Amazon pricing craziness

Nov 17, 2010 | George Fairbanks

My book is for sale on Amazon but its price has fluctuated wildly. This has happened enough times now that I’m willing to venture a guess. It seems that when the book is out of stock, the price drops to just under $44. When it is in stock, it sells for list price, $69.75.

I recently wrote to them to ask why my book was selling for list price while other architecture books were consistently discounted (e.g., the SEI books and Jim Copelien’s new Lean Architecture book). Their boilerplate reply was “We control the horizontal, we control the vertical, do not adjust your set” (Yes, a reference to The Outer Limits TV show).

If you are in the USA

If you’d prefer to pay a reasonable price instead of the list price (in truth, the list price is nominal and only used to set the mandatory 55% discount that Amazon gets), you have two options:

  • Buy the book from Softpro for $39.50. Softpro is a small, technical bookstore in Denver, so it’s doubly nice to be supporting the little guy.

  • Buy the book from me (Rhino Research) on Amazon for $39.75. The book is “Fulfilled By Amazon”, which means that it sits in Amazon’s warehouse, is shipped and packed by Amazon, is eligible for free super saver shipping, and has Amazon’s same return policy (not that you would return it). In other words, there’s really no difference.

If you are elsewhere

Amazon.ca and Amazon.jp sell the book, but not (yet) Amazon.uk or Amazon.de. They (and any other bookstore in the world) could stock the book, they just haven’t, so if you want it, ask them to order it for you.

Of course there’s also the E-Book (PDF, ePub, Mobi) for $25. That seems to be the most popular option for those not in the USA.

About

George Fairbanks is a software developer, designer, and architect living in New York city

Contact

gf-web@georgefairbanks.com
124 W 60th St #37L
New York, NY 10023
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Twitter: @GHFairbanks