A *Really* Expensive Book

A book about flies was listed on Amazon with a sales price of $23,698,655.93 — plus shipping. This article explains how this came to be, revealing a little-known fact about e-commerce sites such as Amazon: Often, people don’t create and update prices; computers do.

Sellers pay third-party companies for algorithm services that automatically update prices. Some of these computer programs purportedly work very well, getting sellers up to 60% more sales because they underbid the competition automatically and repeatedly.

In this case two dealers used different programs to constantly adjust the prices of their books. The process continued to spiral upward until one reached the $23-million mark. Finally, one seller switched off the computer and the price dropped to a little over $100. But a few days later it had increased to nearly $1000, so perhaps the computers are in charge again.
http://www.cnn.com/2011/TECH/web/04/25/amazon.price.algorithm/index.html?eref=mrss_igoogle_cnn

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