Yeah. A couple things. 1. Its not a $300 cartridge. Who knows what it is? Cartridge retail prices are notoriously inflated, and have been for as long as I can remember, which is about 50 years. 2. Amazon isn't Amazon, its a zillion individuals using Amazon to reach buyers, which as such its marginal income, which as such even one dollar is better than zero. 3. At Amazon the product isn't the product. The product is YOU! Like the Goolag and cell phones and so much else today, a lot of the real costs and profits are hidden. Your browsing history is worth a lot more than you think.
Amazon will also carry gray market and bootlegs until they get notified otherwise. And, I know from people who are in record business retail that in many cases, their prices are at cost for retailers- on occasion, a friend who has an online shop will tell me not to buy from him and just buy it at Amazon because he can’t resell at the price Amazon offers. They may also benefit from economies of scale in certain instances and leverage given their size and market power. Not intended as a complete answer to your question, but a few observations about how some of their products can be priced so low.
Millercarbon nailed it and Amazon right on the head. Bravo! Although this conversation really had very little to do with cartridges, erik, why did you qualify your remark by the preface, "in the old days"?
Bill, there is no such thing as grey market, the market is always black. And you know it better than I do - New York, New York.. That piece of junk cartridge costs $5 at most, Amazon Japan price is very high.
... there is no such thing as grey market, the market is always black ...
This is simply mistaken. Black market merchandise is illegal, by definition. "Grey market" is merchandise outside of officially designated distribution channels. It's perfectly legal, even if it's dubious ethically.
There were (and I guess to some extent still are) legal issues around so-called parallel imports or gray goods, but recent cases have changed the landscape in copyright and patent, where a first sale exhausts the right of the manufacturer to control resale outside of the "authorized" territory. I think there is still a trademark basis for materially different goods, but it’s been a while since I looked at that. (I’m retired and am not offering legal advice). Country or region coding for DVDs is also a form of territory allocation. My recollection is that in the EU, the allocation of rights among different member countries was struck down several years ago in a case called the "pub lady" case where a woman used a decoder chip from outside the UK to capture soccer (football) signals at her pub in the UK. Most of the legal issues are not directly aimed at consumers, but at resellers. To the consumer, the gray market (which is a recognized term in business and law) is often a boon-- it offers the availability of cheaper goods in a market that may otherwise be restricted. The potential downside for the consumer may be support and warranty issues- my understanding is that most manufacturers will tell you to "get lost" if you buy a gray good and then seek service, parts or support. That may be less of an issue for things like cartridges or cable. The other issue, so far I know it, is that there are some well-known instances of counterfeiting higher value products. I doubt, in the case of a lower cost cartridge, that there is much incentive to do that. But, there have certainly been reports of fake fancy audio cables (having nothing to do with Amazon as far as I know) that aren’t limited to in terrorem assertions by manufacturers. Nor am I suggesting that Amazon in this case is selling a counterfeit or gray market good. But, I know from my own experience shopping on Amazon that LP records that are considered "unofficial" sometimes show up there and believe that some of the cheaper electronics offerings are coming from resellers (third parties who sell through Amazon) who may be distributing outside of their authorized territory. I suspect that the main issue for them is losing the franchise if their contract with the manufacturer limits transnational sales outside of the authorized territory. I’m not making any ethical judgments about any of this. Nor am I offering any legal opinions or advice. As I also noted, Amazon also benefits from economies of scale and market leverage. Look at the book market. It has changed pretty dramatically in the last decade due in large part to Amazon’s market clout. That may be a good thing for consumers. It is not so good for the "local independent book store." But, we’ve seen the same thing happen simply as a change in markets as a result of the Internet, e.g., the decline of the "brick and mortar" hi fi stores whose overhead is higher than an online retailer, having nothing to do with legal or ethical issues. It’s simply a change in how people buy products.
I should get a few laughs from this...I bought a Nagaoka MP110 cartridge from Amazon. How the hell do you get the cartridge out of the plastic case it’s in? Pry it open with a screw driver? I feel taking a sledge hammer and cracking open but that’s probably not a good idea. Help!
A few years ago in this Century I purchased a 103 from Comet Supply for $88.00 plus shipping. Comet Supply sells Industrial Cleaning and Office stuff. They also sold a lot of Denon gear and I have no clue why. The prices were hard to believe but they came thru. I bought two 103's and a 103r.