a copy of "Classic American Grafitti" for which we managed to con some hapless consumer out of fifty bucks (i.e.: charged current market price to a grateful buyer for a fairly scarce item that he had been unable to find elsewhere.)

1. The market price is $7.50 and has been so since 1988.
2. It's not a "fairly scarce item." More than 500 brand-new copies are readily available.
3. Your "grateful buyer" is a naive schmuck who fell for your "discount prices" bullshit. (See below.)

Do you have the balls, Mr. Ball, to tell your "grateful buyer" that you gleefully fucked him out of some $40? And do you have the morals to refund most of your price-gouging $50-charge to that sucker?

Would you please consider expanding your list to include PAST greedy vultures?

Why not? In addition to you, there is an anonymous vulture who peddles books under the name of "Luftmensch" (actual name: M. Schapiro). He may be a librarian in New York City and in 2002 peddled Read's Graffiti for $100. I already exposed him on July 9, 2002, in Updates 2 (which see for even more vultures).

Luftmensch Books
P.O. Box 668
New York, NY 10009

What I find amusing is that this price-gouging vulture has the chutzpah to call himself "Luftmensch" (Yiddish luftmensh or luftmentsh, lit. "air person"; someone who lives from air, i.e., without visible means of support; also a dreamer, an impractical person).

Well, strike the word "past"; we do our best to be greedy vultures on virtually every title we sell. It's just that, currently and sadly, none appear to be titles to which you hold copyright.

So, in addition to gloating and bragging that you fucked a hapless sucker out of $50 for Read's $7.50 Graffiti, you're boasting that virtually every title you sell is obscenely overpriced? If that is the case and you have any morals, how can you brag on your Web page (and on other sites) that you sell books at a discount? To wit:

-- We want
BOOK NOOK OF ORANGE COUNTY to be your discount source for fine used (and new!) books [...]

-- Book Nook of Orange County: An Internet discount source for fine used books.

-- Welcome to Book Nook of Orange County, your Internet Source for fine used books at discount prices. Our prices are low because:

"A book in your hand is worth two on our shelves."

E-mail us at; phone us at (714) 573-9093; write us at PMB 103, 13681 Newport Ave., Ste #8, Tustin, CA 92780-7815.

Because you are obviously a moron, I doubt that you are capable of realizing that your trademarked slogan, "A book in your hand is worth two on our shelves" just plain sucks. It's illogical, idiotic & incredibly stupid. When you walk down the street in Tustin, do people point at you and snicker, "That's Steve Ball, the moron who says 'A book in your hand is worth two on our shelves' and that's the reason why his prices are low."?

Copyright..... hmm.... Based on the concept of intellectual property rights... which is based on the concept of property rights in general..... hmm... which presupposes an ability to freely act on what one considers to be one's own interests.... And which implies that all people have an equal right to maximize their property as they see fit.... AND which is inextricably tied in with, among other things, the "personal" freedom of free speech. >>> hard to pick and choose from the entire conceptual package, but people DO manage to do so (that's what makes politics).

My God, you are a moron. Property rights --> Copyright --> Freedom of Speech --> Price-gouging is your right. You flunked Logic 101, right?

I'm sure you see where I'm headed here.

Sorry, your Byzantine thought-processes are beyond my ken, despite my Ph.D. in Medieval Literature and Linguistics.

I detect a wee bit of inconsistency here between your rags against copyright infringement (misuse of the name "Maledicta")

The name "Maledicta" is not copyrighted but trademarked; the journal Maledicta is copyrighted.

and those who seek to limit your freedom of speech to say and print damned near anything you want, versus your rag against the free market concept of freely-adjustable market pricing (i.e.: price rationing / gouging).

Apples & oranges. What does your irrelevant claptrap about Freedom of Speech have to do with price-gouging used-book-peddling vultures?

In closing, have a great day, and please add us to your shit list.

Done, with pleasure. And lay off the cheap booze, bozo.

Best Regards,
Steve Ball, Owner
Book Nook of Orange County

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Greedy Book-Peddling Vultures!"