Book asking price on Amazon exceeds GDP of Tajikistan
There’s a lot you can do with £500 billion. You could buy Apple Inc. You could plug the annual US budget deficit. Or you could get a second hand copy of a handbook for careers advisers from UK_Bookstore.
This unlikely offer has materialized because UK_Bookstore, who have a substantial presence on Amazon, have unwittingly allowed a computer programme to run out of control.
Rather than value their thousands of books individually, they seem to have an algorithm that looks at the market and sets a strategic price based on the competition.
The fun starts when this goes wrong.
Somehow, the store seems to be adjusting its valuation of their used copy of The One to One Toolkit to compete strategically with… itself. The result is that it out-prices itself every few hours, to the extent that the valuation no longer fits in the space provided.
Author Julie Cooper noticed the oddity when the price topped £2m and posted it on Facebook. Every few hours the price leapt by about 40%, so that pretty soon it had overtaken a book that had been on offer for $23m, before someone noticed and manually restored sanity (http://www.michaeleisen.org/blog/?p=358).
It became ‘the Billion Pound Book’. Then only 160 people in the world could afford to buy it. Then there was just Bill Gates and three other guys with deep enough pockets. And quickly there was no individual on the planet rich enough.
Now we’re into the numbers juggled by corporations and national governments, and still the asking price goes up.
Let’s be straight, however: this isn’t a story of wanton capitalist greed.
It’s just a quirky little tale of a computer algorithm going wildly, pointlessly, remarkably wrong.
From: Julie Cooper
- You can check the latest price at: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-One-Toolkit-Strategies-Advisers/dp/0955968003
o Where you see the paperback offered for £50 click on the “+” button.