Amazon became a powerhouse by selling cheap books. Lately, it’s also become home to third-party sellers looking to make as much as $2,630.52 from a used paperback.
The e-commerce platform has recently featured listings for books costing anywhere from $600 to $3,204, according to The New York Times.
Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential was reportedly priced at $607, which is 100 times more expensive than other listings on Amazon. Fahrenheit 451, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and 1984 were also up for sale at $600, while titles like William T. Vollmann: A Critical Companion was priced at $3,204, according to the Times. That’s more than 32 times higher than the typical price.
Deborah Macgillivray, author of romance novels such as One Snowy Knight, noticed her book was being listed at prices as high as $2,630.52 (with free shipping, of course). On the other hand, some copies were reportedly being sold on Amazon for just 99 cents.
“There’s nothing illegal about someone listing an item for sale at whatever the market will bear, even if they don’t have the book but plan to buy it when someone orders it,” Macgillivray told the Times. “At the same time, I would think Amazon wouldn’t want their platform used for less than honorable practices.”
An Amazon representative told Techhnews the company has “pricing policies that help ensure customers find the lowest prices in the Amazon store, and we actively monitor and remove offers that violate those policies.”
Amazon is reportedly the largest seller of new and used books in the world. It directly sells some of those books, and others are sold by third parties. Those third parties are the ones hiking up prices, according to the Times.
The e-commerce giant on Monday kicked off Prime Day, a 36-hour sale featuring more than 1 million deals. But there’s reportedly a plethora of products being priced way higher than normal.
“Amazon is driving us insane with its willingness to allow third-party vendors to sell authors’ books with zero oversight,” Vida Engstrand, director of communications for Kensington, the publisher of One Snowy Knight, told The New York Times. “It’s maddening and just plain wrong.”
Amazon told the Times that listings for books like William T. Vollmann: A Critical Companion were “in error, and have since been removed.”
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