Posted on January 11, 2013
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When Pricing Doesn't Make Sense
I listened to's interview with Saul Williams. I am not familiar with him and was interested in his music, so I looked some up on Amazon. That's when I saw this gem: his eponymous album is $9.99 in the MP3 store. That's not atypical, so no biggie. However, the physical CD is $7.99. That's also not the weirdest thing in the world to have the physical good a little cheaper than the digital. I see it in the Kindle store with regularity and while weird and annoying, isn't earth shattering.
Where it gets really weird is with the addition of Amazon's AutoRip feature. If I buy the above CD, I'll automatically get the MP3 versions. By paying the lower price, I get both products. It's cheaper for me to buy the physical CD, get the free Prime shipping and have it sent to me, have Amazon box it up and ship it to me where I throw it away or give it to Goodwill without opening it than it is to buy the MP3s. That's when life doesn't make sense.
Amazon will automatically lower the prices of Kindle books if it detects them cheaper at a competing store. Why can't it do the same thing for itself? I don't want the physical CD so why force me to have you send it to me to get the better pricing? Amazon is definitely not making more money that way.