Amazon’s art store has only been up for a single day but already legions of Amazon users have to taken the reviews function to make comments on the internet mart’s art-selling strategy. The essence of the many comments.
I ordered this product back in June for $1.4 million, but in July I found a similar painting by Van Gogh on sale at Target for only $800k, so I returned this one and had to pay a $14.99 restocking fee, ridiculous!!!
Economist Tyler Cowen has a lengthy critique of the idea that gets to the heart of the matter:
One enduring feature of the art world is that a given piece will sell for much more in one context rather than another. The same painting that might sell for 5k from a lower tier dealer won’t command more than 2k on eBay, if that. Yet it could sell for 10k, as a bargain item, relatively speaking, if it ended up in the right NYC gallery (which it probably wouldn’t). Where does Amazon stand in this hierarchy? It doesn’t look promising. […]
I’ve browsed the “above 10k” category and virtually all of it seems a) aesthetically absymal and b) drastically overpriced. It looks like dealers trying to unload unwanted, hard to sell inventory at sucker prices. […] If you’ve built the best web site in the history of the world, which they have, you may decide that quality control should not be tossed out the window. Much as I admire their shipping practices, what makes Amazon work for me is simply that they sell better stuff and a wider variety at cheaper prices. Why give that formula up by treading into a market where such an approach won’t make any money? Why compete in a market where an awesomely speedy physical delivery network means next to nothing?
Is Amazon Art a doomed venture? Let’s hope so (Marginal Revolution)