Amazon, Opportunity Costs, and $25

The big hubbub and rhubarb over the past weekend was the ginormous Saturday sale on expensive comic book collections on Amazon.  Well, it looked like a sale, and some were able to buy $100 Marvel Omnibus for $8.24!  For more details check out Bully’s or The Comics Beat’s rundown of the situation.

Apparently there was some glitch in the pricing and Amazon has now canceled most/many/some of the orders, and offered the following apology:

Hello, We wanted to follow up on a recent message we sent about the cancellation of your recent order.

To recap: Due to a pricing error, we sold many more graphic novels than expected. In fact, we completely sold out — we don’t have any in stock right now, and we’re not sure when we’ll be able to get more.

We’re sorry for any frustration the issue may have caused, and have applied a $25 promotional certificate to your account.

You can use it the next time you order an item shipped and sold by Amazon.com. You’ll see your available promotional balance at checkout–this amount will be applied to your next order automatically without entering a claim code.

I hope this helps. We look forward to seeing you again soon.

Well, the problem is not isolated to Amazon.  The good people at Barnes & Noble were also offering copies of  those same expensive collections at $14.99 just this evening.  Apparently B&N got wise to the glitch more quickly and now the online listings say “A new copy  is not available from Barnes & Noble at this time.”

Borders, financially capsizing, has not chosen to follow suit.  Yet.

Publishers Weekly is now reporting that Amazon currently is not selling any books that are distributed via Diamond Book Distributors – zippo.  You can still buy the title through other sellers, but not Amazon.  “Amazon has been forced to temporarily take down buy buttons for all titles supplied by Diamond in order to correct the problem.  According to the source, Amazon has to do an audit to figure out which customers got books and at what prices.”

Not being a fan of trolls, I won’t engage those who suggest this is an indication that the comic book market or system for distribution is “broken”.  I ain’t a retailer – just a reader.  But I do find the situation fascinating.  How would you like to be Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, any publisher, and be shut out of Amazon for any period of time?  What a mess.

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