Recently, I wrote about what I thought was a scam perpetrated by a group of people on Amazon. For an in depth explanation, take a look at this post. Basically, someone was listing a paperback version of my newly released book hours after I had self-published it. The odd thing is that their price was about 40-50 cents lower than mine.
After my investigation and rant, I reached out to a couple of well-known indie authors who champion indie rights and causes. One of those authors did reply. David Gaughran took some time to explain the whole thing to me.
It really isn’t a scam, per say. These are actually automated bots that are setup by third-party marketplace sellers to scour Amazon for items to sale. These bots compete with each other all the time, but sometimes their programming goes unchecked, which is why you see books listed at $1,000 or something crazy like that. When someone orders my book from Amazon, even if they choose a bot as a seller, the bot still buys their copy from Amazon to fulfill their order. So, in the case of my book, these bots will lose 40 cents. But, since they probably sell items by the hundreds, if not thousands, they probably end up making money in the long run. The important thing is that I’ll still get my royalties.
Anyway, David pointed me to this link, Amazon’s $23,698,655.93 book about flies, which is an amusing and interesting read. Have bots listed one of your books or products?