Amazon’s bullshit

Bryan Chaffin fills in the “gaps” that Amazon tends to leave out of its numbers.



  • dreyfus2

    Interesting, but I think he gets a bit lost in details after making the truly important point a side note in his introduction.

    Outside of, say, bibles and yellow pages people do not really buy books they don’t intend to read. And books do not really compare well to, say, food. I might buy the cheaper toast, but I won’t buy Dre’s bio over the new Pynchon, just because it is a Dollar cheaper. The market for any book is finite, and unless you talk about dirty pictures, lowering the price won’t increase your audience.

    • Walt French

      People WILL buy books on a whim… I’ve seen the suggestion that the Piketty “Capital” is very little-read, being highly-praised but pretty dense.

      The question is whether a single buyer will buy enough MORE books in total, at a lower price point, to recoup the lower revenues. That question, for a publisher with fixed costs and with Amazon trying to squeeze the fraction of revenues, is easily answered, “NO!”

      The Amazon equation could turn books into the problem we now see app developers claiming: that the formula works OK for the top 100, but guarantees that nobody else gets a chance. I think books need a different definition of success than simply how many of a title Amazon can sell.

  • Markus

    Bryan talks about how easy it is to destroy the Amazon B.S. but pulls his arguments “out of thin air” (mentions a couple of times that he “doesn’t know”), argues “publisher equals quality” (without any proof) and stretches his rant over four pages. Seems it was not soooo easy. Moreover, he doesn’t address at all Amazons argument that ebooks are competing for a given entertainment budget. Paying more for an ebook leaves less on the table for the next buy: 30$ gives the reader two 14.99$ or three 9.99$ ebooks. In addition, Amazon argues that ebooks should be cheaper than print books because they are limited (no lending, …), but in fact, Hachette ebooks are often more expensive than the print edition. Of cause, Amazon argues from the seller point of view and distributing ebooks is cheaper than to stock and ship print books. But where is Hachettes argument? I don’t see Bryan Chaffin offering a lot of inside other than his vague elastic pricing theory.

    • Meaux

      And his vague elastic price theory is terrible. There tends to be inflection points at round numbers. Going from $119 to $99 will have a bigger effect than going from $149 to $119 because psychologically going under $100 has a big effect.