“Many booksellers on Amazon strive to sell their wares as cheaply as possible. That, after all, is usually how you make a sale in a competitive marketplace. Other merchants favor a counterintuitive approach: Mark the price up to the moon. “Zowie,” the romance author Deborah Macgillivray wrote on Twitter last month after she discovered copies of her 2009 novel, “One Snowy Knight,” being offered for four figures. One was going for “$2,630.52 & FREE Shipping,” she noted. Since other copies of the paperback were being sold elsewhere on Amazon for as little as 99 cents, she was perplexed. “How many really sell at that price? Are they just hoping to snooker some poor soul?” Ms. Macgillivray wrote in an email. She noted that her blog had gotten an explosion in traffic from Russia. “Maybe Russian hackers do this in their spare time, making money on the side,” she said.
Zowie. Amazon is selling copies of my One Snowy Knight for $1,558.59 + $5.49 shipping + $0.00 estimated tax or $2,630.52 & FREE Shipping + $0.00 estimated tax Hang in there, it’s being reprinted in July for MUCH less…lol pic.twitter.com/eEqWUzg7kf
— Deborah Macgillivray (@Scotladywriter) June 5, 2018
Amazon is by far the largest marketplace for both new and used books the world has ever seen, and is also one of the most inscrutable. The retailer directly sells some books, while others are sold by third parties. The wild pricing happens with the latter. Books were Amazon’s first product. They made the company’s reputation and powered Jeff Bezos’ ascent to his perch as the world’s richest person. Amazon sold books so cheaply that land-based shops could not compete. It controls about half the market for new books, more than any bookseller in the history of the United States…”
“Amazon is driving us insane with its willingness to allow third-party vendors to sell authors’ books with zero oversight,” said Vida Engstrand, director of communications for Kensington, which published “One Snowy Knight.” “It’s maddening and just plain wrong.”