The Law of Multiple Prices

Let me just be clear that I haven’t anything smart or new to say in this post. I’m simply unhappy at the fact that I missed out on purchasing some books at the lowest price possible when Amazon refused to price match Barnes & Noble sale prices on these books.

The reason why I needed Amazon to price match in the first place is because I own a Kindle and not a Nook. Although I could read e-books sold by B&N even though I don’t have a Nook, I prefer to read e-books on my e-reader. For this, I need Amazon to sell these books at B&N prices.

The reason why Amazon could get away with not price matching is because due to various digital rights management (DRM) controls, retailers could lock in customers who have bought their devices to their store of books. They effectively manage to violate the law of one price and sell identical goods with no transportation cost for different prices!

Yes, yes, I realize the retailers are acting within their prerogatives in doing this although I’m less convinced about the business acumen of such a scheme. For instance, I’m not sure who ultimately benefits economically from DRM deployment, whether that be the retailers, publishers, or anybody at all. I am sure that as a consumer, I’m rather unhappy.

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