April 13, 2006

Searching for the source of the Amazon

So I was over at Amazon checking out the upcoming Elvis Costello/Allen Toussaint CD when I noticed something mysterious. Most CDs at Amazon sell significantly below list price. A few sell at list price. This one is the first I've seen that sells for more than list price; the cost includes a $1.00 "sourcing fee". Does anybody have any idea what the heck that extra charge is for, exactly?

Posted by Francis at 05:18 PM

It's short for "outsourcing fee"; it's to compensate Costello and Toussaint for the cost of having to fly to Bangalore to do the recording. Sadly, most U.S. session musician jobs have been offshored to low-wage "session centers" springing up all over Asia.

Posted by: Rick at April 13, 2006 05:49 PM

I was intrigued and asked Amazon what that was. The (explanatory part of the) response:

I have looked for the item "River in Reverse" and found that there is $1.00 sourcing fee.

We add a sourcing fee for special order titles and other selected items because of the additional costs associated with processing these orders.

It is always important for us to hear how customers react to all aspects of our service, and we appreciate the time you took to write to us.

This doesn't say much, but I imagine that it's warehoused overseas, or something. Whoever Amazon's MBA-grad analyst is who put that on there needs a lesson in vernacular.

(As many of you readers know, yours truly is also an MBA-grad analyst, but would never put a phrase like "Sourcing fee" anywhere it would see the light of day to an end-user...)

Posted by: Ken/Cazique at April 14, 2006 09:45 AM

Interesting. And odd; I don't think this CD is an import or anything.

(A few Googles later:) Yeah, it's going to be released on Verve Forecast, and other CDs from that label don't have any extra charge from Amazon. I expect the fee is due to some error and will be corrected later, but in any case, I agree that "sourcing fee" is way too corporate a phrase to let the customers see.

Posted by: Francis at April 14, 2006 01:17 PM

They open it for you and take the stickers off.

Posted by: Yanichka at April 15, 2006 01:29 AM

Fitzcarraldo Frames DC sourcing fee 16.98 + $21.92 sourcing fee....I have no idea what this is. I (yes me) listed this item on Amazon for a nickel below everyone else. I have it listed for the 38.90 in my system. It sold and then I noticed the sourcing fee after. I don't know what it is and I am selling the product. I am located in the US and I have about 1500 items listed with Amazon (mostly electronics) My guess is amazon is going to take that 21.92 as a selling fee and deduct it from my payment. I won't know until monday when I get my weekly financial statement from Amazon. They usually take 15% from the total as a commission.

Posted by: Jim at April 26, 2006 03:26 PM

I was looking at this again. The list price for the CD is 16.98 and I am listing it above the list price; maybe they can't list items for more than list price so they call the additional amount a sourcing fee.

Posted by: Jim at April 26, 2006 03:31 PM

OK. So Amazon slaps a $131 fee onto a List Price of $29.95. Is someone growing the papyrus and pressing the ink, and then hand-copying and binding the finished product? C'mon, now. Will someone pul-leeze give me an answer that makes sense?

Posted by: MaryB at February 16, 2010 02:24 AM
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