Some unbelievable pricing? Sure is!

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Lance
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Some unbelievable pricing? Sure is!

Post by Lance » Wed Feb 21, 2018 1:56 am

I was just looking over the Amazon site regarding Henri Temianka, the late violinist. He and pianist Leonard Shure made a recording of Beethoven's ten violin sonatas (complete) at Washington, D. C.'s Library of Congress in 1946. This is what it looks like:

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com ... 3,200_.jpg
Doremi 8011-3

For those interested, it is available for $9,218.46, or a little cheaper for $8,772.62.

Also on the same Amazon site are other offers for the very same title at less than $50/USD. Would anyone in their right mind ever even consider buying the Korean imported set? Are we losing our minds? And this is for a "used" set that will also cost $3.94 for shipping charges. Why would Amazon even put up something like this? I am glad that I already have my copy but would be willing to part with it for $10 less than those prices shown above and no postal fees. ANY TAKERS?
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maestrob
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Re: Some unbelievable pricing? Sure is!

Post by maestrob » Wed Feb 21, 2018 1:28 pm

Wow! ......And I thought that the complete Heifetz collection for $913.97 was amazing!

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Re: Some unbelievable pricing? Sure is!

Post by Lance » Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:46 pm

I have the first "Heifetz Edition" that came out in a set of two Plexiglas cases in 1996. I never see that one advertised at all these days, but then the other one you mention is the latest more complete original jacket edition with all the RCA, EMI, and Decca recordings, plus bonuses. This latter set is not all that old. Apparently it is out-of-print now. But when one thinks of having all the original LPs, CDs, and then they are reissued in these mega boxes, there is a lot of duplicity or triplicity (or more) of works. I rather enjoy, however, original jacket collections. Sony Classical/RCA did the same thing with the Artur Rubinstein editions. Two prices are showing for the Rubinstein second collection (original jackets): $998.11 and and $1,599.99. If one can afford to get these mega sets when they first come out, great. If not, be prepared to pay four or five times the original price. I don't see them on the preowned market either. Must be people are keeping them realizing what they have!
maestrob wrote:
Wed Feb 21, 2018 1:28 pm
Wow! ......And I thought that the complete Heifetz collection for $913.97 was amazing!
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
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barney
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Re: Some unbelievable pricing? Sure is!

Post by barney » Thu Feb 22, 2018 4:55 pm

I don't really understand the prices for Rubinstein or Heifetz, because surely the sets can be reissued at any time. I bought the 140-CD Rubinstein set for $99 at the time. At least the one Lance cites is unlikely to have its value reduced by being reissued. Not that I am much interested in it...

Holden Fourth
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Re: Some unbelievable pricing? Sure is!

Post by Holden Fourth » Thu Feb 22, 2018 5:12 pm

I'm so glad I got my Rubinstein collection when it first came out. I think it was $104.00. Not bad for 142 discs.

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Re: Some unbelievable pricing? Sure is!

Post by Len_Z » Fri Feb 23, 2018 4:33 am

I don't think Amazon has anything to do with the pricing from third-party sellers. As long as they don't violate any rules they can ask for as much as they want for the items they are offering. I am not sure who buys from them though. As the saying goes, 'there's a sucker born every minute' :) Or maybe the sellers are just crazy and have no clue about what they're doing.

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Re: Some unbelievable pricing? Sure is!

Post by Lance » Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:24 pm

I have noted that Japanese sellers are often the most pricey of product that can be had for substantially lower pricing.
Len_Z wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 4:33 am
I don't think Amazon has anything to do with the pricing from third-party sellers. As long as they don't violate any rules they can ask for as much as they want for the items they are offering. I am not sure who buys from them though. As the saying goes, 'there's a sucker born every minute' :) Or maybe the sellers are just crazy and have no clue about what they're doing.
Lance G. Hill
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rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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RebLem
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Re: Some unbelievable pricing? Sure is!

Post by RebLem » Fri Feb 23, 2018 5:06 pm

Here's one that is not quite as outrageous, but is still pretty bad. $912 for 40 CDs?
https://www.amazon.com/Georges-Cziffra- ... es+Cziffra
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Re: Some unbelievable pricing? Sure is!

