Last year I published my children’s book about computer science, Lauren Ipsum. I set a price of $14.95 for the paperback edition and sales have been pretty good. Then last week I noticed a marketplace bot offering to sell it for $55.63. “Silly bots”, I thought to myself.
Then another piled on, and then an overseas dropshipper, and then another bot. Pretty soon they were offering my book below the retail price.
The punchline is that Amazon itself is a bot. Noticing all of this activity, it decided to put the book on sale! 28% off. I can’t wait to find out what that does to my margin.
It’s possible that the optimal price of Lauren Ipsum is, in fact, ten dollars and seventy-six cents and I should just relax and trust the tattooed hipster who wrote Amazon’s pricing algorithm. After all, I have no choice.
But I can’t help but think about that old gambler’s proverb: “If you can’t spot the sucker, it’s you.” (via)