Amazon is famous for frequently changing prices to test the demand for products or undercut a competitor on hot items like Beats headphones or Razor electric scooters.
According to a price-tracking site called camelcamelcamel.com, Amazon has changed the price of the King James version of the Bible over 100 times since May of 2010. What on Earth?
In the past five years, the King James Bible has been listed as low as $8.99 and as high as $16.99. Amazon spokesman Scott Stanzel wouldn’t dish on the exact process that goes into determining when and how an item’s price changes, but Amazon does change prices on up to 80 million items a day. So, the Bible’s not exactly unique in having its rate adjustments, but some of the circumstances surrounding the changes are a little interesting to say the least.
The shifts in pricing are presumably automated since Amazon’s computer systems react to rising or falling consumer demand as well a other factors. But the fact that such a standard, age-old item as the Bible can change in price so frequently and dramatically suggests that dynamic pricing affects almost anything a consumer can buy online.
The e-commerce giant is apparently using dynamic pricing on other religious texts beyond the Bible. Pricing data show that Amazon’s shifts affect the most-Googled Koran, Torah, and to a lesser extent, the Bhagavad Gita, on its site.
Stanzel declined to comment on whether Amazon’s prices change in response to real life events. But it might not just be a coincidence that the single largest price shift for the Bible happened around the same time the world was predicted to end in December 2012. Another steady increase in price occurred when The History Channel miniseries “The Bible” originally aired in the US in March 2013. Here’s how popular Google searches for the Bible and God were over the same period: