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Could the Kindle Store’s New “Sold by” Line Lead Us to a New “No-Buy Zone?”

In the course of working on a possible post about Penguin Publishers’ decision to declare war on readers, I noticed that there’s a new “Sold by” line in the Kindle Store listings for agency model titles. You can see it right under the price information for Dead in the Family, below:

It was just a few weeks ago that Amazon added the line that reads “This price was set by the publisher,” which is obviously intended to let us, as readers and customers, know just who is and isn’t responsible for those high agency-model Kindle book prices. 

At about the same time that I noticed the “Sold by” line, I also noticed that Dead in the Family‘s metadata on the book did not include the usual information on its sales rankings and bestseller status on the Amazon website:

Probably that’s just a temporary glitch, but it got me thinking, which is always dangerous. If instead it were a sign of things to come, it would be an interesting move on Amazon’s part. Just a few days ago Amazon moved to bifurcate its Kindle Store bestseller lists into “paid” and “free” listings. What if it were to make another move to divide the paid list into items sold by Amazon Digital Sources (which includes everything from my Kindle guide to Random House titles by Stieg Larsson) and items sold by third-party sellers, who in this case are the agency price-fixing model publishers.

Those publishers have declared their desire for special treatment, so what could be more appropriate than to give them their own bestseller list, even if for many price-conscious Kindle customers it would amount to a “no-buy zone?”

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