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Amazon Arbitrage

In college, while I was taking a Microeconomics course, I found out there was a perfect lesson in arbitrage using the textbook for the course. It turned out that the textbook was significantly cheaper on Amazon's UK site. Not only did this save you money purchasing the textbook, you could even make a profit by "returning" it back to the MIT bookstore (this required that you find someone in the course who had bought it for full price, then offering some split of the profit). My memory isn't perfect on this, but I also believe that the price you got for selling it to the MIT bookstore used (which didn't require a receipt) still allowed for a small profit. I never took full advantage of this as I was far too lazy, but imagine the possibilities...something like this deserves extra credit in an econ course.

Now there is an online tool that makes this Amazon arbitrage even easier. It lets you search for a book on Amazon, and then compare prices across Amazon's UK, Germany, Canadien, and Japanese sites, including in shipping costs. This is an example using an economics textbook that saves you about $20 (I can't find my old textbook, which had a difference of ~$40+).

Half.com does something similar by allowing you to compare prices across multiple online sites, but pricenenoia is the first I know of that allows you to do arbitrage across different markets (US/UK/etc...), where price differences are more pronounced.

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This page contains a single entry from kwc blog posted on March 8, 2004 11:13 AM.

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