If you think that John James Audubon’s Birds of America is the most expensive book in the market today, guess again. And it’s not even a rare copy or a best-seller of a book; it can be best described as either a practical joke, a marketing gimmick, or just a plain theory of economic conflict. The book, currently out of stock on Amazon, is actually a book titled The Making of a Fly: The Genetics of Animal Design by Peter A Lawrence that was listed as $23.6 million! How on earthy is that possible, you exclaim? Well, two of Amazon’s vendors are used competitive pricing algorithms that are trying to maximize profits!
The internet merchants in contention named “profanity” and “bordeebook,” we’re using a rather simple algorithm, linking their prices to that of the other, as understood and explained by UC Berkeley associate professor Michael Eisen. Prof. Eisen retorts, “At first I thought it was a joke – a graduate student with too much time on their hands. But there were TWO new copies for sale, each being offered for well over a million dollars. And the two sellers seemed not only legit but fairly big time (over 8,000 and 125,000 ratings in the last year, respectively). The prices looked random – suggesting a computer set them. But how did they get so out of whack?” He goes on to add, “Peter Lawrence can now comfortably boast that one of the biggest and most respected companies on Earth valued his great book at $23,698,655.93 (plus $3.99 shipping).
As per Prof. Eisen’s observation, at a given time of day, profnath set its price at 0.9983 times its competitor’s. When bordeebook realized the change, they set the price 1.270589 times that of profnath’s. It was brought to notice when prices hit the $23.6 million mark. A new seller named Jason Pitt has put it up for $158.90, but you can feel important by getting hold of the $976.98 version from bordeebook. The book also comes under Amazon’s Buyback scheme, which will take the book off your shoulders for a meager $2.34.