How Low Can a Book’s Price Go?

Editor’s Note: There must be a chimpanzee pushing buttons in the Amazon pricing booth. Two days after this post, in which I marveled that the cost of my book was marked down 48% by Amazon dot glom, Reincarnation & Other Stimulants returned to its full price. Three days after that, it dropped to 24% off. The moral of the story, Tarzan, is to check daily for bargains. When it hits half off again–jump!–because it doesn’t go lower than the mezzanine.


When it comes to Amazon dot com, one is always wondering, “How low can you go?”

No, I’m not speaking of their ethics. I’m speaking of their prices. And their pricing policies, the mechanics of which are unknown. In fact, the variations in some books’ prices track like New England weather—spring today, winter tomorrow, summer next week if you don’t pay attention. If someone understands what’s going on, it’s surely a mystery wrapped inside a bang-the-conundrum slowly.

Exhibit A has been my latest poetry collection, Reincarnation & Other Stimulants. I’ve been watching it roller coaster, and it’s a wilder ride than any Mr. Toad ever took.

Today, though, took all. Its price dropped to 48% off, $9.65. Halved like a grapefruit.

I’d like to say (indignantly) this hurts, but it doesn’t. In fact, though I don’t know why this book has been singled out (and my second from the same publisher, Lost Sherpa of Happiness, still selling for the manufactured retail, has not), I’m OK with it. Sharks need movement to live, poems need eyes. Cue the music.

So, yeah. If it moves a few books into Amazon’s cart. If it stuffs a few stockings. If it warms the hearts of a few poetry fans, all good. Sold books do wonders for the little guy (waves hand from the back row), so I hope the bottom line is that it helps my bottom line and attracts more readers. As for Amazon’s bottom line, nobody’s worried about that. No. Not in the least.

Merry 17 Days Until Christmas!