Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


What’s up with the "New and Used" Pricing on Amazon?

wierd-pricing.jpgSo having a book out, you start to notice all sorts of stuff about how Amazon works. (I’ve confirmed this with other first time authors.) One of the things that I just can’t figure out is the pricing people have for The New School.

There’s a new copy for 46.43. A mere 54% premium over list, and a whopping 234% of Amazon’s discounted price. There’s a used copy for $58.56. What the hell?

This isn’t unique to us. It happens for every book I’ve looked at.

Is this some sort of scheme to hide money from the tax collectors? I mean, I liked Cohen’s book, (incidentally reviewed here) but not to the tune of 600 bucks.

What’s going on? Your thoughts are welcome.

3 comments on "What’s up with the "New and Used" Pricing on Amazon?"

  • Nathaniel H. says:

    I’m wondering if people think there will be shortages of said book and hoping that people will pay a premium for it? I mean, I enjoyed the New School as much as the next person, but even if the first print run sold out, I wouldn’t pay 47-50 dollars for it. Thus, if a chance of a ‘shortage’ is the case, nothing much can be said for the seller’s intelligence.
    However, as one can see in many Massive Multiplayer Online Games (these are great untapped resources for studying a nearly laissez-faire economy), there will always be people who pay high prices for goods instead of waiting for a low price.
    I’m hoping someone has a somewhat more excited idea than this.

  • Dave says:

    It’s also rather interesting that the same store has a book listed at several different prices.
    Under your book (The New School), seller the_book_depository_ has two new copies listed at different prices, as does A1BOOKS and probably others.
    I’m not really sure what the idea is at all…

  • Drew Thaler says:

    It feels like a futures market. They’re betting on future shortages, like Nathaniel said.
    Probably not a bad strategy as long as you have some way to mitigate the cost of storing the book. Do you own a small bookstore? Hey, awesome! Then you were going to be storing it on your shelves anyway. So the net cost of offering it for sale online is zero, and if there is a shortage you’ll be making some money from it.
    Since people keep doing it, I suppose it’s probably got a decent marginal payoff rate. Until the world switches over to on-demand printing, most books only go through one print run. Shortages definitely happen, and there are always a few buyers who don’t care about the cost.

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