If the Willmann Bell items, for example, are no longer sold new and are available from Amazon through third party sellers, why would you think Amazon is involved in pricing them? Those price escalations seem to me to be more associated with third party sellers realizing they had harder to get inventory.
I should have said Amazon third-party sellers do this to the prices. I don't think we are disagreeing. I'm merely arguing that often there isn't a person behind these prices, at least not for books. My understanding is that Amazon book pricing (especially for used or out of print books) is largely dictated by algorithms. Even when those books are sold by third parties, the optimum sales price is often suggested by Amazon's algorithms. This has been going on for a decade or more, here is an old Wired article talking about the practice: https://www.wired.co...ies-24-million/.
My guess is that the practice is used much more broadly than just books and that most large retailers (Amazon, Wal-Mart, Target, etc.) have similar systems.
Pricing and customer data are fascinating subjects and a multi-billion (trillion?) dollar industry and is incredibly sophisticated when it works well. About 10 years ago there was a bit of a scandal when it was discovered that Target's algorithms predicted that a teen was pregnant based on her shopping patterns and delivered custom tailored ads to her home early enough in her pregnancy that her parents still were unaware of the pregnancy.
I doubt that a small business like Astronomics has the desire or means to invest in this sort of prediction, but Orion might. Third party sellers on Amazon might be able to just opt-in for a nominal cost.