Kindle: more expensive than print?

Why would a digital version be more expensive than a print version?

I know Amazon does a ton of price experimentation. Buying from Amazon can be a little like reserving a seat on a plane: nobody has paid exactly the same price you did.

But a digital product should be cheaper than a paper product, you would think. After all, there’s no packaging, no storage, no shipping, no postage. Just the product itself: the words and ideas you paid to share.

So I was fairly surprised to see this:

The Kindle edition is $17.52, but the hardcover – hardcover – is $14.44. That’s $3 cheaper to get the actual dead tree version.

That’s odd, but it’s not the only oddity. The pricing is even more complex: the book is new from $13.00, but the Amazon price is $14.44? This is just weird.

Amazon is one of the smartest companies in the world. I’m sure they’ll figure it out. The question is: are they working so hard to scientifically optimize pricing for extracting maximum value from clients’ wallets that they’ve lost simplicity (and sense) in pricing?