Post by jserraglio » Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:39 am

Some of these obviously computer-generated weird prices can be the result of a seller who uses algorithmic pricing to respond to another seller's price (that appears to be the case with this LvB Doremi set), some may be simply placeholders to protect inventory on items the seller does not possess or intend to sell at that point, and some may be deliberately set, e.g., by a seller to force the selling price upward by making a lower (i.e., less inflated) price appear reasonable by comparison with the nutty one.

— • —

Amazon’s $23,698,655.93 book about flies
By MIchael EIsen
APRIL 22, 2011

A few weeks ago a postdoc in my lab logged on to Amazon to buy the lab an extra copy of Peter Lawrence’s The Making of a Fly – a classic work in developmental biology that we – and most other Drosophila developmental biologists – consult regularly. The book, published in 1992, is out of print. But Amazon listed 17 copies for sale: 15 used from $35.54, and 2 new from $1,730,045.91 (+$3.99 shipping).

I sent a screen capture to the author – who was appropriately amused and intrigued. But I doubt even he would argue the book is worth THAT much.

At first I thought it was a joke – a graduate student with too much time on their hands. But there were TWO new copies for sale, each be offered for well over a million dollars. And the two sellers seemed not only legit, but fairly big time (over 8,000 and 125,000 ratings in the last year respectively). The prices looked random – suggesting they were set by a computer. But how did they get so out of whack?

Amazingly, when I reloaded the page the next day, both priced had gone UP! Each was now nearly $2.8 million. And whereas previously the prices were $400,000 apart, they were now within $5,000 of each other. Now I was intrigued, and I started to follow the page incessantly. By the end of the day the higher priced copy had gone up again. This time to $3,536,675.57. And now a pattern was emerging.
Clearly at least one of the sellers was setting their price algorithmically in response to changes in the other’s price.

On the day we discovered the million dollar prices, the copy offered by bordeebook was1.270589 times the price of the copy offered by profnath. And now the bordeebook copy was 1.270589 times profnath again. So clearly at least one of the sellers was setting their price algorithmically in response to changes in the other’s price. I continued to watch carefully and the full pattern emerged.

Once a day profnath set their price to be 0.9983 times bordeebook’s price. The prices would remain close for several hours, until bordeebook “noticed” profnath’s change and elevated their price to 1.270589 times profnath’s higher price. The pattern continued perfectly for the next week.

But two questions remained. Why were they doing this, and how long would it go on before they noticed? As I amusedly watched the price rise every day, I learned that Amazon retailers are increasingly using algorithmic pricing (something Amazon itself does on a large scale), with a number of companies offering pricing algorithms/services to retailers. Both profnath and bordeebook were clearly using automatic pricing – employing algorithms that didn’t have a built-in sanity check on the prices they produced. But the two retailers were clearly employing different strategies.

The behavior of profnath is easy to deconstruct. They presumably have a new copy of the book, and want to make sure theirs is the lowest priced – but only by a tiny bit ($9.98 compared to $10.00). Why though would bordeebook want to make sure theirs is always more expensive? Since the prices of all the sellers are posted, this would seem to guarantee they would get no sales. But maybe this isn’t right – they have a huge volume of positive feedback – far more than most others. And some buyers might choose to pay a few extra dollars for the level of confidence in the transaction this might impart. Nonetheless this seems like a fairly risky thing to rely on – most people probably don’t behave that way – and meanwhile you’ve got a book sitting on the shelf collecting dust. Unless, of course, you don’t actually have the book….

My preferred explanation for bordeebook’s pricing is that they do not actually possess the book. Rather, they noticed that someone else listed a copy for sale, and so they put it up as well – relying on their better feedback record to attract buyers. But, of course, if someone actually orders the book, they have to get it – so they have to set their price significantly higher – say 1.27059 times higher – than the price they’d have to pay to get the book elsewhere.

What’s fascinating about all this is both the seemingly endless possibilities for both chaos and mischief. It seems impossible that we stumbled onto the only example of this kind of upward pricing spiral – all it took were two sellers adjusting their prices in response to each other by factors whose products were greater than 1. And while it might have been more difficult to deconstruct, one can easily see how even more bizarre things could happen when more than two sellers are in the game. And as soon as it was clear what was going on here, I and the people I talked to about this couldn’t help but start thinking about ways to exploit our ability to predict how others would price their books down to the 5th significant digit – especially when they were clearly not paying careful attention to what their algorithms were doing.

But, alas, somebody ultimately noticed. The price peaked on April 18th, but on April 19th profnath’s price dropped to $106.23, and bordeebook soon followed suit to the predictable $106.23 * 1.27059 = $134.97. But Peter Lawrence can now comfortably boast that one of the biggest and most respected companies on Earth valued his great book at $23,698,655.93 (plus $3.99 shipping.

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Re: Some unbelievable pricing? Sure is!

Post by Lance » Sat Feb 24, 2018 12:56 pm

Yes, that's a truly fabulous set put out by EMI (before the Warner takeover?), which includes Cziffra's Philips recordings owned by Universal. I got that set when it first came out due to my profound interest in the art of pianist Georges Cziffra. I have checked various sites to see how used copies were faring price-wise but was unable to locate even one. So, again, these mega-CD sets may sell well when they first come out and eventually dry up after so much time probably not scheduled to be released again.
RebLem wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 5:06 pm
Here's one that is not quite as outrageous, but is still pretty bad. $912 for 40 CDs?
https://www.amazon.com/Georges-Cziffra- ... es+Cziffra
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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maestrob
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Re: Some unbelievable pricing? Sure is!

Post by maestrob » Sat Feb 24, 2018 1:12 pm

barney wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 4:55 pm
I don't really understand the prices for Rubinstein or Heifetz, because surely the sets can be reissued at any time. I bought the 140-CD Rubinstein set for $99 at the time. At least the one Lance cites is unlikely to have its value reduced by being reissued. Not that I am much interested in it...
Hi, Barney!

I think the point is that we collectors do not expect these mega-boxes to be reissued, so we grab them as they become available. The record companies also benefit by reselling older titles that are, by themselves, not marketable, unless packaged with stereo recordings, even though we love hearing and owning them. Personally, I'm grateful that Sony and Warner are willing to spend the time and money to offer these collections, in spite of predictions about the "death" of the CD. I, for one, don't buy that scenario, frankly. I think that CDs will continue to be made and marketed for many, many years ahead.

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Re: Some unbelievable pricing? Sure is!

Post by Lance » Sat Feb 24, 2018 1:32 pm

If the death of the CD as we know it is imminent (due to downloading more and more), then that's where I stop. I have enough music to last for several lifetimes. While the LP seems to be coming back to some degree, I don't believe that will outlast the CD. I don't intend to download unless it's of great historic value and is available no other way at least for the artists in whom I an interested (mostly pianists and singers these days). Appian (APR) is one of the companies who should be greatly lauded for the work they are doing in keeping many historical pianist's names very much alive and in very good transfers.
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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maestrob
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Re: Some unbelievable pricing? Sure is!

Post by maestrob » Sat Feb 24, 2018 2:16 pm

Lance wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 1:32 pm
If the death of the CD as we know it is imminent (due to downloading more and more), then that's where I stop. I have enough music to last for several lifetimes. While the LP seems to be coming back to some degree, I don't believe that will outlast the CD. I don't intend to download unless it's of great historic value and is available no other way at least for the artists in whom I an interested (mostly pianists and singers these days). Appian (APR) is one of the companies who should be greatly lauded for the work they are doing in keeping many historical pianist's names very much alive and in very good transfers.
Yes, Lance, I stand with you, but every month BBC Magazine reviews 110 new CDs & DVDs, and great new artists appear on them (along with reissues that are often not reviewed). I, for one, am quite bullish on the classical CD, although not so much for popular music. Again, MHO, but I believe that CD collectors demand high sound quality and just the wonderful thrill of owning and playing a physical object, much as book collectors take pride in their libraries. Downloads in mp3 format as featured by amazon do not fill the bill for yours truly, as well as many others. WE ARE NOT ALONE! :lol: :mrgreen:

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